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.
Monday, June 30, 2014
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
Thursday, June 26, 2014
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
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
Sunday, June 22, 2014
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 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
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
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!
Sunday, June 15, 2014
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
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
Monday, June 9, 2014
Sunday, June 8, 2014
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
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
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
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.)