From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/29:

We have a real enemy, Satan, whose goal is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Therefore Paul exhorts the Corinthians to follow his example and forgive the ones in the church who offended them, so Satan doesn’t have a chance to work his schemes of division and destruction – “For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

Paul says we are equipped to do the work of the ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit, not by our human capabilities of adhering to the letter of the law, “but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” And the Lord makes us ministers for the purpose of reaching others – “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.”

Paul explains that both the old covenant and the new covenant are glorious, but the new covenant is more glorious because it changes people’s hearts and lifts the veil of darkness from their eyes – “But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”

The ones veiled in darkness, who don’t accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, are controlled by Satan, the god of this world – “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them… For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Although this world is controlled by Satan, the ruler of darkness, Christians don’t lose heart because what is happening in the spiritual realm far exceeds what our eyes can see in the earthly realm. Everyone’s earthly body is perishing, but for the Christian, “the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Therefore, Paul lives his life to please the Lord, walking by faith with a mind set on eternal things. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

As a new creation reconciled to God through Christ, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation, which is to share the good news of the gospel with others, so that they too may have hope of eternal life with Christ.

Keep reading.

(2 Corinthians 2:5-6:13)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/28:

Paul knows that reading God’s word daily nourishes our soul and gives us hope. Therefore, he says, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”

Paul has been called to preach the gospel in places that have no church. He tells the Romans this is why he hasn’t visited sooner. However, he hopes to see them on his way to Spain. Paul ends the letter by greeting twenty-nine people in Rome (of whom ten are women) who labored in ministry with him. Paul concludes his letter to the Romans by giving glory to the Lord – “Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.”

Paul writes a second letter to the Corinthians – “Paul wrote 2 Corinthians from Macedonia, sometime after sending 1 Corinthians from Ephesus. Paul wrote 2 Corinthians in response to news Titus brought him of the church in Corinth and to further his collection for the poor in Jerusalem” (OYCB).

In his letter, Paul says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ.” God uses our suffering to draw us nearer to Him for our good, and so that we may better know how to comfort others during their trials.

Paul defends himself to the Corinthians regarding why he changed his travel plans. He says it wasn’t because he was untrustworthy or indecisive, but for their own good – “Moreover I call God as witness against my soul, that to spare you I came no more to Corinth.”

Apparently there was some tension the last time Paul visited them, so Paul decided not to return. Instead he sent Titus to the church with a “severe letter” from Paul. “And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.”

Paul writes hard truths to the Corinthians, not to grieve them, but so they will know his love for them. We will read more of Paul’s words to the Corinthians tomorrow, so keep reading.

(Romans 15:1-16:27, 2 Corinthians 1:1-2:4)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/27:

Paul explains that God has not cast away His people, the Israelites – “For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, ‘Lord, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life?’”

Remember during the Divided Kingdom Era, after Elijah had the showdown on Mt. Carmel, he assumed he stood alone for the Lord (1 Kings 18-19). However, God encouraged him by saying, “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” Paul says, “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” And we have seen throughout the story of the Bible, there is always a remnant who walk by faith with the Lord, with the same being true today.

Because of the Jews’ lack of faith, salvation came to the Gentiles in order to provoke the Jews to jealousy and save some of them. So Paul warns the Gentiles not to boast in their salvation since it is all a gift from God by grace. He says that any Jew who puts their faith in Jesus Christ will also be saved, or as Paul puts it, they will be grafted into the olive tree.

Israel is still God’s chosen one. However, at this point in time, the majority of Israelites have rejected Christ as their Savior, resulting in the gospel being spread to the Gentiles. But there will be a day in the future that God will show mercy to Israel because “they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.” The Lord is going to keep His promises He made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and as was written by Isaiah – “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.” 

Paul exhorts the believers to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God… And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Therefore, they are not to view themselves more highly than others within the body of Christ. “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them.” And use them with love and good works toward one another.

Paul explains that God is the one in charge of placing people in positions of authority. “Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves… Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake… Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”

We end the reading with Paul telling the Romans not to judge one another. – “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand… For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ…So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”

Tomorrow Paul concludes his letter to the Romans, and begins a second letter to the Corinthians. 

Keep reading.

(Romans 11:1-14:23)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/26:

Paul, still writing to the Romans, says that no suffering can compare to the future glory we will have in our new resurrected bodies, in the new heaven and earth. And although we will suffer for a short period of time here on earth, God uses everything for our good, including our suffering – “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

Paul states that if God is for us then nothing can be against us; not “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword… Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” For nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Paul grieves the fact that His people, the Jews, are not all saved. However, Paul says that God never said everyone would be saved. He illustrates this point by taking the Romans back to the Patriarch Era with Abraham. He says although Abraham had more than one child, the promise came through the chosen son, Isaac. “And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac (for the children not yet being born, nor having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of Him who calls), it was said to her, ‘The older shall serve the younger.’ As it is written, ‘Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated.’”

Paul explains that God is righteous and He can do whatever He desires with His creation. “For He says to Moses, ’I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.’ So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who shows mercy. For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth.’ Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens.”

We are all sinners deserving of death. God shows His just wrath against our sin to highlight His abundant mercy and grace to us. In God’s mercy, He sent His son to die a death that we deserve so that Jews and Gentiles may be reconciled to God by grace through faith in Christ.

Paul says that Isaiah prophesied that not all the Israelites, but just a remnant, would be saved by faith. The ESV Study Bible explains the tension between God’s sovereignty and man’s freewill – “God’s sovereignty is compatible with human responsibility. Israel should have believed the gospel and trusted in Christ, but the majority refused to do so. Still, God’s saving promises will be fulfilled.” 

The stumbling block to the Israelites is their pursuit of righteousness through the law and not through faith. “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”

Paul says, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved… For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For ‘Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”

We end the reading with Paul teaching the importance of sharing the gospel message with others – “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’”

“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” And since faith comes by hearing, it is critical that we share the story of Christ with the world, fulfilling Jesus’ command to go and make disciples. The individual’s response to the message is upon them. However, nothing should stop our call to spread the Good News of Christ with the hope that some will hear, repent, and receive eternal salvation.

Keep reading.

(Romans 8:18-10:21)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/25:

Paul explains that faith brings us joy, even in the midst of trials and tribulations – “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Paul goes on to say that through Adam’s disobedience in the garden, sin, judgment, and condemnation came to all men. But through Jesus’ righteous act of obedience on the cross, “the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”

We were all once slaves to our sin. However, Paul says to the Christians, “For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” Paul explains that the act of sin brings no fruit in one’s life, but once you become a slave to God, “you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God’s law exposes our sin. Although Christians will still sin, there is no longer any pleasure in the sinful acts; rather Christians grieve sin, which leads to repentance and turning from sin. Paul shares his own personal struggle – “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.” This is the battle between the flesh and the Spirit that all Christians experience. The Holy Spirit that dwells within Christians is the One to convict us and lead us to repentance.

However, Christians’ righteousness is not based on their actions but rather based on their faith in Jesus Christ and His righteousness. Therefore, there is “no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

“So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you… The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

There’s only one perfect Man who will ever live, Jesus Christ. Therefore, none of us are going to walk in the Spirit at all times perfectly without sin. However, we are called to engage in the battle of dying to the flesh and our selfish desires, and living for Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. And when we stumble, we repent out of hatred for our sin and out of love for God. Then we continue to “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling” (Philippians 3:14). 

Keep reading.

(Romans 5:1-8:17)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/24:

Today Paul tells the Romans that God is the judge of all and “whoever you are who judge, for whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same thing.” Therefore, Paul says instead of judging each other’s sins, repent of your own sin to avoid the wrath of God. For God “‘will render to each one according to his deeds’: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil… For there is no partiality with God.”

Paul rebukes the Jews for honoring God with their mouths but breaking the law with their actions. He says “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” and because of their disobedience as God’s chosen people.

Paul is more concerned about the state of their hearts rather than their outward appearance of obedience. Paul explains that a Jew “is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.”

Since we are all sinners incapable of perfectly keeping the law, the good news is that we are not judged by the law. The law exposes our sin and our need for a Savior – “For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus… Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.”

Paul explains that Abraham was justified by his faith over four hundred years before the law was ever given – “For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’” And Abraham received the sign of circumcision at least thirteen years after being accounted righteous as “a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.”

“For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” And the same righteousness that was imputed to Abraham shall be “imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”

More to the Romans tomorrow, so keep reading.

(Romans 2:1-4:25)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/23:

Today Paul concludes his first letter to the Corinthians by asking that a collection be taken up for the Christians in need in Jerusalem. Paul says he will come to take the collection back to Jerusalem; however, he isn’t leaving Ephesus until after Pentecost. In the meantime, Paul says Timothy is on his way and he urges them to “watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong, let all that you do be done with love.”

Back in Ephesus, “there arose a great commotion about the Way.” A silversmith named Demetrius is upset that people are converting to Christianity and no longer buying his handmade false gods, which is negatively impacting his cash flow. Money appears to be the motivating factor for Demetrius’ work; however, he raises a claim disguised as religious convictions. Demetrius says, “Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands. So not only is this trade of ours in danger of falling into disrepute, but also the temple of the great goddess Diana may be despised and her magnificence destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worship.”

When the unbelievers, the ones who are walking in the flesh and in darkness, hear Demetrius’ testimony, they are filled with wrath. Therefore, they create chaos by rioting and seizing Paul’s companions. However, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen did not have a legitimate charge against them, so the city clerk quiets the crowds and releases Paul’s companions. 

“After the uproar had ceased, Paul called the disciples to himself, embraced them, and departed to go to Macedonia.” Paul and his companions visit the church in Macedonia and then make their way to Greece. “Paul wrote Romans from Corinth, toward the end of his third missionary journey, AD 54” (OYCB).

In the letter to the Roman church, Paul says, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world…For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith.’”

Paul explains that we, as sinners, need salvation through Jesus Christ because “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” God, in His righteous judgment, gives unrepentant sinners, those walking in the flesh, refusing to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, over to themselves and the evil desires of their hearts – “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”

In David Guzik’s commentary, he considers, “Where does all this violence, immorality, cruelty and degradation come from? It happens when men abandon the true knowledge of God, and the state of society reflects God’s judgment upon them for this.” 

Although a society may be under the judgment of God, there is always hope for an individual who will repent and turn to Christ for salvation. Tomorrow Paul will explain how Jesus took the punishment that we deserve as sinners so that we may be deemed righteous and restored to God. Keep reading.

(1 Corinthians 16:1-24, Acts 19:21-20:6, Romans 1:1-32)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/22:

Paul continues writing to the Corinthians about corporate worship. He says, “He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.” He goes on to say that a person speaking in tongues does not benefit the church unless they have an interpreter who can translate for others. Paul warns the Corinthians not to speak in tongue within the body of the church without an interpreter, in case an unbeliever visits the church and assumes they are out of their minds. Therefore, Paul encourages prophecy within the body because unbelievers can understand prophecy, a word from the Lord, which could lead an unbeliever to conviction, repentance, and salvation.

Since there is some disorderly conduct within the church concerning people with the gift of tongues, people with the gift of prophecy, and women who are speaking out of turn, Paul instructs them to keep silent within the gathering of the church. “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.”

In Paul’s day, women hardly had any rights. Therefore, Paul tells the women of the Corinthian church to keep silent and be submissive, as the law says. But as Sarah Ruden explains in her book Paul Among the People, Paul flips the culture when he says, “if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home.” Paul is giving the women an opportunity and the freedom to learn and grow in the Lord in a society that oppresses women. Paul is determined to bring equality among the Christians, this is why Paul says, “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).

Paul also teaches about resurrection, starting with Christ. He says that after Jesus’ resurrection, “He was seen by Cephas [Peter], then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time… But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”

Paul explains that when Jesus returns and puts an end to evil for good, all who have resurrected will receive new bodies raised up in glory. He says when the last trumpet sounds, the dead will be raised incorruptible. ”So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’ ‘O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?’ The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Tomorrow we read the closing remarks to the Corinthians, and Paul writes to the Romans. 

Keep reading.

(1 Corinthians 14:1-15:58)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/21:

Today Paul addresses some issues concerning corporate worship. He first speaks to husbands and wives – “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” Paul says that although men and women have different roles, they are both of equal value to the Lord. “Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.”

Paul says that women should keep their heads covered during worship. Sarah Ruden explains this in her book, Paul Among the People: “Respectable Greek and Roman women traditionally wore concealing veils in public. Marriage and widowhood were the chief things that a veil signaled…The veil was the flag of female virtue, status, and security. In the port city of Corinth, with its batteries of prostitutes – including the sacred prostitutes of the temple of Aphrodite – the distinction between veiled and unveiled women would have been even more crucial.” She goes on to explain how society was changing at that time; “slaves being freed; divorce proliferating; many more women entering into trades other than their most common trade of prostitution – any or all of these things could have made the veil a matter of controversy.” In one of her concluding comments Ruden says, “I think Paul’s rule aimed toward an outrageous equality. All Christian women were to cover their heads in church, without distinction of beauty, wealth, respectability – or of privilege so great as to allow toying with traditional appearances.” Ruden’s assessment of Paul’s rule is consistent with Paul’s aim for equality, as Paul repetitively proclaims that we are all one in Christ!

Paul rebukes the Corinthians for carelessly taking the Lord’s supper. Before Jesus was crucified, He gave His disciples bread which represented His body and wine which represented His blood of the new covenant. Then Jesus told His disciples to take the bread and wine in remembrance of Him pouring out His blood for the sins of many (Matthew 26:26-28). The Lord’s supper is not to be taken lightly. Therefore, Paul says, “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”

Paul discusses diversity in spiritual gifts and ministries and says although diverse, we are all still one in Christ – “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all… For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many… And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”

We end the reading with Paul saying most important, above any gifting, is having love – “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

Keep reading.

(1 Corinthians 11:2-13:13)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/20:

Paul makes clear today that Christians are to live in a way that draws others into the fellowship of Christ without concern for our own personal comforts. He tells the Corinthians, who are wrestling with whether they can eat meat purchased at the temple markets that has been sacrificed to idols, that there is only one God, so food sacrificed to the false gods doesn’t really matter since those gods are nothing. Some Corinthians have this knowledge, so they freely eat the meat with a clear conscience. But other Corinthians do not have this knowledge, so eating the meat sacrificed to idols weighs on their conscience. Therefore Paul tells them, ”But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”

Paul is less concerned about the food and more concerned about the Corinthians’ care for one another. He does not want them to be puffed up with their knowledge but to have love for each other. Paul uses his life as an example to them. He says that he lives in a way to further the gospel no matter the cost to himself. Although Paul has the right to be financially supported by the church, he chooses to support himself, not burdening the church. Paul says he lives his life serving others, becoming all things to all men, so that his life might draw people to salvation. 

Paul warns the Corinthians not to become idolaters, sexually immoral, and complainers like the people did in the wilderness with Moses during the Exodus Era – “Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.”

The Israelites were not unique with their idolatry, sexual sin, and complaining. Paul explains that we all suffer from temptations in this lifetime, “but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

Paul’s life is an excellent example of being the light of Christ. He forgoes his own personal comforts and lives with the sole purpose of bringing others into the fellowship of Christ. Paul knows truth, and the truth is that heaven and hell are real and the only way for eternal salvation is through a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Therefore Paul says, “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.”

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(1 Corinthians 8:1-11-1)

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