Jesus closes His Sermon and Heals Many – Matt 7-8

Verse 1 of chapter 7 is one of the few verses that many people who know little else about the Bible are familiar with; and it is wrongly used both as self-justification and to rebuke criticism of wrong-doing. The verse denounces compassion-less condemnation and hypocritical judgment of others – not any judgment at all. In fact, verse 6 requires judgment on our part, and if we could not judge at all, how could we ever determine what was right or wrong? The problem also comes into play when people want to put us on the spot, asking if we believe one person or even a group of people will go to heaven. Thank the Lord that such judgment is not our responsibility! It sometimes takes tremendous courage to speak up to someone who is doing wrong. You run the risk of hurting their feelings or more likely, making them angry – and even alienating yourself from people you care about. But if you believe that someone is living in a way in which they risk losing their soul and you say nothing, is that not terribly wrong of you?

In chapter 8, Jesus heals many, calms a storm, and cast out demons. The event with the Centurion is certainly remarkable. Here was a Roman officer, whose servant was sick came to Jesus with the hope of having that servant healed. But he demonstrated his faith by his belief that Jesus could do so without even physically going where his servant was at the time. Jesus said he had not found such faith in anyone in Israel.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 6, Matt 7, Matt 8, Matt 9, Matt 10

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Jesus Continues Preaching – Matt 6

Most people know verses 9-13 of chapter six as the “Lord’s prayer.”  But that designation is ours and is unfortunate in some ways, as there is a tendency to use it in the very way that Jesus warned against in the previous verses!  It is an example and a model for our own prayers from our hearts – it was meant to teach us how to pray – with reverence and honor to the Lord, before presenting our petitions.

The references to fasting in verses 16-18 are not a command for us to fast, though there is nothing wrong with doing so. The only time that the Old Testament Law required fasting was for the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29-31), but many other days had been added by the people themselves, especially after the events of the destruction of Jerusalem and Babylonian captivity. And by now, the Pharisees had made it a weekly activity. The problem came in the fact that people were purposely making themselves look more haggard than they were, so as to draw attention to themselves for their piety.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 6, Matt 7, Matt 8, Matt 9, Matt 10

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Jesus Begins His Ministry – Matt 4-5

In Matthew 4, Jesus is led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  God never tempts anyone to do wrong (James 1:13), but He has sometimes used situations to test someone’s faithfulness and character (see  Hebrews 11:17).  This testing had a purpose from the devil’s perspective (to derail God’s plan for the redemption of man, by preventing Jesus from being without sin).  The purpose from the perspective of God’s plan was that by having suffered from temptation himself (Hebrews 2:18), he understands how temptation affects us, and He is strengthened as our savior.  It also reinforces for us the value of knowing God’s word.

Beatitudes-sermon-on-mount

Beatitudes-sermon-on-mount (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Matthew 5 begins what we know as the Sermon on the Mount, and verses 3-12 contain what we refer to as the Beatitudes.  The translation of the word “blessed” in these verses is confusing to some, as it varies from “happy” to “fortunate.”  “Fortunate” is closer to the real meaning here (someone who is “mourning,” for example, could hardly be described as “happy”), and it relates more to a state of being in a relationship with God that results from His approval.  None of the qualities in these statements refer to a condition that people are born with, inherit, or come by naturally.  Nor are they intended as prescriptions for behavior, some of which the unconverted world at large can simply adopt for the good of mankind.

These are traits of character and attitude that reflect the qualities that Christians must have.  But they are not, as some have suggested, lofty goals – all of which no one person could possibly achieve.  In each one, Jesus says “Blessed are.. ,” indicating that there are people who have these qualities, and that we can ourselves be the people that he describes – that we as Christians, in fact, must be those people.  Yet, we must understand that while having these qualities is what defines us as His people, our place in His kingdom is not something we earn by doing so.  It is, in fact, our full understanding of that fact which enables us to have those qualities in the first place.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 1, Matt 2, Matt 3, Matt 4, Matt 5

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Jesus in Nazareth and John the Baptist in the Wilderness – Matt 2-3

Chapter two relates the account of the wise men, who brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. We do not know how many of these men came to see Jesus. There were three gifts, so many have assumed there were three men. An angel came to Joseph and warned him of danger from Herod the Great (Herod I), and told him to take his family to Egypt. Herod had all the male children in Bethlehem under the age of two killed. At the end of the chapter, the Lord sent him back, but Joseph settled his family in Nazareth.

English: Herod the Great Suomi: Herodes Suuri

English: Herod the Great Suomi: Herodes Suuri (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chapter 3 begins with John the Baptist preaching in the Judean wilderness, telling everyone to “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” – which Jesus Himself will proclaim as well. John’s manner of dress in verse 4 is distinctly similar to that described of Elijah in 2 Kings 1:8, and that appearance, as well as the diet described, were common to the desert people, who would also be the poorer people of the land. This new and increasingly well-known prophet was attracting much attention from the people, and the religious community (see John 1:19-38). In verse 7, both Pharisees and Sadducees were coming out to watch his baptisms.

The word “Pharisee” means “separated one,” and they were the more popular of the Jewish sects of the times. Many seemed very self-righteous, and imposed strict adherence to teachings and “rules” that were not commanded by God’s word. The term “Sadducees” came from the sons of Zadok, who was the high priest during the days of David and Solomon (1 Kings 1:32-34). They were known as aristocrats and political opportunists; and they had much political power.

Baptism had been required of Gentiles converting to Judaism, but now John was preaching and performing baptism (immersing people in the river Jordan) for repentance – a term not only for remorse and confession, but also for “turning” one’s thinking, way of living, and even one’s mind around to different way.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 1, Matt 2, Matt 3, Matt 4, Matt 5

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Genealogy and Birth of Jesus – Matt 1

The first 17 verses of chapter one Matthew’s gospel are devoted to the genealogy of Jesus. Matthew’s gospel was written primarily to a Jewish audience. Therefore, the lineage of the husband of Mary (although not biologically Jesus’ father) would be important to Jews in fulfilling prophecy because it would be the “father’s” lineage that would be most important to them. But in this previous post, as well as my book, “An Orderly Account: A Tour of Luke’s Gospel,” I explained how Luke chapter 3 seems to clearly give us an account of Mary’s lineage also from David’s house.

But this genealogy in Matthew was so important that it consumed all but eight verses in the chapter. Those eight verses are devoted to the birth of our Lord and Savior.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Matt 1, Matt 2, Matt 3, Matt 4, Matt 5

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

The Book of Jude

 

Surprisingly enough, there is little disagreement concerning the authorship of the Epistle of Jude; and it was accepted as canonical in the early days of the church. This also indicates its apostolic acceptance. As indicated in the first verse, it was written by Jude, a brother of James and of the Lord Jesus (although he rightly calls himself a servant of Jesus Christ). The date of this writing is largely held to be from 64-67 A.D., partly because of some perceived similarities with 2 Peter.

English: Colophon at the Epistle of Jude in th...

English: Colophon at the Epistle of Jude in the Codex Alexandrinus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The book consists of one chapter and only 25 verses. The recipient of the letter cannot be determined from the content of the text, but is assumed to be written to a congregation that included both Jew and Gentile members. The purpose of the letter is to express grave concern and even put forth a rebuke because of apostasy resulting from false teaching that has crept into the church. Verse 4 says “certain people have crept in unnoticed…ungodly people, who pervert the grace of God into sensuality and deny our only master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

So, the problems that Jude addressed in this letter were no small matter at all, and we get the sense that some have allowed things to get so bad because they were too timid to stand for the truth. Verse 3 says that Jude “found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” In verses 22-23, Jude urges them to “have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.” Those who know the truth need to step up and provide the needed leadership to get them back on track.

There is much counsel contained in this short epistle, and some “bonuses” thrown in by Jude, such as verse 14’s clear confirmation that Enoch was the seventh generation from Adam (Genesis 5:18). One other interesting note is in verse 5, where Jude confirms Jesus as having been with God from the beginning, as John wrote in John 1:3.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Titus 1, Titus 2, Titus 3, Philemon, Jude

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Paul’s Letter to Philemon

Paul’s letter to Philemon was a personal one, but it was also one that he intended to be read to the entire church, as they met in his home (verse 2). Philemon was a wealthy Christian in Colossae, and Paul probably befriended him during his three years in Ephesus, which was about 161 kilometers away. One of his bondservants, Onesimus, had run away, possibly even stealing some money from him (verses 18-19).

Philemon (New Testament person)

Philemon (New Testament person) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a fortuitous coincidence, or more probably God’s providence, Onesimus had ended up in Rome while he was hiding, and had come into contact with Paul while he was in prison there. Presumably, it was during his first imprisonment there, and the letter was probably written about 62 A.D. – about the time that he wrote to Ephesus. After meeting Paul, Onesimus had become a Christian. Now Paul was sending him back to Philemon with the request that he receive his bondservant as he would receive Paul, and that he now should consider him a beloved brother.

Paul would have liked for Onesimus to stay and continue to help him while he was in prison, but he needed things to be made right between the two of them. Paul’s confidence that Philemon would respect his wishes and go beyond even what Paul was asking of him comes though loud and clear in this letter. Secular tradition has it that this same Onesimus became an important leader in the church. Whether that is true, we do not know for sure. But it seems that it was God’s will for Philemon’s forgiveness, the growth of brotherly love, and the service of Onesimus to make a difference in their lives, and in the lives of those in the church there. It was a great lesson in the providence and power of God in the lives of all those Christians.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Titus 1, Titus 2, Titus 3, Philemon, Jude

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Paul’s Letter to Titus – Titus 1-3

It seems clear that Paul wrote this letter to Titus sometime between the first and second letters to Timothy — before his final imprisonment. In the first chapter, we find that Paul has been to Crete, where he left Titus to help appoint some elders in the towns where they had established churches. this chapter again lists the qualification elders should have, which (not surprisingly) pretty much mirror those listed in 1 Timothy. The reason for the urgency in establishing elders all around is that Paul is aware that there are false teachers there, and he warns Titus to be prepared.

Sometimes known as Candia, Bible-time Crete is a large island in the Mediterranean Sea, about 150 miles long and 50 miles wide. The ship carrying Paul to Rome passed along the southern coast of Crete, where it encountered a storm (Acts 27: 7-11). People of Crete were among those at Pentecost (Acts 2: 11). Between Paul's first and second imprisonments, he and Titus visited Crete (Titus 1: 5). Tradition says that Titus was bishop of Crete and that he died there in his old age. In one ancient writing, Titus is called Bishop of Gortyna. Paul's letter to Titus talks about the conditions on Crete. A village near Ionion.

Sometimes known as Candia, Bible-time Crete is a large island in the Mediterranean Sea, about 150 miles long and 50 miles wide. The ship carrying Paul to Rome passed along the southern coast of Crete, where it encountered a storm (Acts 27: 7-11). People of Crete were among those at Pentecost (Acts 2: 11). Between Paul’s first and second imprisonments, he and Titus visited Crete (Titus 1: 5). Tradition says that Titus was bishop of Crete and that he died there in his old age. In one ancient writing, Titus is called Bishop of Gortyna. Paul’s letter to Titus talks about the conditions on Crete. A village near Ionion.

In the second chapter, he also advises the young preacher on preaching sound doctrine, conducting himself as a good example, and encouraging the young men to do so as well. He speaks of the importance of the influence of the older women, and even admonishes bondservants about “showing good faith so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.

In chapter 3, Paul tells Titus to remind everyone to submit to the authorities and be obedient. He also stresses that they should not be quarrelsome, particularly where the law is concerned. It would seem here that he is speaking of the law of Moses, as he mentions it in the context of arguing about genealogies. He finishes the letter telling Titus to come to him in Nicopolis (Greece), where he has decided to spend the winter.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

Titus 1, Titus 2, Titus 3, Philemon, Jude

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

All Scripture Is Breathed Out By God- 2 Tim 3-4

Chapter 3 of 2 Timothy contains two well-known verses that are very important (verses 16-17): “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,  that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This, of course, was written by Paul at a time when there was not much around in the way of New Testament scripture. But that does not mean it is excluded. Many people wonder why we need the Old Testament at all, since we are not under the Law of Moses any longer. Those who ask that question can find the answer by studying it in earnest. It does not take long to find that it truly is “profitable.”

Paul begins chapter 4 by encouraging Timothy in his preaching and his example to others. The remainder of the chapter contains his greetings for others, as well as the clear message that Paul knows he is not going to be around much longer. He asks his young friend to come see him.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

1 Tim 6, 2 Tim 1, 2 Tim 2, 2 Tim 3, 2 Tim 4

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.

 

 

 

 

Paul Back in Chains – 2 Tim 1-2

In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, it is apparent that Paul is free, which leads many to believe that he was writing while on a fourth missionary journey, having been released from the Roman prison that we find him in during the latter part of the Book of Acts. In the first chapter of his second letter,  it is clear that he is once again in prison. It seems obvious that this is a second imprisonment in Rome, and that he would be executed there. He speaks of those in Asia who had “turned away” from him, as well as one who had been kind and cared for him while in his chains.

Paul_in_chains-01In chapter 2, Paul tells Timothy to “share in suffering as a good soldier.” He then says that “no soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” He continues this thought later in the chapter in verses 23-25:

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.

While we should not fear speaking against evil, we will certainly have to endure it at times. Doing so “patiently” may not be so easy. Where do we draw the line at speaking out against evil, while not being too quarrelsome? Perhaps not an easy question to answer.

/Bob’s boy

Bible Reading Schedule for this month
Click links below to read or listen to audio of one of this week’s chapters in Colossians and Luke

1 Tim 6, 2 Tim 1, 2 Tim 2, 2 Tim 3, 2 Tim 4

___________________

some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please visit this site’s menu item “The Author’s Books” for info on the author’s books, website, and Facebook page.

All of my comments in this blog are solely my responsibility. When reading any commentary, you should always refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word.