Monday, June 30, 2014

I Corinthians 1: Sects in the Church? How Foolish!

Welcome to a new book!  Paul's first letter to the Corinthian Church is a true classic - full of deeply practical advice as well as a soaring rhapsody on the supremacy of love, with healthy doses of teaching on spiritual gifts and the resurrection thrown in for good measure as well.  In chapter 1, Paul zeroes in on two issues of immediate import for his audience: sects in the church and the "foolishness" of his proclamation.

Romans 16: So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Good Night!

Compared to the rest of the book, Romans 16 is the most personal chapter, full of private greetings and remarks.  It is Paul's good-bye to the church at Rome, until he should come there and be with them in person.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Psalm 25: The One To Turn To

Psalm 25 reads like the plea of a desperate man - a man desperate for forgiveness and deliverance.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Romans 15: Working Together

As Paul begins to wrap up his lengthy letter to the Romans, he is concerned that they display humility toward one another as well as unity overall.

Romans 14: The Realm of Opinion

Do Christians have to agree on everything?  I sure hope not!  There are all sorts of issues about which good, well-meaning Christians hold different opinions.  Some that I have come across in ministry: Which is the proper day to consider the Sabbath, the morality of drinking alcohol, the best version/translation of the Bible, the correct mode of baptism, the "right" political party, recommended attire for worship, suitable activities for youth groups, the standard of the tithe, and the appropriateness of Santa Claus!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Romans 13: The Fulfillment of the Law

Looking for clear guidelines from the Bible about how to behave?  You've come to the right place!  Paul continues this very practical section of Romans with a look at how Christians ought to be obedient to authority, fulfill the law with love, and shun sinful deeds.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Romans 12: Concrete Faith

After spending loads of ink on deep theological treatments of sin, salvation, Gentiles and Israel, Paul gets very practical about the Christian faith in the twelfth chapter of Romans.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Romans 11: Broken Branches

Paul completes his three chapters long exploration of the fate of Israel in Romans 11.  He concludes that her estrangement from God is only temporary, serving the purpose of allowing the Gentiles to enter the kingdom while Israel is hardened.

Psalm 24: Something's Coming

Psalm 24 is a traditional reading for Jesus' triumphal entry celebrated on Palm Sunday.  Besides being a beautiful song in its own right, it is full of messianic overtones.  The world had better get ready, David says, because Something's Coming.  Or, more precisely, Someone!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Romans 10: Acceptance and Rejection

Paul paints two very different pictures in Romans 10: one that explores what undergirds acceptance of the gospel, and one that examines the reasons for Israel's rejection of it.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Romans 9: Some Hard Questions

In Romans 9, Paul begins wrestling with a thorny issue resulting from his theology: what about the unsaved (unrepentant Jews being his chief concern) who have not been included in God's grace?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Romans 8: Where Do We Go From Here?

For several chapters, Paul has been talking about the distinction between the sinful nature and the spiritual nature; this discussion reaches its climax in Romans 8 as he looks ahead to see where these differences lead.  One way leads to death, the other to life - and beyond!

Romans 7: What Is Wrong With You?*

Probably the closest thing we have in the Bible to a tongue-twister is Romans 7:15-21!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Romans 6: Why Not Sin?

In Romans 6, Paul confronts two arguments regarding the interplay of sin, law, and grace.

Psalm 23: The Lord Is My Shepherd

Even though I almost always prefer a modern-language translation for personal Bible study and public teaching, there are rare exceptions when I find myself drawn to the beautiful imagery and rhythm of the centuries-old King James Version.  Psalm 23 is one of those occasions.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Romans 5: Reversing the Curse

"Just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men." (vs. 18)

Romans 4: Father Abraham

In Romans 4, Paul is still wrestling with those who want to make righteousness with God a matter of works (i.e. circumcision) rather than a matter of faith.  To buttress his argument, Paul goes all the way back to the patriarch Abraham to explore just what it was about Abraham that justified him.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Romans 3: Bad News/Good News

Are you the kind of person who wants to hear the good news first, or the bad news first?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Romans 2: Hypocrisy

"In passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things."

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Romans 1: Not Ashamed!

It is very intimidating to take on the task of blogging commentary on a book such as Romans!  Many regard it is as Paul's masterpiece of theological reasoning.  There is a power contained within it that has changed lives, birthed churches, and launched spiritual movements and reformations.  Yet it is precisely because Romans is such a critically important work that we must give it all the time and attention that we can.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Psalm 22: More Than Coincidences

If you believe, as I do, that God intended to foreshadow the sufferings of His Son in the Old Testament so that prophecies could be fulfilled thus attesting to God's sure plan for history, Psalm 22 could be submitted as "Exhibit A."

Friday, June 6, 2014

Galatians 6: Final Thoughts

How do you handle the biblical "contradiction" in Galatians 6?  Verse 2 instructs us to "bear one another's burdens," while verse 5 teaches "all must carry their own loads."

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Galatians 5: What True Freedom Looks Like

Everyone wants to be free, right?  The problem is that we often mistake slavery for freedom!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Galatians 4: Of Children and Slaves

Paul goes on in Galatians 4 to argue that the position of Christians in the world is that of children coming into their own, rather than slaves who will never inherit the promise.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Galatians 3: Faith vs. Law

Paul's concern in writing to the Galatians is the sufficiency of faith in Christ for our salvation.  After he had preached his gospel of grace in Galatia, Judaizers (those attempting to force Gentile Christians to obey Jewish customs), had come through teaching the Galatians that faith in Christ was not really enough; the new Christians would also have to follow all the Old Testament covenant laws (circumcision, kosher, ritual washing, temple sacrifice, etc.)

Monday, June 2, 2014

Galatians 2: What's At Stake

You may notice that Paul comes across as very passionate in Galatians - and very upset!  Why?  What has motivated him to write this letter and what has moved him to a posture of righteous indignation?