1 John: Simple Truths Make for a Revolutionary Life

The apostle John was part of Jesus’ inner circle, and it’s believed he wrote 1 John toward the end of his life, when he was very old.

The letter has a tender, familial tone to it, like that of a father to his children, but it doesn’t follow a typical structure or outline. The best way to view 1 John is by looking at it as a series of five spirals or revolutions: John covered the same truths over and over again, each time going wider and deeper.

In covering these basic truths, John offered a revolutionary way of thinking and living life. More specifically, the truths he shared can revolutionize five things in your Christian walk: your fellowship with other believers, your joy, your holiness, your discernment against false teaching, and your assuredness in salvation. In short, these truths can revolutionize your relationship with the Lord and with people.


Think It Through

Read 1 John 2:22-23; 3:7-9; 4:1-3, 8. How can you develop discernment and tell if someone is truly a Christian?

A huge theme of 1 John is love. How do we know love (see 1 John 3:16)? How are we to love others (see vv. 16-18)?

The word know appears close to forty times in 1 John. Why is knowing so important to the Christian faith (see 1 John 5:13)? What are some ways you can know you’re really saved? (Hint: see 1 John 2:3; 3:18-19, 24.)


Listen and Learn

First John has a very tender tone, as John called the believers “little children” and “beloved.” In this short study, we learn that John boiled all of life down to two levels: horizontal (between people) and vertical (between us and God).
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Land and Explore

If you want to explore the truths of 1 John more in-depth, check out this free series from Pastor Skip titled Together We Stand.
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A Word of Encouragement

The fact that John wrote in revolutions and went back over the same truths indicates that no matter how old or mature you are in the faith, you’ll always need to be reminded of the basic truths that set you free in the first place. So get back to the simplicity, the irreducible minimum of the gospel.

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the truths of 1 John. I am so thankful that Christianity offers a revolutionary way of thinking and living life. Help me get back to the simplicity of the gospel.

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Today’s Resource

Connect to God’s Word anywhere you go by downloading the Connect with Skip Heitzig appfor iPhone or Android.
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1 and 2 Peter: The Promise of Persecution

Perhaps more than anything, the apostle Peter is known for being strong-willed and impulsive. We know his failure, denying Jesus three times. But we can’t forget his recovery and how he became the chief preacher of the gospel in the early church. And I think 1 and 2 Peter show this transformation: Peter wrote these letters to strengthen the faith of suffering, struggling believers.

In 1 Peter, his theme is simple: believers can expect danger from the outside world in the form of persecution. In light of that, God’s plan for all Christians includes five things: being secure in their salvation, surrendering to God’s will, submitting to authority and each other, suffering for Jesus Christ, and serving others.

On the flip side, Peter’s theme in 2 Peter is that Christians can expect danger from inside the church via deception and false teachers. As he explained, you need to constantly be adding to and moving forward in your faith, because the church is ground zero in the battle for truth. His words continue to ring true for us today.


Think It Through

How is the genuineness of your faith tested (see 1 Peter 1:6-7)? How precious is it?

Read 1 Peter 2:13-17. How are you to live as a citizen of heaven on earth (see also Philippians 3:20; Romans 13:1-7)?

Read 2 Peter 2. What are some of the characteristics of false teachers? How can you determine a person’s legitimacy in the Lord (see Matthew 7:15-20)?

Answer the question Peter posed in 2 Peter 3:10-12.


Listen and Learn

First Peter was written to a group of Christians who were suffering for their faith. In this message, we see how Peter taught that believers are secure in Christ and that we must be submissive both to men and to God’s will.
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Land and Explore

Pastor Skip’s series Rock Solidtakes a verse-by-verse look at 1 and 2 Peter, and we’re excited to offer it as a free download to you today.
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A Word of Encouragement

Peter’s writings have a simple premise: If Jesus Christ Himself was not exempt from suffering, then why do you think you ought to be? When you’re persecuted for being a Christian, you become a partner with Christ, entering into one of the deepest possible types of fellowship with God: the fellowship of His sufferings (see Philippians 3:10; 1 Peter 4:13).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, help me understand the gravity of Peter’s writings—that there is danger from the world but perhaps even worse danger from those inside the church who spread false teaching. I pray that You would help me stand up for the truth and stand fast in trials, knowing that my suffering isn’t in vain.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Need a quick boost of solid truth? Check out Pastor Skip’s booklets on hard-hitting topics like prayer, divorce, and lust.
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James: Time to Grow Up

The book of James is not a doctrinal book; it’s a very practical book about Christian maturity. Its author, James, likely the half-brother of Jesus, addressed this letter to believers who knew the doctrines of the faith already but needed to start growing up in the Lord.

He was essentially saying, “It’s great that you know all these things, but now you have to live what you know. Being born again is exciting, but you can’t stay a spiritual baby.”

One of the letter’s key verses is James 1:22: “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” You have to put on your Christianity and wear it, because “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

Now, James wasn’t saying we’re saved by works. Works are merely how you can tell your faith is genuine. Anyone can claim to have faith without really having it. But dynamic belief produces dynamic behavior; real faith will function.


Think It Through

What’s the upside—and necessity—of going through trials, according to James 1:2-4?

How foolish is it to read the Word but not do what it says (see James 1:23-24)? What’s the word picture James used to emphasize this?

Compare and contrast James 2:18-19 with Matthew 7:21-23 and Luke 6:46. How can you tell Jesus is truly the Lord of your life?

What does James 3:8 imply about who can tame the tongue?


Listen and Learn

James isn’t really a book of doctrine; it’s a very practical book. It teaches how to be a mature Christian and how to live what you know and practice your faith. Join Skip for a quick flight over the book of James.
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Land and Explore

The book of James gives you practical guidance on how to mature in your walk with God. Download Pastor Skip’s free series on James to learn more.
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A Word of Encouragement

James reveals that spiritual maturity is the natural-supernatural result of your life being connected to God. The best part is that nothing is keeping you from growing into a mature man or woman in the Lord. You can grow as much as you want. And how do you do that? By feeding on the truth and doing what it says.

Prayer

Father, I pray that I would always be in the process of adding to and growing in my faith, not stagnating. Please help me to not just believe what Your Word says, but do it.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Many of Pastor Skip’s teachings come with detailed notes, great for personal or group study. Find them in his teaching archive at connectwithskip.com/teachings.
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Hebrews: Our Superior Savior

Hebrews is less like a letter and more like a logical essay or sermon. We’re not sure who wrote it, but it was most likely written to Jewish Christians—people who knew the Old Testament—because the book is saturated with references to Levitical law and sacrifices. You could cut this book into two slices, with chapters 1-10 being doctrinal instruction and chapters 11-13 being practical exhortation.

The overarching theme of the letter is that Jesus Christ is the perfect, full, final expression of God and is better than anyone or anything else—than any other system of religion. In fact, the author of Hebrews was obsessed with the superiority of Jesus Christ—and I’m glad he was, because he was right.

Under the old covenant, access to God was restricted. You had to go through rituals, sacrifices, courts, and the Levitical priests. But this covenant was only temporary.

The new covenant is eternal, just like Jesus Christ. Under this covenant, you have unfettered, unrestricted access to God because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross once for all.


Think It Through

What kind of a High Priest do we have in Jesus, according to Hebrews 4:14-16? Why can we come boldly before God? Is this your default approach to Him? Why or why not?

Read Hebrews 8:7-13 and Jeremiah 31:31-34. Why is the new covenant better than the old covenant?

Read Hebrews 7:279:12, and 10:11-12, along with John 19:30. How complete is Jesus’ sacrifice for sins? Do you have to add anything to it?

What exhortation does Hebrews 12:1-2 give the believer? How are we empowered to put this into practice?


Listen and Learn

The theme of Hebrews is that Christ is the perfect expression of God. In this short study of Hebrews, Skip explains that Jesus has a better ministry than the old covenant.
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Land and Explore

If you want to dig deeper into the life-changing truths of the new covenant, we’d like to offer you this free five-message series from Pastor Skip on Hebrews.
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A Word of Encouragement

Because Christ is better, Christianity is better. Trusting in religion or rituals—even if they were originally given by God, as Judaism was—won’t take a person to heaven. Jesus is the only hope for salvation. So leave the inferior and go to the superior, Jesus Christ.

Prayer

Lord, if I’m trusting in my religious background, my upbringing, or any rituals I’ve gone through other than personally and authentically trusting in Christ, I pray that You would open my eyes to that. Please help me leave the old and come into the new—leave the inferior and go to the superior, Jesus Christ Himself.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Get Pastor Skip’s devotional email, DevoMail, delivered straight to your inbox—subscribe today.
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Titus and Philemon: Paul’s Heart for the Body of Christ

Paul wrote the letter of Titus to a pastor on the island of Crete, and Philemon to a wealthy slave owner in the town of Colossae.

Titus is the last of the Pastoral Epistles, and it’s all about order in the church. The church on Crete needed strong leadership and solid doctrinal teaching, and the perfect person for the job, according to Paul, was the Gentile convert Titus. So Paul wrote to Titus to describe a healthy church: it involves leadership, discipleship, and stewardship.

Philemon is the shortest book in the New Testament, and it deals with the controversial subject of slavery. One of the slaves of Philemon, a wealthy and prominent member of the church at Colossae, ran away. But this slave, Onesimus, got saved while on the run and came under the ministry of Paul. So Paul called Philemon to take him back, forgiving and receiving him as a brother in Christ. For, as Paul wrote in Galatians, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).


Think It Through

Read Titus 1:5. What else did Paul have to say about setting the church in order (see 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40)? What was it in relation to each time?

What part of Titus 2:1-10 are you to follow as a member of the church?

Where does the principle of Romans 8:28 show up in Philemon? (Hint: see Philemon 1:15-16.)

How does Paul’s offer to Philemon in 1:18-19 reflect what Jesus did for you and me?


Listen and Learn

In the book of Titus, Paul gave a list of qualities that church leaders should have. In this teaching, Skip points out that Paul also explained what it means to follow Christ and how we should conduct ourselves in the world.
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Land and Explore

The book of Titus acted as an operations manual for the early church, describing the role of each group of people in it. To find out where you fit in, check out Pastor Skip’s free series Titus: Getting the Church in Order.
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A Word of Encouragement

In Titus and Philemon, Paul appealed to two important men in the church about two different things: church order and a runaway slave. But in doing so, we can see just how much Paul cared about believers from all different walks of life. So take a page out of his book when dealing with Christians who come from a different background than you. After all, we’re all one in Christ.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, I pray that You would open my heart to believers from all walks of life. Help me to fulfill my role in the church and to bring reconciliation and unity to the body of Christ.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Download your free PDF copy of Pastor Skip’s booklet titled Express.
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Continuing Skip Heitzig’s “flyover of the New Testament. I haven’t forgotten about the study on John’s Gospel. I am in the process of putting the next post together which will finish out Chapter 3. I have been sick and my work schedule has been hectic lately and I am trying to put the post together around that. I will have it up as soon as possible.

admin

During this week of the 30K 30-Day Challenge, we learned more about the apostle Paul’s letters to various churches and to Timothy, his protégé in the faith.

Today is set aside for you to complete any days you missed or to take on one of these additional challenges:

  • Choose an epistle from this past week and read it all the way through, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal what application you need to make to your life based on it.
  • Spend some extra time in prayer and worship to the Lord.
  • Consider writing down the main points from yesterday’s lesson on a notecard to keep in your Bible.

Share It

If you’re enjoying the 30K 30-Day Challenge, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Check out Pastor Skip’s catalog of books,including You Can Understand the Book of RevelationHow to Study the Bible and Enjoy It, and more.
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Your Amazing Bible: Applying the Word

We’ve already looked at what the Bible does for us and how we can understand it, but you can’t stop there. You have to take it to the next, most important step: applying it to your life.

So how do you apply the Bible? How do you appropriate it on a daily basis? First, approach it BOLDly:

  • Believe God’s statements of truth.
  • Obey specific commands, whether positive or negative.
  • Learn by scriptural examples.
  • Declare God’s promises for your own.

Then there are a few additional questions you can ask:

  • How does this apply to me today?
  • What changes do I need to make based on this truth?
  • How will I carry out those changes in my life?
  • What will my personal prayer to the Lord be based on what I just read?
  • What verse, what kernel of truth, should I memorize from this section?
  • What illustration can I come up with to remember this truth?

As you determine to live out the truths of Scripture, your life will be transformed, and reading the Bible will become a joy—you won’t be able to wait to see what God’s going to tell you next.


Think It Through

Read Matthew 7:24-27. To whom did Jesus compare the person who does what He says? To whom did He compare the person who doesn’t do what He says?

Some commandments in the Bible are only given to a specific person or group at a specific time, but you can still apply the core principle to your life. For example, read Matthew 19:16-22. Is this passage saying you should sell everything and give to the poor? Why or why not? What’s the core principle you can apply to your life?

Do you find your daily joy and sustenance in reading, internalizing, and applying the Bible (see Jeremiah 15:16; John 4:34)? Why or why not?


Land and Explore

Check out Pastor Skip’s free teaching series Living Life Against the Flow, where he dives in to some of the basics of Christian living through the practical application of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

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A Word of Encouragement

There’s a difference between studying the Bible and applying the Bible in your daily life. Some people become experts in the Scriptures, but their lives remain unchanged. The real joy is in turning the Bible loose and obeying it.

Prayer

Lord, I ask that You would make my heart open and ready to not only receive and internalize Your truth, but also act on it.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Subscribe to Pastor Skip’s YouTube channel,where you can be encouraged by his Bible teachings, watch interviews, and stay up-to-date with his ministry.
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1 and 2 Timothy: Fighting the Good Fight

Along with Titus, 1 and 2 Timothy are Pastoral Epistles, written by Paul to the young pastor Timothy, his protégé and son in the faith. These letters give the first detailed descriptions of how the church and its leadership operated in the New Testament.

Paul clearly laid out 1 Timothy’s theme in chapter 3: “I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (v. 15). Timothy, like every minister, was to guard truth like a sacred trust, fighting for it, warning and exhorting with it, and teaching it.

Second Timothy was the last letter Paul ever wrote; it’s believed he was executed soon afterwards. So Paul addressed Timothy’s present calling and pastoral character, then moved on to practical concerns about false doctrine and teachers, finally charging Timothy to “preach the word!” (2 Timothy 4:2).

Among the last words of Paul were these: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). That’s how I want to finish; how about you?


Think It Through

Read 1 Timothy 1:3, 10; 4:1, 6, 13, 16; 5:17; 6:1, 3; 2 Timothy 3:10, 16; 4:3. What is doctrine? Are you committed to it? Why or why not?

What does Paul command young people to do in these two letters (see 1 Timothy 4:12; 2 Timothy 2:22)?

Read 1 Timothy 6:6-10. Why strive for “godliness with contentment”?

Paul wrote 2 Timothy 3:1-5 a mere thirty years or so after Jesus’ resurrection. What does this passage tell you about man’s nature? How are you to respond?


Listen and Learn

The apostle Paul wrote 1 and 2 Timothy to his spiritual “son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). In this brief study, Skip points out some instructions from Paul on how the church should operate.
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Land and Explore

If you’re interested in taking a more detailed look at 1 and 2 Timothy, start with this free series from Pastor Skip on  1 Timothy.

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A Word of Encouragement

Paul used the word doctrine a lot in 1 and 2 Timothy. It simply means solid, healthy teaching from the Bible, and it’s of utmost importance to the church today. The more you are exposed to doctrine, the more you’ll get to know God and grow in the knowledge of His will.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, Paul the apostle left us with quite the legacy of a man who ran the race well. I pray that by Your Spirit and Your grace, You would continue to perform the good work You began in me until the day of Christ. I commit myself to Your Word—to standing and fighting for the truth, as Timothy did.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Find full transcripts of Pastor Skip’s teachings at connectwithskip.com/teachings, great for in-depth personal Bible study.
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1 and 2 Thessalonians: End-Times Education

Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians to the church of struggling new believers in Thessalonica to clarify some questions they had about the last days. Because both letters focus heavily on the end times, they’re known as eschatological epistles. They dovetail neatly together, so it’s important to take them as a package.

The focus of 1 Thessalonians is on Jesus Christ and the church. In this book, Paul called the Thessalonians to live in light of the rapture, the event where Jesus will return for His church.

The focus of the sequel, 2 Thessalonians, is on the Antichrist and the world. Paul wanted the Thessalonians to know that the rapture would happen before the day of the Lord, also known as the tribulation period, during which the Antichrist will rise to power and God will judge the earth.

The letters of 1 and 2 Thessalonians were among the first writings in all of the New Testament. In other words, the doctrine of the return of Jesus Christ wasn’t an afterthought to the early church—it was a paramount teaching, as it should be for us today.


Think It Through

What is the rapture going to be like, according to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18? How is this a comforting truth?

Read 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. What’s God’s will for you (see also 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6)?

Read 2 Thessalonians 3:13, Paul’s final exhortation to the Thessalonians. How can you live out this verse in light of Jesus’ return?


Listen and Learn

First and Second Thessalonians deal more with the end times than any of Paul’s other writings. In this short study, Skip explains how we can live in expectation of Jesus’ imminent return.
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Land and Explore

Dig deeper into the lessons of Paul’s letters to Thessalonica by downloading this free fifteen-message series from Pastor Skip titled 1 Thessalonians: Dynamic Discipleship.

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A Word of Encouragement

Ever since Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians, the church has been waiting for and anticipating the imminent return of Jesus Christ. He could come back at any moment. Are you living like it?

Prayer

Father, my hope is in You. Help me live in the light of the fact that You can return anytime. I pray that my knowledge of the last days would carry me through the hard times and remind me in the good times that even better times are coming.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Visit Pastor Skip’s website to watch this week’s Connect with Skip Heitzig TV broadcast as well as past broadcasts.
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Colossians: All You Need Is Christ

Since the beginning of the church, there’s been a tendency to move away from what’s most important: Jesus Christ. That’s why the message of Colossians continues to be desperately needed today.

The church at Colossae was subjected to weird ideologies and false teachers who played on a desire we all have: a deeper relationship with God. But they went so deep with their so-called theology that they went off the deep end.

In Paul’s letter to the Colossian church, he called them to keep Jesus Christ dead center, because He is everything, and nothing else matters as much as Him.

The heart of Colossians is the doctrinal section, which establishes Jesus Christ’s preeminence, or His being the most important thing in the Christian life. In Him, every ceremony is completed, every requirement is depleted, and every enemy is defeated. Paul then offered a practical section, how these doctrinal truths should play out in the Christian life.

In short, Paul said that if you have Jesus Christ, then you have it all.


Think It Through

Who is Jesus and what does He do, according to Colossians 1:15-20?

The practical section of Colossians is summed up in Colossians 3:8-10. What do you need to “put off” today? What will you “put on” instead?

Do you trust that Christ alone completes you (see Colossians 2:9-10)? What are you tempted to add to your relationship with Jesus? Why?


Listen and Learn

The book of Colossians has truths that are desperately needed today. In this message, Skip explains that the dominant theme is to keep Jesus Christ at the center of your life so you don’t swerve away from God’s truth.
Listen Now

Land and Explore

The message of Colossians is clear: nothing and no one is as important as Jesus Christ. Download this free series from Pastor Skip called Colossians: Staying on Dead Center, and learn how to apply that truth to your everyday life.

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A Word of Encouragement

If Jesus is the Creator of the universe, the preexisting one, the full revelation of the Father, and God in human flesh, don’t you think He should take first place in your life? He is truly all you need, so why would you ever settle for anything other than Him?

Prayer

Lord, thank You for the central message of Colossians: it’s not about me or even about Christianity—it’s all about Jesus Christ and my relationship with Him. I pray that You would help me keep Christ as the center, the preeminent one in all areas of my life, so that I would live a compelling, different, holy life.

Share It

If you enjoyed today’s lesson, don’t keep it all to yourself—tell your friends and followers. Share the images below on social media, and make sure to use the hashtag #30k30daychallenge.

Today’s Resource

Download a free PDF of Pastor Skip’s Keep Calm and Marry On booklet, which provides you with powerful tools to strengthen your marriage and home life.
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