From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/16:

Paul instructs Timothy to pass down what was taught to him about Jesus Christ to “faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” It is crucial, as disciple makers, that we aren’t seeking to entertain the crowds and build our own platforms. Disciple making is intentionally pouring into others who will reproduce by teaching others the word of God and how to walk with the Lord. If you are pouring into others, deep bonds will form like Paul and Timothy’s, but the goal of disciple making is multiplication. That’s why Paul says we are called to be diligent like soldiers for Christ spreading the gospel – “You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.”

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 

Paul exhorts Timothy, who has followed in his footsteps, to continue growing in the things that he has learned, beginning when he was a boy and was taught by his mom and grandmother – “from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

Paul speaks of the importance of understanding the Bible, the power of God’s word, and our call to share truth from Scriptures – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Paul ends his letter encouraging Timothy to finish well as Paul has done – “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing… At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”

We live in a world where many have turned their backs on the word of God. As Christ followers, we are called to endure and continue teaching sound doctrine from the Bible, until God takes us to our eternal home.

Tomorrow we begin reading a letter written to the Hebrews (it is debated whether or not Paul is the author of this letter). Keep reading. (2 Timothy 2:1-4:18)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/15:

In the ministry there are many false teachers who are in it for their own personal gain and recognition. Paul ends his first letter to Timothy encouraging him to remain faithful – “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses… O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.”

Paul also writes a letter to Titus, who Paul left on Crete, so that he would “set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.” Paul warns Titus of the false teachers who are teaching what “ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain… They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.”

Paul exhorts Titus to rebuke the false teachers and to promote right teaching. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Paul says that once we all were “foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Paul concludes his letter to Titus telling him to “avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.”

We end today’s reading with Paul writing another letter to Timothy shortly before his death in Rome, around 64 AD, during the persecution of Nero. Paul, probably knowing that death is near, encourages Timothy to stand firm in his faith, “which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”

More from Paul to Timothy tomorrow. Keep reading. (1 Timothy 6:11-21, Titus 1:1-3:15, 2 Timothy 1:1-18)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/14:

Today Paul gives Timothy standards for choosing church elders and deacons as well as the guidelines for the caring of widows.

Elders – “Must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous; one who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?); not a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil. Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

Deacons – “Must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience… Likewise, their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate, faithful in all things. Let deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”

Widows – Paul instructs the church to let her family take care of her first. However, if she does not have a family, the church is to provide for her. But Paul tells them to refuse the young widow; “For when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. And besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully.”

We end the reading with Paul stressing the importance of being content with what the Lord has given you in this life – “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Tomorrow we conclude this letter to Timothy, read Paul’s letter to Titus, and begin Paul’s second letter to Timothy. Keep reading. (1 Timothy 3:1-6:10)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/13:

Satan is looking to devour as many souls as possible. We saw his tactics back in the garden, when he tempted Eve by the lust of the eye (the fruit looked good), lust of the flesh (it would be good for the belly), and the pride of life (she would know as much as God). Eve fell for the lies and temptations from Satan, and Adam, who was passively standing by her, did as well. They both ate from the forbidden tree, resulting in the fall of humankind.

James urges us to not fall for the lies and temptations from Satan – “Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

James warns against judging one another, putting confidence in ourselves and our plans, trusting in riches, grumbling against one another, and making false oaths. He says we should encourage one another through prayer – “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms… Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

After James’ letter, we read Paul’s letter to Timothy. “Many scholars believe that Paul was released from imprisonment after some two years in Rome, that he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus during this time, and that he made his hoped-for trip to Spain as well.” (OYCB)

In Paul’s letter to Timothy, “a true son in the faith,” he warns against false teachers in the church. He mentions two false teachers, “Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.” 

Paul says the Lord “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying—a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” 

Then Paul gives instructions regarding the church structure. He tells the men to pray and worship without wrath and doubting, and the women to dress modestly and not seductively within the church. He also says that the women should not teach men or exercise authority over men within the church. “For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” So although we are all equal in Christ, we do have different roles and responsibilities. (Women teaching men in church is one area of Scripture that is highly debated. “Paul has a specific context for his restriction about women teaching men in this letter, but it does not contradict his permitting women from prophesying and praying in the assembly in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 11).” ~ Iva May)

More from Paul to Timothy tomorrow. Keep reading. (James 4:1-5:20, 1 Timothy 1:1-2:15)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/12:

Today James, the brother of Jesus and leader of the church in Jerusalem, writes a letter to the Jewish Christians during a time of persecution to encourage them to live out their faith. He tells them that wisdom comes from the Lord and temptation is from Satan. 

James gives them four instructions for living as Christ followers:

1) Be doers of the word – “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves… What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” 

Works don’t save us, but they do prove our faith. James gives examples using the lives of Abraham and Rahab. Both Abraham and Rahab acted based on faith – Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and Rahab’s willingness to hide the spies and to send them back safely. 

2) Don’t be prejudiced- It appears that favoring the rich is a problem within the church. So James gives a rebuke – “My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, ‘You sit here in a good place,’ and say to the poor man, ‘You stand there,’ or, ‘Sit here at my footstool,’ have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?… If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”

3) Control the tongue – “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell… But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.”

4) Don’t envy – “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.”

It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are able to be doers of the word, not show partiality, control our tongue, and not envy others. James says, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”  

More from James tomorrow so keep reading. (James 1:1-3:18)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/11:

Paul encourages the Philippians to be a light in this dark world – “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain. Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.”

Paul says he is sending Timothy to them so he may be encouraged when he knows their state – “For I have no one like-minded, who will sincerely care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.” Paul also sent Epaphroditus, who had nearly died, “since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick.”

Paul, writing while still imprisoned in Rome, instructs the Philippians not to have confidence in the flesh because anything that is apart from Christ is pointless – “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

Paul explains that he is not perfect “but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Paul instructs the Christians not to walk in the ways of this world. “For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”

Before signing off, Paul wraps up the letter encouraging the Philippians by telling them to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

Tomorrow we begin reading a letter written by James, Jesus’ brother, so keep reading! (Philippians 2:12-4:23)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/10:

Paul, who has a heart for equality, writes a letter to Philemon in hopes of altering the servant/master relationship. Onesimus, Philemon’s slave, fled to Rome where he encountered Paul and converted to Christianity. Paul says in the letter that possibly the Lord brought Onesimus to Rome so that he could receive Christ and return to his master, still as a servant but one that is free in Christ and equal to his master as brothers in Christ – “For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.”

Paul says he would repay anything the servant might owe and ends the letter with the assurance that Philemon would be obedient and receive Onesimus as his fellow brother in Christ.

While still imprisoned in Rome, Paul writes a letter to the Philippians. He comforts the Philippians by telling them “that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel, so that it has become evident to the whole palace guard, and to all the rest, that my chains are in Christ; and most of the brethren in the Lord, having become confident by my chains, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Paul is aware that the Lord wastes nothing. God even uses Paul’s imprisonment to further His name.

Paul is not afraid of chains or death because he knows that it would be better for him to die since he would be in heaven with Jesus Christ, without any pain or suffering. But Paul says, “Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith.” Paul understands his purpose. He knows that the Lord has kept him alive to share Christ with others, and he joyfully fulfills that purpose regardless of his circumstances.

Paul’s life is an example to the Philippians, and he instructs them to walk in the same manner – “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.”

Paul encourages the Philippians to be humble like Jesus was humble while He was on earth – “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Therefore, let’s live boldly for Jesus in light of that day, when every knee will bow to Him! Keep reading. (Philemon 1:1-25, Philippians 1:1-2:11)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/9:

Today Paul explains what it is like to be a part of the true Church, which consists of those who love Jesus above all else – “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.”

Paul instructs the Colossians to walk in Christ, “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.” Then he warns them to “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Paul says that being a Christian isn’t about following rules regarding what to do or not do in the ways you worship or what you touch, eat or drink. “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.” 

Following rules can give the appearance of holiness, but it is still man trusting in his own ability to be holy. For those who trust in Christ, our sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus, and our ability to overcome them is provided by the Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit. So Paul tells the Christians to “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them.” 

Then Paul explains how to die to the flesh by instructing the Colossians what to put off and what to put on. He says put off anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language, and lying. Instead, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, forgiveness. “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

Paul concludes the letter to the Colossians by encouraging them to continue in prayer and walking in wisdom so that the ones who don’t know the love of Christ may experience His pure love through our lives – “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”

Tomorrow Paul writes a letter to Philemon, a wealthy Christian in Colossae, regarding his runaway servant, and he begins a letter to the Philippians. Keep reading. (Colossians 1:24-4:18)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/8:

Today we conclude the letter to the Ephesians. Paul says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Paul speaks about how we should submit to one another, which can be really hard for us to do in our human, fleshly nature. However, if our eyes are on Jesus and we trust the Lord, that He is good and for our good, then submitting becomes life-giving and freeing. Remember, that’s the reason Jesus submitted to His father and died on that cross for us — to give us new and eternal life!

Therefore, Paul instructs the church body to submit “to one another in the fear of God.” He calls wives to submit to their husbands, “as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church, and He is the Savior of the body.” Then Paul tells the husbands “to love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her… So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies.” And children are to “obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”

In addition, Paul instructs bondservants to be obedient to their masters “as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart… knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free.” And masters are to “do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”

So we see that everyone is called to submit, and submitting is designed to be for our good. However, it can be very difficult to submit to someone who is not following the Lord (i.e. difficult for a wife to submit to a husband who is not submitted to Christ or for an employee to submit to a boss who is not submitted to Christ). But as Christ followers, we are called to submit to each other out of our love for Jesus and trust the Lord with the hearts of the ones to whom we are submitting. You never know the impact your life as a Christian can have on those around you, especially when you are submitting through the difficult.

Paul ends his letter by giving the Ephesians instructions on how to walk in this evil world, where Satan rules and deception reigns – “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.”

Next we read the letter to the Colossians – “Paul wrote the letter to the Colossians while imprisoned in Rome. He sent the letter to Colosse with Onesimus and Tychius, who were also carrying the letter to the Ephesians.” (OYCB)

Paul writes to the church at Colosse after receiving news that false teaching was impacting the church. So Paul begins his letter by elevating Jesus Christ and encouraging the Christians to continue in the faith – “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him… And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence… And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight— if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.” 

One commentator said – “If the gospel teaches the final perseverance of the saints, it teaches at the same time that the saints are those who finally persevere – in Christ. Continuance is the test of reality.” (Bruce)

More to the Colossians tomorrow. Keep reading. (Ephesians 5:15-6:24, Colossians 1:1-23)

From today’s reading in Tyndale’s One Year Chronological Bible dated 12/7:

Today Paul tells the Ephesians that he is imprisoned on their behalf because his calling is to preach to the Gentiles. He says this was once a mystery but after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, the mystery became known; that Jews and Gentiles are one in Christ. So Paul says, “Therefore I ask that you do not lose heart at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.”

Paul prays that the Ephesians will “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Then he reminds them of God’s greatness and power – “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.”

Paul encourages the Ephesians to be unified – “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” In addition, Paul says that each person is gifted by the Lord to be used for the work of the ministry – “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

Paul urges the Christians to put off their old ways of walking in darkness like the people around them – “But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”

Paul explains the importance of putting off the old ways of darkness so that we may be a light to others in the dark and without hope – “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: ‘Awake, you who sleep, arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.’” 

Tomorrow we conclude the letter to the Ephesians, and Paul begins a letter to the Colossians. Keep reading. (Ephesians 3:1-5:14)