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…]

Lessons from II John and III John

These are two of the shortest books in the Bible, with 13 and 14 verses, respectively.  But you won’t be surprised to learn that good things can come in small packages.  Both letters were written by  the apostle John around A.D. 90 from Ephesus, according to my NIV study Bible. Here are the four lessons … [Read more…]

Lessons and Notes from I Peter

I’ve noted below the verses in I Peter that seemed to me to be most, well, noteworthy.  That is, these are the verses that tell us most directly how to live, or that contain important theological information. 1:1 refers to those “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God.” 1:1 refers to all three elements of … [Read more…]

Lessons from II Peter

There’s a good list of qualities here for Christians to cultivate:  diligence, faith, moral excellence, knowledge, self-control, perseverance/patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.  I had first noted that this list seems to be in order of ascending importance, but I’m not so sure of that now. On the other hand, Peter warns against lust, sensuality, … [Read more…]

Lessons and Notes from James

The Books of James & First and Second Peter: Faith, Suffering, and Knowledge by Mal Couch and Ed Hindson has a useful listing of the injunctions from James (“The commands of James are these:”); I’ve included a few additions in boldface and  brackets: James 1 Consider it all [that is, all trials] joy. Let endurance … [Read more…]

A Brief Note on the Song of Songs

The takeaway here is that the heterosexual love between a married couple is a divine gift and to be treasured.  It’s a straightforward book. Some other, random and unprofound, thoughts:  This book is also called the “Song of Solomon”; note the third-party reference to King Solomon in 3:9.  In addition to hot passages (see, e.g., … [Read more…]