Book Overviews · Philippians

Philippians Over for tomorrow

I know you know this already, but this is another letter written by Paul, from Prison.  Paul had visited Philippi during his second mission trip (if you printed the maps).  It was at Philippi, that Lydia and the Philippian jailer and his family were converted. A few years later, the church was well established.

Paul is writing this letter to acknowledge a gift of money from the church at Philippi, brought to the apostle by Epaphroditus, one of its members.   This is a loving letter to a group of Christians who were special to Paul. ❤️

The book is about:

  • Christ in our life,
  • Christ in our mind,
  • Christ as our goal,
  • Christ as our strength,
  • and joy through suffering.

It was written during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome, about thirty years after Christ’s ascension and about ten years after Paul first preached at Philippi.  Paul is a prisoner of Nero (remember him?)🤮 yet he talks about “joy”. .

GOSPEL GREATER THAN CIRCUMSTANCE - Lighthouse Christian Church

A sneak peek of some familiar scriptures:

“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

Book Overviews · Philemon

Philemon Overview (yup, 2 books tomorrow)

Philemon

This one little book in the Bible may be only 25 verses but it completely encompasses the change Christ can have on us.  Have you ever read it?  ( I am not even sure I know how to pronounce it)

This book is about 2 things:

  1. Love
  2. Forgiveness

So if you struggle with either/both of those,  dig in.

  • Paul is in prison and comes to meet a man by the name of Onesimus.
  • Onesimus is a runaway slave to Paul’s friend Philemon in Colosse (a leader in the Church).
  • So, Onesimus,  who before meeting Paul was considered useless has come to be a Christ Follower (Christian), thus his name Onesimus actually means “useful” in Greek.

Paul writes a letter from the Love in his heart to Philemon to accept and forgive Onesimus for running away and the crimes he has committed.   Paul not only asks for forgiveness but also for his protection.

Enjoy this wonderful personal letter that Paul writes from Prison.  By the way, if you ever had to defend “Slavery” in the Bible, it is important to arm yourself with what God intended slavery to be and how slaves were to be treated.  Slavery was a vehicle for a poor person to work so that they could get on their feet again.  This book is a wonderful reflection of how God wanted slaves to be treated.  So if you were faced with “Well God supported slavery…” here is another tool in your apologetic toolbox.

Book Overviews · Colossians

Colossians overview for tomorrow

Colossians: The Supremacy & Sufficiency of Jesus — Immanuel Church

Collossians: Setting the Stage

Paul established a church in Colossae on his third missionary journey.  Today this area is in Turkey.  There were two prominent men in Colossae, Philemon, and Epaphus,  who became Christians and were spreading the message while Paul was in Prison.   Paul wrote them this letter to be read in the Church.

The trouble in Colossae was other ideas and philosophies from other religions were being introduced and put on the same level as Christianity.  (pertinent to today or what!).

  1. Syncretism- This idea of “there are many ways to God” has been since the beginning of the Church.  I have heard people say, “You have your way, and I have mine…it’s personal.” No, it is Doctrinal.  Syncretism does not abandon the idea of 1 God, but it adds in other supernatural forces such as astrology and puts cult-like practices equal with Christianity.
  2. Mysticismreliant on visions, angelic sightings, or supernatural experiences to improve your relationship with God was affecting the Colossians. Paul will use the terms “worship of angels” and “what he has seen” to identify this activity. 
  3. Gnottiscims– Colossians also believed in a “higher” knowledge (Gnosticism) such as so-called scientific, archaeological, or paleontological “facts” that contradict Scripture.
  4. Legalism: observance of laws to win God’s love (legalism).
  5. Asceticism– abstaining from things to earn merit with God. Some examples are: fasting to force God’s hand, living in isolation to avoid temptation, and self-mutilation to mortify the flesh

The book of Colossians describes Christ as superior to all other teachers, faiths, and philosophies.

Book Overviews · Romans

Romans Overview for tomorrow

Young Adult Bible Study – Romans – New Life Assembly

We know very little about the founding of the church in Rome.  It is believed that a group of Jewish Christians did. It is possible that these Jews became believers in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:10), or at some other time quite early in the church’s history.  By the time Paul wrote Romans, the church in Rome was famous throughout the Roman Empire for its faith.

Twenty-one of the 27 New Testament books are letters, and they make up about 35 percent of the New Testament. Paul wrote 13 of these letters.   Paul’s letters make up about one-quarter of the New Testament. He wrote more of the New Testament than anyone except Luke.  (Luke and Acts is longer believe it or not). Romans is the longest of Paul’s letters with 7,114 words. It may have been placed first in the collection of Epistles in the New Testament because of its length or because of its importance.  (The letters seemed to appear in size order)

Paul quoted more often from the Old Testament in this epistle than in all the other epistles combined. Romans has 61 direct quotations. Paul draws from at least 14 different books of the Old Testament. Isaiah and Psalms are the most frequently quoted.

Who should read Romans?  Well, this is not a book I would read to an unbeliever.  The mere fact that they are “veiled” would make this book read like a Japanese Manuscript.  This is a book for believers that want to understand and appreciate their salvation.  It is also a book of DOCTRINE.  “What we believe”.


Paul is in Corinth on his third Mission trip there and he is taking the collection, not to his pocket, but to Jerusalem.  He writes this letter to the Romans before he ever gets there.  He intends to go there but is afraid he may never make it there.  So he feels compelled to write this letter so that the Churches in Rome would have a record on his account.  While he was in Corinth, a woman named Phoebe (not from Friends) was headed to Rome, so he took that opportunity to have her carry that letter.Story of cities #2: Rome wasn't planned in a day … in fact it wasn't planned at all | Cities | The Guardian

Rome was a HUGE city, the capital of the entire Roman empire.  There were however many churches there since there were  “visiting” Romans at the time of Pentecost that were able to go back to Rome and start churches after Peter’s Sermon (Acts 2).  Paul does make it to Rome about 3 years after the letter was written, under not so good circumstances.

The purpose of the letter to Rome was to convey that Faith in the death and Resurrection of Christ is the only ground of acceptance by God.  A God who shows no favoritism between Jew or Gentile.  We will read that we cannot do for ourselves what God has done for us.  Paul does have a sense of sadness and struggles with the fact that Gentiles freely accept and receive the Gospel yet many many Jews will reject it.

The impact this letter will have on the world is incredible.    This book has changed the course of History for the Churches today.  The Book of Romans has influenced such men like Augustine (Catholic Church), Martin Luther (Protestant Reformation), John Bunyan (not Paul the logger but the writer preacher of Pilgrim’s Progress), John Wesley (Methodist foundation), and many others.

What to expect to walk away with is: A person’s justification before the Lord SOLELY rests on the mercy and grace of Christ and NOT on the Law of Moses (10 commandments).  It is not a matter of Law at all, because no person can EVER live up to God’s standards but God himself.  Out of God’s LOVE for every single one of us, he forgives our sins.  There is nothing we can do, that could give us Salvation (and this is coming from a man, Paul, who has given GREATLY) but only from God can we receive Salvation.  WITH THAT SAID, since we have been given that gift in spite of ourselves, God deserves our wholehearted attention, love, service, loyalty, boldness, obedience, and devotion, not for him to love us, but BECAUSE HE LOVES US.

Words to look for:

  • Righteousness (66 times)
    • Law (78 times)
    • Faith (62 times)
2 Corinthians · Book Overviews

2 Corinthians Overview

Paul writes a second letter to Corinth.  His purpose is

  1. To encourage them. He will also encourage to forgive and restore a sinning brother (from the ist letter)
  2. To explain to them why he has not returned
  3. To enlist their help.  He needs to give to build the church in Jerusalem
  4. To establish his apostleship (many leaders were talking bad about Paul)

Paul had been in Corinth for 18 months. He stayed with Priscilla and Aquilla.  He then started the church in Corinth. He left and received the note from Cloe with many concerns.  He writes a letter (1 Corinthians).  He leaves Timothy there to be the leader.  Timothy writes a letter to Paul to update him.  Timothy basically says “The leaders are talking smack about you and undermining you”.  So Paul writes another letter (2 Corinthians)

There are 5 sections (besides the introduction and the conclusion)

  1. Corrections- things happening in the church and his own plan to come back unraveled
  2. Explanations-the message of the Gospel
  3. Exhortations- don’t listen to these guys!  Separate yourself from them.
  4. Solicitations- he is going to explain why he needs to take up an offering
  5. Vindications- he is going to defend his apostleship and his mission.

Dec 4: 2Cor 1-4
Dec 5: 2Cor 5-9
Dec 6: 2Cor 10-13

 

1 Corinthians · Book Overviews

Corinthians Overview for tomorrow

Jesus, Church, Gospels, Acts, Letters, Revelation | Bible mapping, Books of the bible, Paul's missionary journeys

I know we already talked about Corinth the other day when Paul went there.  But he was left and received a report or letter from them.  Here is a little recap.

So far our letters to the churches all regarded the “outside” factors that affect the church.  For example,  the persecution or the false teachings that were going on in the world.  This time we are reading about the “inside” of the church and the troubles they are having.  This book is as modern as the day it was written. (uhh they all are)

First, the city of Corinth was a rich town just outside Athens.

  • Consisting of about 300,000 free citizens with 450,000 slaves by the 2nd Century.
  • Theaters would hold about 14,000 people (often for pagan worship).
  • The city included 1000 high-end prostitutes.
  • The temple in town was a temple for Aphrodite, the love goddess!  Cleary sexual immorality is a huge part of the lifestyle.
  • The city was best know for the beauty and sexuality of the woman, they all attained to look like Greek Goddesses.

So while Paul was in Ephesus he received a report on Corinth:

  1. The church was in disunity.
  2. They were spiritual immature
  3. Sexual immorality (inside the church)
  4. “Freedom on Christ” was taken out of context.

Paul also needed to answer their questions about marriage, divorce, celibacy, food, idolatry, worship, and spiritual gifts.

So Paul is going to write back and address the Churches of Corinth

We will be in both 1 and 2  Corinthians for eight days (It’s going to be good!).   Here is the schedule:

Nov 29: 1Cor 1-4
Nov 30: 1Cor 5-8
Dec 1: 1Cor 9-11
Dec 2: 1Cor 12-14
Dec 3: 1Cor 15-16
Dec 4: 2Cor 1-4
Dec 5: 2Cor 5-9
Dec 6: 2Cor 10-13

1 & 2 Thessalonians · Book Overviews

1 & 2 Thessalonians Overview

Happy Thanksgiving 🦃

Paul's Second Missionary Journey - New Testament Maps (Bible History Online)

We are reading 2 books tomorrow!  We read briefly about Paul visiting Thessalonica on his second mission trip. (look at the map; when he stayed at Jason’s house).  He left after 3 short weeks and intended on going back but did not.  Paul feels terrible that he left so quickly and did not return.

Quick History: The city was founded in 316 BC.  The king of Macedonia named it after his wife, Thessaloniki, the half-sister to Alexander the Great.  The city became a hub for government and commerce.  After the captivity, many of the Jews dispersed and relocated in the Macedonia area. The city was the 2nd largest, the first being Athens.  About 200,000 lived there.

This is a time of great persecution to the believers. The Roman Emporer Cladius in power but soon his son Nero will be 😢.  Paul was very aware of the growing practice of persecution since he was ONE OF THEM once!  He now stood on the other side of the Cross.

This letter was to encourage the believers of Thessalonica AND to assure them of Christ’s return (eschatology).  Actually, Christ’s return will be mentioned over 20 times in these books.  Paul gives us a way of living that will prepare us for the Second coming of Christ.  As persecution grows,  they need to hold on to Hope that a final judgment will occur for those persecuting them.

12. 1 and 2 Thessalonians | Jehovah Sabaoth

 

Book Overviews · Galatians

Galatians Overview for tomorrow

I hope some of these towns are familiar to you from last week as Paul went through them in the First Mission Trip.  When he left the Judaizers came through adding to his message.  Is this a big deal?

In the temple, a veil separated the Holy of Holies—the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence—from the rest of the temple where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin. Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year to enter into God’s presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins.

In the Gospel, when Jesus gave up His Spirit, the first thing the Lord did for us was tearing the veil that separated people from the Lord.  The tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus’ death symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins.

If we add works, we are saying His sacrifice was NOT enough.  So the answer is YES, it is a big deal.  Adding works TO BE a Christian is like sewing up the veil.


The churches in Galatia were both Jewish and Gentile converts. Paul’s purpose in writing to these churches was to confirm them in their faith alone, apart from the works of the Law of Moses.

Galatians Epistle was written because the churches of that region were facing a theological crisis. A message that by faith rather than by human works was being denied by the Judaizers. Specifically,  the Judaizers insisted on circumcision as a requirement for Gentiles who wished to be saved. In other words, convert to Judaism first, and then you are eligible to become a Christian. When Paul learned that this was being taught to the Galatian churches, he wrote a letter (epistle) to them.

Wait till you hear the tone Paul takes in this letter.  This is a serious topic- and his tone will be too!

 

Book Overviews · James

James Overview for tomorrow

First, let’s figure out which James this is.  Since we started the New Testament we have actually read about 4 of them.

  • James the father of Judas (Luke 6:16)
  • James the son of Alphaeus (Mt 10:3)
  • James, the son of Zebedee (Acts 12) the one that just died, Jesus  Apostle
  • James, the brother of Jesus (half-brother)

The author of this book is not the apostle James but the brother of Jesus.  James was not a believer until the Resurrection.  He was assumed married and a very devout Jew and coined the nickname “Camel Knees” since the man had calloused bruised knees like a camel from praying for such long periods of time.Was the Epistle to the Hebrews written by Paul? - Divisions Structure Bible Menorah

The book of James is called a “General Letter”.  The General Letters are not directed at a particular location like some other books we will read.  James was written generally to Jewish Christians or some call them Christian Jews.     A Jewish person has been brought up with the Laws of Moses but now worships the Lord.  It is about Spiritual Maturity.

If you like the Proverbs you will Love James!  It is practical advice regarding being rich and poor, pride, humility, wisdom, patience, prayer, controlling the tongue (ouch), and most importantly, faith and actions.

 

Acts · Book Overviews

Acts Overview

Acts Series — Sermons — Parkview Christian Church

The New Testament is divided just like the Old Testament was.  The NT consists of:

  • The Gospels
  • Acts
  • Letters
  • Prophecy

Why is it called Acts?  Well, some have said it is the Acts of the Apostles, others have said it is the Acts of Peter and Paul, well both are wrong.  It is the Acts of the Holy Spirit.  The Apostles have had 3 years of one-on-one Discipleship with Jesus himself, and He still says to them “Stay right where you are until you get the Holy Spirit”.  Without Him, in us, we truly are without purpose.

Acts is the book of Purpose with the Holy Spirit.  Forwarding the Gospel to the ends of the earth is not a “calling” it is the purpose of the Church.  Stop thinking of the Church as the building which we sit in, or that the Church is for believers.  The Church is the Body of Believers for the Non-Believers.   So stop pointing the finger and start looking in the mirror.

The book of Acts was most likely an extension of the book of Luke.  Acts is written by Luke giving him the most written Word in the NT (not Paul).  This book is the LINK between  The Gospel and the Letters.  In other words, Christ’s life and the Church.

Acts will be divided into two distinct categories.

  • The first 12 chapters will be Peter (yes the man who denied Jesus  3 times) witnessing to the Jewish nation.  Why?  They need to CHANGE their way of thinking of the Messiah.  THEREFORE, you will hear Peter say REPENT (change direction) directly to the Jews.
  • Chapters 13-28 will be Paul preaching to the Gentiles with a word of “Believe”.  Why not Repent?  We didn’t need a change in direction, we need THE direction.  We needed to BELIEVE to begin with.  We were not taught the Scriptures till now.

This book has the most archeological proof and confirmed findings.  However, I will not blog about any of that.  I hold to Hebrew 11:1

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Heb 11:1