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.”

Keep reading.

(1 Corinthians 8:1-11-1)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/19:

Paul warns the Corinthians not to judge one another or boast in themselves as they have all received a gift that no one earned; the Holy Spirit and salvation by grace through faith. Paul describes his life and the lives of those truly following Christ, which is quite the opposite of the fake, showy religious crowds who love praise and public platforms – “To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; being defamed, we entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.”

Therefore, Paul implores the Corinthians not to be haughty but to imitate him. And since Paul can’t be there with them, he has sent Timothy, “who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.”

Paul rebukes the Corinthians for allowing a man who was sleeping with his stepmom to remain in the church. Paul tells them to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” So the purpose of church discipline is ultimately for the spiritual good of the one being disciplined as well as the welfare of the ones inside the church. Allowing unrepentant sin to continue could negatively influence others as “a little leaven leavens the whole lump.”

Paul goes on to tell them to “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Paul explains that sex is to be within the boundaries of marriage between a man and a woman. And the husband and wife do not need to deprive one another of sex “so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

In addition, Paul tells them not to divorce, even if they are married to an unbeliever – “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy…For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” God is the one who saves; however, Paul is saying that the believer’s life has a positive impact on the children and can lead the spouse to faith. Therefore, your marriage and your spouse’s salvation are something to entrust to the Lord.

Paul says there are advantages to not being married, as the unmarried have fewer distractions and can therefore be more focused on worship and missions. However, Paul encourages everyone to be content with where they are when called by the Lord, regardless of the situation, married or not.

Tomorrow, more from Paul to the Corinthians. Keep reading.

(1 Corinthians 4:1-7:40)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/18:

Today Aquila and Priscilla meet a Jewish man named Apollos, “an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures,” who preaches the Lord boldly in Ephesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. When Aquila and Priscilla hear him, they take him aside and explain to him the way of God more accurately, probably teaching of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Then Apollos travels through Achaia to the church in Corinth where he refutes “the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.”

When Paul arrives in Ephesus, he baptizes twelve disciples of John in the name of Jesus. “And he went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them and withdrew the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. And this continued for two years, so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.”

In Ephesus, God works unusual miracles at the hand of Paul. When some Jewish exorcists try to imitate the works of Paul by attempting to cast out evil spirits in the name of Jesus, an evil spirit responds to them saying, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” The evil spirits are fully aware of the ones who are a threat to them, Jesus and Paul; but they are uninterested in the ones who do not belong to Jesus. And since the exorcists do not have a true relationship with Jesus Christ, they are overpowered by the evil spirit. “This became known both to all Jews and Greeks dwelling in Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.”

From Ephesus, Paul writes a letter to the church in Corinth, based on a report he receives saying that the church is experiencing division due to the arrogance of the more influential members, social elitism in the church, as well as sexual immorality. There is also confusion on marriage and divorce, participation in pagan religions, the design of corporate worship, and the bodily resurrection of Christians.

In Paul’s letter, he urges the Corinthians to be set apart as one in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. He tells them not to argue over who baptized whom, as our power does not come from any man but through Christ and by the gift of the Holy Spirit, who reveals all things spiritual to us. Paul explains that no man should boast in himself, as all that we have is a gift from the Lord:

  • “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.’”
  • “For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Since Paul and Apollos are just ministers of the Lord through whom the new converts believed, Paul tells them that they do not need to quarrel over which one baptized them. Paul explains to them how sharing the Gospel works – ”I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor… For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.”

Tomorrow more from Paul to the Corinthians. Keep reading.

(Acts 18:24-19:20,1 Corinthians 1:1-3:18)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/17:

Today Paul concludes his first letter to the church in Thessalonica with several closing remarks; one being “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

A few months after his first letter, Paul writes another letter from Corinth to the Thessalonians. In this letter, Paul explains that the second coming of Jesus Christ has not yet occurred. Although the church is experiencing persecution, Paul tells them this is not the tribulation that will occur on the day of Christ.

Paul exhorts them not to be “shaken in mind or troubled” by the false teaching concerning the Lord’s second coming. He says that before the coming of Christ, there will be a massive departure from true faith in the Lord and the Antichrist will appear, claiming to be God. The power which has been restraining Satan will be removed, revealing Satan at the Lord’s perfect timing. Ultimately the deceiver and all those deceived will be destroyed. – ”For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 

Paul encourages the church by saying, “God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle… the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one.”

Paul ends the letter by instructing them all to do their share of the work load and not to grow weary doing good but to admonish those who do not obey the word.

In Corinth, Paul continues to preach that Jesus is the Christ in the synagogue to the Jews. When the Jews oppose Paul, Paul says from now on he will go to the Gentiles. So Paul goes to the house of Justus, which is next to the synagogue, and continues preaching. “Then Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his household. And many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were baptized.” 

“Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.’ And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.”

“So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him.” Paul leaves Priscilla and Aquila in Ephesus to do the work of the ministry. Then Paul travels on, landing back at the church in Antioch. “After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.”

Tomorrow we will read about Paul’s third missionary journey, so keep reading.

(1 Thessalonians 5:12-28, 2 Thessalonians 1:1-3:18, Acts 18:4-23)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/16:

While in Athens, Paul’s spirit is provoked when he sees all the idolatry in the city. Paul says, “For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.” 

Paul tells the people to repent, “because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man who He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” And when they hear of the resurrection of the dead, some mock Peter but some believe and join him.

After Paul leaves Athens, he goes to Corinth where he spends much of his time during his second missionary journey. There he meets Aquila and his wife, Priscilla, who are tentmakers like Paul. Paul stays with them, and while in Corinth he writes two letters to the church in Thessalonica.

In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul commends them for their faith and reminds them of his first visit – “For we never came with words of flattery, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, though we could have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children. So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us. For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.”

Paul was forced to leave Thessalonica after the rioters dragged Jason (Paul’s host) before the Roman leaders accusing him of rebelling against Caesar. Out of concern for the church, Paul sent Timothy to check on the Thessalonians and report back to him. Timothy reports that things are going relatively well but some have died and since they didn’t fully understand resurrection, they thought that the ones who died would miss out on Jesus’ second coming; therefore, they were in great mourning. The Thessalonians were also questioning the timing of the return of Jesus. Paul focuses on writing about Jesus’ second coming in his letter, as he mentions it in every chapter of the book. Paul assures the Thessalonians that the Lord’s wrath will not be poured upon the believers on the day of His return, and that their salvation in Christ is sealed. Paul says both the dead and the living are destined to be saved in the second coming.

Paul explains that the souls of the ones who died will come down from heaven when Christ returns, and their bodies will be resurrected and reunited with their souls. Since no one knows when Jesus will return, Paul tells the Christians not to be like the pagan unbelievers, the ones in the dark who are walking in the flesh involved in all sorts of sexual immorality and refusing to work, depending upon the wealthy to provide for them. He encourages them to stay awake and sober because that day is going to come like a thief in the night for the unbelievers. “But you, brethren, are not in the darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”

We will read Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians tomorrow, so keep reading.

(Acts 17:16-18:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:1-5:11)

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From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/15:

The council agrees to James’ recommendations regarding the Gentiles and sends a letter to the church in Antioch. Representatives from the church in Jerusalem, Judas and Silas, accompany Barnabas and Paul to Antioch. When the letter is read confirming that the Gentiles don’t have to be circumcised but should “abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality,” there is great rejoicing over its encouragement.

Some days after reading the letter, Paul and Barnabas get into a heated debate about whether or not to take Mark with them on their next missionary journey. Paul does not want to take Mark because he deserted them on their first missionary journey. However, Barnabas is insistent that he goes with them. This dispute becomes so intense that Paul and Barnabas separate, with Paul taking Silas to churches in Syria and Cilicia, and Barnabas taking Mark to churches in Cyprus. Therefore, the Lord uses this conflict to further the spread of the gospel by doubling their labor efforts.

On Paul’s second missionary journey he meets Timothy, a young man well respected and full of faith because of the influence of his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother, Lois (2 Timothy 1:5). Timothy is not circumcised because his father is Greek, but since his mother is Jewish, Timothy is considered Jewish. Therefore Paul has him circumcised before they begin their mission work together in order to not offend the Jews. Then “they went through the cities, they delivered to them the decrees to keep, which were determined by the apostles and elders at Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily.”

During their journeys, Paul receives a vision which leads him and his companions to the city Philippi in Macedonia. There they meet Lydia who, as well as her entire household, converts to Christianity after hearing Paul share the gospel. She then convinces Paul and his companions to stay at her home.

Trouble soon arises when Paul casts a spirit with predictive powers out of a slave girl. Her masters, who were profiting from her, are not too happy about losing their means to get rich. So they bring Paul and Silas before the magistrates who beat them and throw them in prison. However, the Lord rescues them, and the keeper of the prison and his entire family come to faith through the miraculous rescue.

Once released, they continue their mission work. In Thessalonica, Paul preaches Jesus Christ. “And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas. But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, ‘These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king—Jesus.’ And they troubled the crowd and the rulers of the city when they heard these things. So when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.”

So we see that the unbelievers, the ones walking in the flesh and darkness, gather in mobs causing riots and uproar, troubling the people and authorities. However, the believers, the ones walking in the light and the Spirit, are said to have “turned the world upside down”, simply by preaching the truth of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. 

Paul and Silas flee to Berea where they once again go into the synagogue and preach. “Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was preached by Paul at Berea, they came there also and stirred up the crowds. Then immediately the brethren sent Paul away, to go to the sea; but both Silas and Timothy remained there. So those who conducted Paul brought him to Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him with all speed, they departed.”

Tomorrow Paul preaches in Athens and then travels to Corinth where he writes letters to the church of the Thessalonians. Keep reading.

(Acts 15:22-17:15)

#bibleliteracymovement #chronologicalbibleteaching

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 11/14:

Paul tells the Galatians that through faith in Jesus Christ we are all equal – “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.” Paul goes on to say that we are no longer slaves to the law but adopted as sons and daughters; heirs of God through Christ.

Paul warns the Galatians of the fake religious crowds who form their own little clicks to manipulate the people. Paul says not to cave into that immature nonsense but to stay focused on the Lord at all times – “They zealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them. But it is good to be zealous in a good thing always.”

Paul goes on to explain the freedom that is found in Christ by saying that Abraham had two sons; Ishmael, born through flesh by Abraham’s bondservant, Hagar, and Isaac, born through the promise by the freewoman, Abraham’s wife, Sarah. These two sons are symbolic of the two covenants; one (Ishmael), born out of unbelief by Sarah scheming and having Abraham sleep with her servant Hagar, represents the covenant of the law, which those of unbelief are still operating under the bondage of the law. The other son (Isaac), who was born out of faith by Abraham and Sarah, represents the freedom found in the new covenant through the promised Son, Jesus Christ. Paul exhorts the Christians to walk in the freedom of the new covenant- “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”

Paul addresses circumcision, the symbolic act of the old covenant God made with Abraham. He tells the Galatians that they are no longer bound to circumcision under the new covenant –  “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails to anything, but faith working through love… For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” 

Through Christ we have been given the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul instructs the Galatians to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh which is opposed to the Spirit. He continues by comparing the works of the flesh to the works of the Spirit – “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Paul encourages the Christians not to grow weary doing good “for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

However, as the dispute about circumcision grows, Paul and Barnabas travel to Jerusalem, where they stand before the council in 49 AD reporting all that the Lord has done with them.“But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, ‘It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.’”

After much debate, Peter stands up and says that God knows the hearts and He saved the Gentiles who had faith in His Son and gave them the Holy Spirit the same as He did with the believing Jews. He questions why they are testing God by putting a yoke on the Gentiles with the law that even the forefathers nor they could bear. Peter explains that all are saved through grace by faith in Christ. 

Then Paul and Barnabas declare how many miracles and wonders God has worked through them among the Gentiles. James, Jesus’ brother, also comes to the defense of the Gentiles saying even the prophets wrote about their salvation. Then James proposes a solution – “Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.” James is agreeing that they should not be under Mosaic Law, but they also shouldn’t be offensive to the Jewish community out of love for the church. So James suggests the Gentiles follow three rules related to the Jewish dietary traditions and one rule related to sexual sin, which is prevalent among the pagans.  

Tomorrow we hear the ruling of the council and tension arises between Paul and Barnabas. Keep reading.

(Galatians 3:24-6:18, Acts 15:1-21)

#bibleliteracymovement #chronologicalbibleteaching