Lessons from II Corinthians

This is a very personal letter, and one that is tied closely to specific problems and issues with the church in Corinth.  That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot here of broader applicability, but some parts have more of that than others.  In that regard, I’ll note that my NIV study Bible provides a … [Read more…]

Lessons from I and II Timothy

I Timothy: Chapter 1:  Christ is “our hope.” Don’t worry about “endless genealogies.”  The goal of instruction is “love,” “good conscience,” and a “sincere faith.”  Paul condemns, inter alia, homosexuals.  He acknowledges his own past sinfulness. Chapter 2:  This chapter must give the Left fits.  In verses 2:1-2, Paul says that we should pray for … [Read more…]

Lessons from Galatians

One preliminary note:  If you’re making a list of Christian behavior do’s and don’ts, chapter 5 is a good place to start. Chapter 1:  Paul reprimands the Galatians for deserting Christ for a false gospel, and then gives a brief summary of how he (Paul) came to be apostle to the Gentiles (interesting, and includes … [Read more…]

Lessons from Colossians

Overview:  This is another letter of Paul’s letters written from prison (4:18).  Chapter 1 discusses who Jesus was, theologically (note the reference in 1:10 to “bearing fruit in every good work”).  Chapter 2 seems to be aimed at the (Gnostic) heresy, and says that Jesus is the answer, not some other way or philosophy, and … [Read more…]

Lessons from Philippians

Chapter 1:  I’ll note at the outset that the letter is being written during Paul’s (Roman) imprisonment (1:13).  Paul welcomes even preaching from bad motives, so long as Christ is proclaimed (1:18).  And suffering to advance Christ is a good thing (1:22-24, 29). Chapter 2:  Be unselfish and humble, as Christ was (2:1-8).  The universality … [Read more…]

Lessons from I and II Thessalonians

I Thessalonians: God examines our hearts. Don’t seek glory from men (implied). Abstain from sexual immorality; love (and comfort) one another; lead a quiet life, attend to your own business, and work with your hands, so that outsiders will respect you and you won’t be in need. The dead shall rise when the Lord returns. … [Read more…]

Lessons from Titus

This pastoral letter is quite rich in listing the qualities for good Christians, and it’s noteworthy that Paul stresses some qualities for everyone but also some particular qualities for different groups of people.  This division itself may be controversial in 2018, with even more controversy involving instructions that involve  obedience to authorities.  And the less … [Read more…]

Lessons from Ephesians

Here’s my boiled down version of this epistle: Chapter 1:  Paul is very positive about what God has given us, expressing great gratitude to Him for our blessings.  (“Predestined” appears twice, verses 5 and 11; see also 2:10.) Chapter 2:  Grace and faith saves — not works (verses 8-9). Chapter 3:  Jews and Gentiles are … [Read more…]

Lessons and Notes from Philemon

Lessons: Preaching for Christ is worth going to prison for. Peace is important. Love and faith are important. Christian brotherhood transcends slavery.  (But the law is still followed.) Additional notes: Paul’s approach is not to condemn slavery as an institution — though he does not endorse it either — but to appeal to Christians to … [Read more…]

Notes and Lessons from I John

I identified sixth themes in this letter from the apostle John:  (1) Love is the essence of Christianity; (2) deeds matter, and we all sin;  (3) Christ was physically real and the Son of God; (4) belief in Him is central to salvation; (5) there exists evil and it can be identified; and (6) we … [Read more…]