Grafted – Romans 11-12

Paul follows up in chapter 11 with an assurance to the Jews that just because the Gentiles are welcomed into the kingdom, that does not mean that God has rejected them. He said that the Jews failed to obtain what they were seeking, but that trespass has meant salvation for the Gentiles.

He compares the inclusion of the Gentiles to a branch being grafted to the tree. The foreign body now becomes a part of the whole; and all of the branches share in the nourishment of the root. But he tells them that they should not be arrogant toward the other branches because it is not they who support the root, but rather the root supports them. He says in verse 25 that “a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And in this way all Israel will be saved…” He then quotes Isaiah 59:20:

The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob;  and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.

In chapter 12, he tells them all to present their bodies as “a living sacrifice” — to be transformed from the world by the renewing of their minds. he also lists some of the qualities that they, as Christians, need to exhibit. Among the many he speaks of are these:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

/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

Romans 10, Romans 11, Romans 12, Romans 13, Romans 14

___________________

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.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

No Distinction – Romans 10

Paul continues his letter to the Romans in chapter 10 still addressing the fact that the church there is struggling with its mixture of Jews and Gentiles. It is a laborious task that he undertakes because the Jews especially have had a vested interest in being the children of the promise for thousands of years. Now Paul tells them that the children of Abraham’s flesh are not the only children of the promise.

English: Romans 10 (1) of The Holy Bible, King...

English: Romans 10 (1) of The Holy Bible, King James version, 1772. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He says in verses 12-13, he says that all who “call upon the name” of the Lord will be saved. He says that there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. And then he quotes a couple of scriptures to show the Jews that none of this should be a surprise.

From Deuteronomy 32:21: I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation; with a foolish nation I will make you angry.

And from Isaiah 65:1: I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.

/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

Romans 10, Romans 11, Romans 12, Romans 13, Romans 14

___________________

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.

 

 

 

 

Children of the Promise – Romans 9

In Romans 10, Paul tells them that not all who are children of Abraham actually descended from Abraham, as did the Jews. In verse 8, he says that it is not children of the flesh (Abrahams’s flesh) that are children of God, but rather children of the promise that are counted as offspring.  And in verse 25, he reminds them of Hosea’s words:

Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’
And in the very place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called m‘sons of the living God.’

English: Romans 10 (1) of The Holy Bible, King...

English: Romans 10 (1) of The Holy Bible, King James version, 1772. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So how does Paul say that Gentiles, who previously did not seek righteousness now attained it? And why Israel “who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law?” His answer in verses 32-33 is that it is:

Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

/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

Romans 5, Romans 6, Romans 7, Romans 8, Romans 9

___________________

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 Law, the Spirit, and the Flesh – Romans 7-8

In Romans 7, Paul makes an analogy of sin and the law by using marriage. He points out that as long as a man is alive, his wife is bound to him by law. But once he is dead, she is free to marry again. The analogy is more for the understanding of the Jews at Rome that he was addressing, but it had relevance for the Gentiles as well.Paul tells them that they likewise had died to the Law of Moses and now they were bound to another, through Jesus Christ. We are free from the death of sin.

The Romans of the Decadence

The Romans of the Decadence (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In chapter 8, he tells them that they are now in the Spirit, and not in the flesh. Those who set their mind on the Spirit live accordingly. But those who set their mind on the flesh are hostile to God. What he means by someone like this is that those are the people who are slaves to sin, and to whom fleshly, worldly pleasures are the most important things in their lives. Such people are hostile to God because serving Him would mean denying themselves. Paul says not only will those people not submit themselves to God, they simply cannot do so. Those who are in the flesh in this way cannot please God — not until they change their hearts.

/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

Romans 5, Romans 6, Romans 7, Romans 8, Romans 9

___________________

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.

 

 

 

 

Changing the Hearts of Two Apostles – Acts 9-10

A lot happens in Acts chapter 9, but clearly the most important thing is that the man (Saul of Tarsus) who had ravaged the church and approved of the deaths of Christians (including that of Stephen) is converted. In fact, he is found  preaching in the synagogue and declaring that Jesus is the Son of God. This naturally amazed and bewildered a great many people. Such a turnaround in such a short time made a lot of people skeptical. It is the most significant conversion of the New Testament because Paul, as he came to be called, ended up writing the epistles that became most of what we call the New Testament.

English: Peter's vision of a sheet with animal...

English: Peter’s vision of a sheet with animals, from Acts 10; illustration from Henry Davenport Northrop, “Treasures of the Bible,” published 1894 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In chapter 10, Peter has a vision that changes his life once again. The vision shows him that no animal is unclean, and Mosaic Law had demanded and that Gentiles, by extension, required a revision of his views. After he arrived at his house, Peter had told Cornelius of how the Spirit had pointed him toward their meeting. So then Cornelius told him of his vision, and that all present were commanded to hear what Peter has to say.  So then, Peter preached to them about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

There will be much more discussion about Gentiles in the kingdom of the Lord before the “Jerusalem Conference” of chapter 15, but Peter’s mind on the subject is made up already, it appears. In verses 34-35, he says “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” And he finishes preaching with these words “all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

 /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

Acts 8, Acts 9, Acts 10, Acts 11, Acts 12

___________________

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 “Jerusalem Council” Begins – Acts 15

Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem's depiction of Paul...

Nicolaes Pietersz. Berchem’s depiction of Paul and Barnabas at Lystra, an incident which has often been compared to the Qur’anic narrative of the “Companions of the City” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After Peter had his revelation by vision, and then witnessed the Holy Spirit coming upon the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house (Acts 10), The “Gentile question” would have already been settled. But it wasn’t so easy. Members of the “Circumcision Party,” and other conservative Jews came to Antioch in Syria (where Paul and Barnabas were) teaching the necessity of adhering to the whole Mosaic Law. In Acts 6:7, Luke writes about a number of priests that had been converted. Many of these would be Pharisees as in verse 5. There were people being taught that all had to be circumcised and to keep the law of Moses, causing Christianity to be looked upon as a sect of Judaism (and to some, a sect that had gone very wrong). The time had come to deal with this issue once and for all.

Paul had been given his revelation on the matter, and the Lord had told Ananias in Acts 9:15 that “he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles…” He and Barnabas and others were appointed to go to Jerusalem to speak to the apostles and elders about the matter. In verse 3, we have them passing through Phoenicia and Samaria, bringing great joy as they describe the conversion of the Gentiles.

Peter spoke to the council in verses 7-11, reminding them of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then Paul and Barnabas related the signs and wonders God had done through them on their journey. James, the Lord’s brother, then affirms by quoting Amos 9:11-12 in verses 16-18.

After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
and I will restore it,
that the remnant of mankind may seek the Lord,
and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
says the Lord, who makes these things known from of old.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

Read or listen to audio of this week’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of this weeks selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________

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.

 

 

 

Ephesians 3 – The Mystery of the Gospel Revealed

Ephesus, in modern Turkey, is the best-preserved classical city on the Mediterranean, and one of the best places in the world to get the feeling for what life was like for early Christians in Roman times. Roman theater.

Ephesus, in modern Turkey, is the best-preserved classical city on the Mediterranean, and one of the best places in the world to get the feeling for what life was like for early Christians in Roman times. Roman theater.

Verse 1 of this chapter is key to the message Paul is conveying here.  He is a prisoner for Jesus Christ, on behalf of the Gentiles.  The “mystery” that he received revelation about was (as  verse 6 says) “that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” This plan was not known to previous generations (verse 5), but now has been revealed to His apostles and prophets.  He declares this as his ministry in verse 7 – “of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me…”  And he makes it known in verses 10-11 that this was always God’s plan, according to His wisdom – “this was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord…”

The chapter ends with Paul’s prayer for spiritual strength in verses 14-21, that he began in the previous chapter.  This is one of the most beautiful and poignant prayers in the Bible.  Read it again and again, and take comfort in wisdom and truth of it, as well as the promise it brings to the hearts of Christians:

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being
so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love
may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Acts 21 – Paul Goes to Jerusalem

We left the book of Acts after chapter 20, as Paul was in Miletus, with his tearful goodbye to the Ephesian elders.  While in that area, Paul wrote the letters to the Corinthians and to the Romans.  Now, as he said in his letter to the latter, he is leaving for Jerusalem.  They sailed past Cos, Rhodes, Patera, Cyprus and landed at Tyre, where they remained for seven days, then on to Ptolemais and finally Caesarea  before setting off on foot to Jerusalem.  While in Caesarea, they stayed at the house of Philip, who Luke says was “one of the seven.”  Most likely he means that he was one of the seven chosen to serve in Acts 6:1-6, and was the same Philip who converted the Ethiopian eunuch.   And after that event, he did end up in Caesarea (Acts 8:40).

Agabus (the prophet who predicted the famine in Acts 11:2-28) came from Judea to tell how the Jews at Jerusalem will bind and deliver Paul into the hands of the Gentiles (verses 10-14).  Luke and the others present tried to persuade Paul not to go, but he told them that he was not only ready for prison, but even to die for the Lord Jesus.  Notice though, that the words from the prophet were not quoted in these verses as a warning to prevent him from going – but as a statement of fact (verse 11); and Luke and the others finally said “Let the will of the Lord be done.”

Mamertine Prison, Rome, Italy. Carcere Mamertino according to tradition was the jail where St Peter and St Paul was imprisoned. It consists of two levels and was the most horrible part of the ancient state prison located in the caves under the Capitoline Hill. Numerous illustrious enemies of Rome died here. The higher part of the prison was built in the 2nd century BC and was named Mamertino.

After arriving in Jerusalem, Paul went to see James and told him and the elders about his travels and the many Gentile conversions, for which they glorified God.  They then asked Paul to demonstrate that he was not preaching that Jews had to become like Gentiles and give up all of their customs in order to be a Christian, as many were falsely reporting.  So Paul participated with four men under a vow in a purification ritual.  This event is the subject of much confusion and controversy.  But it does not have to be.  Paul never preached that Jews had to give up their entire way of life or never participate in any ritual or feast (remember Romans 14 and 15), nor that they should not circumcise their young.  Remember that he circumcised Timothy to avoid offending the Jews they were going to visit in Acts 16:3.

But still Paul was arrested, having been dragged from the temple first and beaten by a mob that had gone wild with accusations and fervor.   Until Paul spoke Greek to him, the tribune that arrested him was under the impression that he was an Egyptian revolutionary (verse 38).  The event he mentions in that verse was written about by the historian, Josephus.  At Paul’s urging, the tribune allows him to speak to the mob; and he does so in Hebrew, as the chapter closes.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Romans 15 – Christ the Hope of Jews and Gentiles

Circus Maximus: Rome’s entertainment center.
The Circus Maximus is an ancient arena and mass entertainment center located in Rome, Italy. It was first built about 600 BC. Situated in the valley between the Palatine and Aventine Hills, it met the demands of the Roman people for mass public entertainment on a lavish scale, primarily chariot races, but also wild beast fights and naval battles. Julius Caesar expanded the Circus around 50 BC, after which the track measured approximately 1800 feet in length, and 750 feet in breadth and could accommodate an estimated 150,000 to 350,000 seated spectators.

In the previous chapter, Paul had been addressing the division and dispute among the Jew and Gentile members of the church at Rome concerning 1) the problem related most probably to the Gentiles eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols, which would have been offensive to the Jews (an issue he had to speak to elsewhere as well) and 2) the “esteeming” of one day over another (probably the Gentiles’ objection to the Jews who still observed the feast days from the old Law).  Having already spoken to this, he admonishes them further, as he did the brethren at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 10, that they must think about their brethren and their souls as well as their consciences and help each other bear their own weaknesses.

As for the Old Testament Law, he says in verse 4 that “…whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”  This was to say that we have much that is profitable to learn from the old Law.  But while all should be  sensitive to the consciences of others, this does not give those others license for imposing those matters on their brethren, but rather they should all live in harmony, and “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you.”   He finishes this section of the chapter in verses 8-13 by reminding them that “Christ became a servant”  for the sake of Jews and Gentiles alike, according to God’s plan.

When Paul wrote his letter to the church in Rome, he had not yet been there, but he had taken the gospel from Jerusalem clear over into Illyricum. He planned to visit and preach in Rome one day and hoped to continue to take the gospel farther west, even to Spain.

Paul then speaks of his ministry to the Gentiles for the gospel of Jesus, and it becomes clear how passionate he was about that important mission.  He speaks of the collection for the poor of the church in Jerusalem – which he is preparing to deliver now; and he is proud of the Gentiles stepping up as they have done to help their Jewish brethren.  It is important to Paul, and it is important to the Gentiles themselves, as well as to their unity with Jewish brethren everywhere, as many will see it as symbolic of the entrance of the Gentiles into the kingdom (verse 17-18).   Of that mission, Paul says in verse 19 that he had traveled preaching the gospel from Jerusalem to the Roman province of Illyricum (later called Dalmatia).   He said he had done all of that as it was written in Isaiah 52:15, which he quotes in verse 21: “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”

Paul finishes this chapter in verses 22-33 by telling the brethren in Rome that he plans to finally come to visit them on his way to Spain after he goes to Jerusalem.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Romans 3 – God’s Righteousness Upheld

Appian Way – most famous of the Roman roads, built (312 B.C.) under Appius Claudius Caecus. It connected Rome with Capua and was later extended to Beneventum (now Benevento), Tarentum (Taranto), and Brundisium (Brindisi). It was the chief highway to Greece and the East. Its total length was more than 350 mi (563 km). The substantial construction of cemented stone blocks has preserved it to the present.

After telling the brethren of the Roman church in chapter 2 that the Gentiles are now true Jews by way of the Spirit, Paul then addresses the question that would naturally come from the Jews.  Was there no advantage or value of being a Jew, or of being circumcised?  Paul says that indeed there was.  The Jews had been the keepers of the “oracles of God” (verse 2) – the Scriptures; and in that capacity at least, they had remained faithful.  God’s word, as He would make certain, had been preserved; and just as importantly, God had remained faithful to His promises to them, despite the unfaithfulness they had shown to Him.

In verses 10-18, Paul says that “it is written…” and follows that with quotations from several passages.  Verses 10-12 are from Psalm 14:1-3 and Ecclesiastes 7:20.  Verses 13-14 are from Psalm 5:9 and Psalm 10:7.  Verses 15-17 are from Isaiah 59:7-8, and verse 18 is from Psalm 36:1.   He is making it clear that the Jews among them are no better off than the Gentiles (verse 9) because all are “under sin.”  The phrase “…no one does good, not even one…” in verse 12 can be understood by the first part of the verse “All have turned aside.”  Nobody is without sin.  And verse 18 finishes with the reason for it all – “there is no fear of God before their eyes.”  That brings to the mind of this blogger the words of the wisest man (Solomon) in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14:

“The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

Paul illustrates again the old with the new, and provides a good summary of God’s plan for salvation – the Law and the Prophets bear witness to  “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe” (verses 21-22) – “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (verse 23).  The word “propitiation” in verse 25 means that the sacrifice Jesus made was an offering to appease God’s wrath and turn it to favor.  This was necessary for the forgiveness of sins, and it is what now gives favor to Jews and Gentiles alike, making no distinction between them.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.