The Gospel Project (Small Group Archive)

 

Notes Journal

Volume XII (Summer 2015)

Sessions 10-13

(Sorry, but I’ve chosen to teach from the epistle of 1 John instead these last 4 sessions)

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Session 8 & 9 “Talking with God” & Interceding for others”

Special Note: For this lesson I combined sessions 8 & 9 into one lesson

Opened with a personal story about struggling with a specific prayer

I. God’s posture toward us in prayer (Luke 11:5-13)

Note: Just came off of Model Prayer

Note: Ancient Near East custom of hospitality

Note: For context of Father – Romans 8:14-17

In the context of “as you are seeking…”

A. Given – It will be given to you – He desires to give us “things” that are good for us/the kingdom.

B. Find – You will find – He desires to expand your thinking, understanding, lessons learned, etc.

C. Opened – It will be opened – He desires to open opportunities that are aligned with His goodness

D. Holy Spirit – At the time considered only for Prophets, but He desires to empower us.

Discussion: “What are some ways you’ve experienced some (or all) of these three?”

II. Our posture toward Him (Eph. 6:18-20)

Note: Coming off of Whole Armor of God

A. Strength and “Rightness”– positioned in His strength and usuable

B. In the Spirit – Romans 8:26 He intercedes for us with “groanings that cannot be uttered”

C. For Others – An orientation to make requests on a regular basis for the betterment of others

D. Battle – We have an enemy (Eph. 6:11) and we pray for the advancement of the Kingdom

Discussion: “How does this passage challenge or convict you?”

For the Week: Try to pray specifically for someone else in a kingdom-oriented way (salvation, boldness for proclamation, life-change, etc.)

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Session 7 “The Disciple’s Prayer”

The Model Prayer is familiar to most people; however, familiarity can also mean “auto-pilot” recitation, so I’m starting the discussion about how familiar the Star-Spangled Banner is and whether most even know the details of its origin.

Special Note: For this lesson I sent the group a daily series of devotional posts on the The Model Prayer leading up to Sunday. Here is a link to them:

Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6

Opening Discussion:We’ve sang/heard the National Anthem many times, but how well can we articulate the context of its writing?”

Hint: “War of 1812”, “Fort McHenry-Baltimore”, “Francis Scott Key”, “Desperate Night of British Bombardment”, “War not going well at that time for the US”, “Washington DC just previously burned”, etc.

I. Focus on God (Matt. 6:9-10)

A. Hallowed-His name is already praised every minute of every day, so there’s not a lack of praise in heaven; it’s for our benefit.

B. Acknowledgement of His sovereignty

C. Father-personal (even with the challenges created by earthly examples)

D. Your Kingdom-“On earth as it is in heaven” means to do things as it’s done in heaven without hesitation and the understanding that God’s way is always best.

Discussion: “In what ways can the term “Father” and the concept of simply doing what He says be a challenge for some (since we’ve had earthly models of fathers, or are fathers ourselves)?”

II. Focus on the needs of the day (Matt. 6:11-13a)

Note: The 3 Fs we need each day

A. Food – we need daily bread, but we can quickly get into the attitude of the Hebrews in the desert and become ungrateful of God’s daily provisions.

B. Forgiveness – we need forgiveness in our lives every day (giving and receiving), however both directions goes against pride.

C. Follow – we need to be led by the Lord every day (often by the moment). Since evil doesn’t temp Him, we need to stay close and listen.

Discussion: “How can the difference between “wants” and “needs” create problem?”

III. Focus back on God (Matt. 6:13b)

A. Yours is the glory – the glory is/will ultimately be His

B. God is free to do as He pleases

C. Forever perspective – He’s the “forever God” not a creed, passing ideal or system

Discussion: “What are some ways that God can be glorified through us now?”

For the Week: Challenge to choose one of the items (previous discussion) to implement

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Session 6 “What to do after reading the Bible” -sorry I didn’t teach/prepare notes for this one

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Session 5 “How We Read the New Testament”

My title: “Applying the Bible-Part II”

For this lesson (and the previous one, #4) I’m using a simple 4-question template to walk the class through a group discussion. At times I’ll have the class break into smaller groups for discussion, then report back to the larger group afterwards-then reinforcing the “take-aways”.

Opening Discussion: (revisit the one from the previous week- “In what ways are the scriptures misused?”), then move to “Have you ever sent/received an email or text meant for someone else?” “How important is it to know the intended audience/message?”

I. New Testament Narratives (Mark 8:27-33)

Note: There is a difference between “descriptive” texts and “prescriptive” texts

A. What’s the context? (Writer, location, original audience, setting, etc.)

B. What are the main points? (How would you describe them to someone?)

C. What are some points from related verses? (Verses before/after, center column, footnotes, concordance)

D. What action is needed? (Being obedient, claiming a promise or following a model displayed)

II. New Testament Letters (Philemon 1-7)

A. What’s the context? (Writer, location, original audience, setting, etc.)

B. What are the main points? (How would you describe them to someone?)

C. What are some points from related verses? (Verses before/after, center column, footnotes, concordance)

D. What action is needed? (Being obedient, claiming a promise or following a model displayed)

III. Apocalyptic Literature (prophecy) (Rev. 1:1-20)

Note: Revelation chapter 1 is more productive for the purpose of the lesson to me than jumping into chapter 12

A. What’s the context? (Writer, location, original audience, setting, etc.)

B. What are the main points? (How would you describe them to someone?)

C. What are some points from related verses? (Verses before/after, center column, footnotes, concordance)

D. What action is needed? (Being obedient, claiming a promise or following a model displayed)

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Session 4 “How We Read the Old Testament”

My title: “Applying the Bible-Part I”

For this lesson (and #5) I’m using a simple 4-question template to walk the class through a group discussion. At times I’ll have the class break into smaller groups for discussion, then report back to the larger group afterwards-then reinforcing the “take-aways”.

Opening Discussion: “In what ways are the scriptures misused?”

I. Old Testament Narrative (Exodus 2:1-10)

Note: There is a difference between “descriptive” texts and “prescriptive” texts

A. What’s the context? (Writer, location, original audience, setting, etc.)

B. What are the main points? (How would you describe them to someone?)

C. What are some points from related verses? (Verses before/after, center column, footnotes, concordance)

D. What action is needed? (Being obedient, claiming a promise or following a model displayed)

II. Old Testament Law (Deut. 19:14)

A. What’s the context? (Writer, location, original audience, setting, etc.)

B. What are the main points? (How would you describe them to someone?)

C. What are some points from related verses? (Verses before/after, center column, footnotes, concordance)

D. What action is needed? (Being obedient, claiming a promise or following a model displayed)

III. Old Testament Poetry & Wisdom Literature (Prov. 9:11, 21:20, Psalm 67)

Note: Proverbs aren’t promises, they are “general rules”

A. What’s the context? (Writer, location, original audience, setting, etc.)

B. What are the main points? (How would you describe them to someone?)

C. What are some points from related verses? (Verses before/after, center column, footnotes, concordance)

D. What action is needed? (Being obedient, claiming a promise or following a model displayed)
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Sessions 3 – “Where we read the Bible”

For sessions 3, 4, 5 I’m condensing the three lessons in two sessions I’m calling “Applying the Bible Part I & II” on 6/28 & 7/5.

For the other class time (6/21) I’m teaching a stand-alone lesson not from the book on Elijah.

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Session 2 – “While We Read the Bible”

I’m starting with a personal story and then opening discussion with:

Opening Discussion: “It what ways can the Bible seem disjointed?”

Note: I’ve changed some of the scripture references and point titles.

I. The Bible’s commentary on itself

A. The Bible declares itself authoritative (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

B. The OT looks toward the NT (Matt. 4:12-17)

C. The NT builds on the OT (Matt. 5:17, 38-42)

Discussion:What are some examples of the dangers of taking scripture out of context of the whole Bible?”

II. The Bible’s commentary on Jesus (Acts 26:22-23)

A. From the beginning (Gen. 3:15)

B. Common thread throughout Old & New Testament

C. Ends with Jesus glorified (First & Last) (Rev. 22:13)

Discussion:Why is it important to remember the common thread of Jesus throughout the Bible?

III. The Bible’s commentary on community (Col. 3:16-17)

A. The scripture should be our level, square, plumb-line & measuring tape

B. The community of faith should be faithful

C. The scripture frames “necessary things” (Acts 15:27-29)

Discussion:How has biblical community helped you regarding Bible study/application?

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Session 1 – “Why We Read the Bible”

I like the concept of the Rosetta stone, but will start with a short discussion on mysteries:

Opening Discussion: “How many of you like a good mystery? What about them do you like?”

I. We read to know (Psalm 119:1-16)

*Special note: I’ll have someone read all 16 verses at the beginning of each point.

A. To know His ways (v.3)

B. To know what He’s commanded (v.4)

C. To know what He’s ordained (precepts) (v.4)

Discussion: “What are some specific ways your understanding of God’s nature has changed over the years?”

II. We read to live (Psalm 119:1-16) (read again)

A. To find joy & hope (v.16)

B. To gain confidence & faith (v.14)

C. To avoid entrapment and shame (v.11)

Discussion: “What are some examples of how the Word of God has given you strength, confidence, hope, etc.?”

III. We read to declare (Psalm 119:1-16) (read again)

A. To give praise (v.7)

B. To declare His ways (v.13)

C. To share hope from His word (v.14)

Discussion: “What are some challenges to “declaring”? How do we get past them?”

For the week: Commit to loving God’s precious Word and asking for a renewed sense of appreciation for it.

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Volume XI (Spring 2015)

Session 14 – “Practical Discipleship”

I’m building this lesson around the concept of apprenticeship. To get it going, here’s the opening question:

Opening Discussion:When someone is an apprentice, what does the process look like?”

I. Discipleship along the way (Deut. 6:4-7)

What it would have looked like then…

  • “The Shēma´” (v.4 – “to hear”) (The What)
  • For Orthodox children– first words learned
  • Mazuzah – scripture on the door posts
    Phylacteries – scripture worn on forehead and arm

B. The Commandment – (The How – v.5)

C. The Method – (The When – v.6-7)

Discussion: “What are some ways to cultivate a heart for God through the daily rhythm of work, home and play?”

II. Discipleship as instructional (Acts 20:17-21, 18:24-26)

A. Proclaiming & teaching

B. Public & Private (depends on the circumstances)

C. being accurate – repentance, faith, and Believer’s Baptism

Discussion: “How have you experienced (or are currently experiencing) these in your life?”

III. Discipleship by personal model (1 Corinthians 4:14-21)

A. Bold requests starts with vibrant relationship with Christ

B. Emphasis is on the “in Christ” part

C. The evidence is the power and presence of the Lord (not talk)

Discussion: “How do we sometimes mistake activity with true discipleship?”

For the week: Who and how will you invest this week?

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Session 13 – “Practical Evangelism”

The subject of Postmodernism is how I want to start out this discussion. I’ve also adjusted the point titles. After quoting several postmodern writers:

Opening Discussion:Where have you seen this influence or mindset in the culture around you?

I. The Context (Acts 17:16-27)

A. Genuinely respect the listeners

B. Talk about what you KNOW (v. 24-25 reminiscent of Stephen in 7:48-50)

C. Be transparent

Discussion:What are some “struggle points” in this type of conversation?”

II. The Need (Acts 17:28-31)

A. Shortcomings of man’s approach (v.28-30)

B. Supremacy of Christ-The Man (v.31)

C. Need for repentance (v.30)

Discussion: “What are some possible challenges when presenting these points? How do you respond?”

III. The Result (Acts 17:32-34)

A. Some responded with mocking (v.32)

B. Some wanted more information (v.32)

C. Some trusted Christ (v.34)

Discussion:What does this tell us about expectations when sharing our faith?”

For the week: Be praying for boldness and discernment this week to share the gospel with someone around you.

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Session 12 – “Sent”

I’m starting off with a discussion on the general concept of an ambassador; pointing out that an ambassador has the authority to do official business while still in Washington, but there are obvious benefits to “going” and operating in the posture of “sentness”.

Opening Discussion: “What is the role and purpose of an ambassador?”

Picking up on the posture of “sentness”, I’m zeroing in on the fact that the authority existed/exists beforehand but we’re sent for the purpose of “more”.

I. Jesus-sent for “more” (John 8:13-19, 52-59)

A. He exists/existed outside of time (He was always “sent”) (v.58)

B. To a be witness (v.18)

C. To fulfill purpose (salvation/redemption) (v.52)

Discussion: “In what ways did Jesus reveal “more” about the Father and the Kingdom?”

II. Disciples-sent for “more” (Luke 10:9-11, 17-20, 24:46-47)

A. Announcement-peace (v.5)

B. Correct priorities (v.17-20)

C. Right message (not better Judaism, but repentance/remission of sins (v.46-47)

Discussion: “In what way is being an ambassador for Christ different than others who represent/forward various religions or principles?”

III. Holy Spirit-sent for “more” (John 14:26, Luke 24:48-49)

A. Counselor (instructs, corrects, leads) (John 14:26)

B. Empowers (infuses us/the situation with His supernatural presence) (Luke 24:49)

Discussion: “What are some ways you’ve experienced the empowering of the Holy Spirit?”

For the week: You are sent for “more”.

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Session 11 – “Witness”

(Sorry, I didn’t prepare notes for this one)

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Session 10 – “Go Make Disciples”

Before jumping into the Biblical context of what a disciple is, I’m starting off with a discussion on the general concept of a disciple.

Opening Discussion: “In the general/secular sense of the word (not Biblical or The Twelve), what is a disciple? How does the process work?”

Then I’m following up with a personal story and describing context of a 1st century Jewish Rabbi/Follower relationship.

I. Submission (Matthew 28:16-18)

A. They worshiped (v.17)

B. They doubted (hesitated, even though their minds were opened Luke 24:45)

C. All authority is given to the Lord and is no small thing (v.18)

Discussion: “Why is the authority of Jesus important and what difference does it make in carrying out these instructions?”

II. Obedience (Matthew 28:19-20a)

A. “Go” is a present participle (going, as you go) (v.19)

B. All nations (dual meaning-geographic and Jew/Gentile) (v.19)

C. Teaching them (Not just better things, but what He commanded) (v.20)

Discussion: “Which of these come easier and which ones are tougher? Why?”

III. Dependence (Matthew 28:20b)

A. I (still under His oversight-words to Saul (Acts 9:4-5) remind us He’s aware)

B. …am with you (each step of the way, even when it doesn’t feel like it)

C. …always (for the long haul)

Discussion: “In what ways have you experienced His presence in this way?”

For the week: As you go, prayerfully consider who around you is becoming or can be a disciple, and what your role is.

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Session 9 – “The Ordinances”

Opening Discussion: “What are some “non-spiritual” public ceremonies you’ve witnessed or been part of? What was there purpose?”

I. Believer’s Baptism (Col. 2:9-15)

(Temple illustration and definition of the word baptizo)

A. Identity with Christ specifically (not in addition to something)

B. Picture of what’s already happened inside

C. A total change (not just an outward mark)

Discussion: “What are some reasons for a person to be baptized? What are some results?”

II. The Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:17-32)

A. Opportunity to stop, focus, and confess

B. Renews affection for Christ, each other and Christ’s second coming

C. Is to be considered “sacred” (flippant attitude risks judgment)

Discussion: “What are your thoughts about the frequency of observing the Lord’s Supper?”

III. Other public Christian statements

A. Wedding Vows (we talk about 1 Cor. 13 and other passages)

B. Parent/Child dedication (Eph. 6:4 & vow list)

C. Ordination (Acts 6:1-7)

Discussion: “What are some added benefits of these events?”

For the week: Think back to these public events that you’ve participated in, contemplate their meaning, and perhaps renew the commitments that were made.

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Session 8 – “Fellowship”

I’m starting with the Tozer quote on page 90. After reading it aloud, I’m asking this question:

Opening Discussion: “Regarding Tozer’s example of the pianos, how do the two different examples (tuned to each other versus all tuned to a standard) manifest themselves in church life?”

I. We share fellowship with Christ (1 Cor. 1:9)

A. God is faithful (important premise connected to previous 5 verses)

B. Into fellowship with Him, not the other way around

C. Christ is Lord (He’s the Pilot not Co-Pilot)

Discussion: “In what ways can our fellowship with Christ be negatively affected?”

II. We share fellowship with Christ’s people (Romans 12:9-18)

A. Authentic love (v.9)

B. Strongly reject the evil stuff while also stubbornly holding the good (v.9)

C. Accurately access yourself and others (v.15)

Discussion:These verses have been called “horizontal grace”, what does that mean regarding our actions/reactions?”

III. We share fellowship with Christ’s people in mission (Philippians 1:3-7)

A. Prayer for one another (v.4)

B. Heart connection with other believers (v.7)

C. Common bond in purpose (v.7)

Discussion: “How have you experienced this kind of fellowship before?”

For the week: Be mindful of things that interrupt fellowship with the Lord and each other. Pray through them and strive to be an “influencer” for authentic fellowship.

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Session 6 & 7 (Didn’t teach either of these, sorry)

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Session 5 – “A Crucified People”

I plan to start with an illustration reflecting a word from the last verse “commit” (v.19). Since it was a banking term meaning “to deposit”, I’ll be talking about the surety/giving up control of making a “drop” in a bank “night drop”.

Opening Discussion: “Once we’ve committed, what does being “on deposit” mean for our approach to daily life?”

I. God’s people take up the cross (Matthew 16:24-28)

A. Denying self is the initial point (v.24)

B. Take up a cross (what it meant to them-Roman death to rebels, ugly, brutal, not yet a symbol-v.24)

C. Kingdom connected living (v.26-28)

Discussion: “What are some of the ways we’re called to deny ourselves?”

II. God’s people die to their own desires (Galatians 2:20)

A. Dead, not just a stalemate or peace agreement, it’s “total war”

B. Christ lives in me, through me

C. By faith in Christ AND His “aliveness”

Discussion: “What’s the practical difference between “Total War” and a “Peace Treaty”?”

III. God’s people suffer for Christ’s glory (1 Peter 4:1-2, 12-19)

A. “Therefore” cease from sinning (v.1-2)

B. Don’t think it strange (v.12)

C. Rejoice that you can partake (v.13 and 2 Peter 1:4)

Discussion: “There’s plenty of suffering in the world, but what’s the difference between suffering in general and suffering for Christ’s glory?”

For the week: Remember, your life is on deposit. We must commit ourselves to Him anew every day and remember the power of Galatians 2:20 – “crucified with Him.”

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Session 4 – “One Holy, Apostolic Church”

Unity and mission are always an interesting topic. I’m choosing to use 1 Peter exclusively instead of the three different passages and changing the points to reflect it.

Opening Discussion: “Have you ever been part of a team (work, social, or other) that was unified around a goal? What did it look like? How about one that was not?”

I. One Savior (1 Peter 1:1-12)

A. A living hope, new every day (v.3)

B. A rich eternal inheritance (v.4)

C. Kept secure by His power (v.5)

Discussion: “Since redemption comes from Christ, how should that enhance our camaraderie as the people of God?”

II. One Lord (1 Peter 1:13-21)

A. “Gird” up your minds in Him (v.13)

B. Rest your hope specifically on His grace (v.13)

C. “Be holy” – lives honoring to God (v.16)

Discussion: “How does personal holiness affect the church around you and those on the outside looking in?”

III. One Word (1 Peter 1:22-25)

A. It is eternally true AND “front-and-center” (v.23)

B. By contrast, other rubrics and philosophies fail (v.24-25)

C. It’s the Gospel that changed our lives (v.25b)

Discussion: “In practical terms, what does church unity (based on the Word) look like and how should it function?”

For the week: Look for ways to live-out personal holiness and display personal unity with Christ and His Word.

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Session 3 – “The Presence of the Future”

I’m rearranging the order of the Colossians and Philippians passages to establish citizenship first, then moving to discuss mindset, and then ultimately the “end game”.

Opening Discussion: “What are some ways that books and films describe the future in less than perfect scenarios? Why the consistent dim view?”

I. We are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:17-4:1)

A. The people of the world around us are “at home” (v.19)

B. Our current assignment is “temporary” and on “foreign” soil (v.20)

C. Stand fast, specifically “in the Lord” (v.1) (imitate me, but stand in Christ)

Discussion: “What are some things that make it hard for us to view this as “foreign”?”

II. We are to set our minds above (Colossians 3:1-4)

A. If in Him, then we should value what He values (v.1)

B. If in Him, then we should seek to be filled with the right thoughts (Phil. 4:8)

C. If in Him, then we should remember the glory will come later (v.4)

Discussion: “What are some routines/practices that help you keep your mind set above?”

III. We are to remember the “end game” (Revelation 19:6-9)

A. All things WILL be made right (v.6)

B. The Lord will adorn His Bride (v.8) (fine linens woven from righteous acts)

C. We are blessed (fortunate) to be a part (fortunate HCSB) (v.9)

Discussion: “What are some examples of the “righteous acts” of the Saints?”

For the week: Consider what things you can actively be involved in to keep your thoughts “set above” and engaged in “righteous acts”.

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Session 2 – “The Temple of God”

Opening Discussion: “When you hear the word “temple”, what are some words or pictures you associate with it?”

I. A Christian’s foundation is Christ (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)

A. Individually founded (fellow-worker v.9)

B. Corporately founded (field v.9)

C. Visible structure will reflect substructure (building v.9, 10-15)

Discussion: “In what ways is the foundation and structure tested?”

II. A Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

The beautiful picture of what was (Solomon’s temple, then Herod’s, reflecting heavenly picture of God’s throne where worship and grandeur is-now within us).

A. He lives in us (goes where we go whether we like it or not)

B. We’re not our own (it’s not all about our agenda)

C. We’re bought at a price (we don’t have the “right” to feed our passions)

Discussion: “At what specific points can there be tension regarding the temple?”

III. A Christian’s church is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

A. He dwells in our midst as corporately

B. We’re not our own (His Bride- not all about our agenda)

C. We’re bought at a price (we don’t have the “right” to feed our passions)

Discussion: “At what specific points can there be tension regarding the temple?”

IV. A Christian’s mind is the gateway to the temple   (1 Corinthians 3:18-23)

A. The gatekeeper regarding who enters

B. The gatekeeper regarding what enters

Discussion: “What does proper “gate activity” realistically look like in daily life?”

For the week: Think about the activity going on in the temple and how the structure should reflect the foundation in conversation, goals, and activities.

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Session 1 – “The Body of Christ”

Using the 1 Corinthians 12:12-20 passage, I did a very abbreviated version of this lesson, focusing on “design” and “purpose”.

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To go to Vol. XI notes click here

To go to Vol. X notes click here

To go to Vol. IX notes click here

 To go to Vol. VIII notes click here

To go to Vol. VII notes click here

To go to Vol. VI notes click here

To go to Vol. V notes click here

To go to Vol. IV notes click here

To go to Vol. III notes click here

To go to Vol. II notes click here

To go to Vol. I notes click here

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