Be Not Deceived – 2 Thess 1-2

Paul opens the second letter to the Thessalonians with a greeting from Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy as well, expressing their great pride for the brethren there because of their faith and strength, despite all of the persecution that they have suffered. He further praises and encourages them, telling them that God’s righteous judgment will see to it that they are rewarded, just as those who have afflicted them will be punished.

In chapter two, he warns them not to be deceived by those who would tell them that the the day of the Lord has already come (suggesting they had been forgotten). We do not know what sort of false teaching and other deception they had already been subjected to, but this suggests that Paul knows more is to come.

/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 Thess 4, 1 Thess 5, 2 Thess 1, 2 Thess 2, 2 Thess 3

___________________

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.

 

 

 

 

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The Day of the Lord – 1 Thess 4-5

Theatre of the Macedonian Studies Foundation

Theatre of the Macedonian Studies Foundation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul begins chapter four, encouraging them to keep themselves holy, and to abstain from the sexual immorality with which he knew they were surrounded. In the midst of their persecution, he encouraged them to keep busy working with their hands and “to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs.” This admonishment was no doubt to keep them from drawing further persecution to themselves. The next few verses suggest that the Thessalonians were distressed about those who of their number who had died (possibly because of false teaching about the dead). He reassured them that those who were “asleep” had not perished, but would rise first when the Lord returns.

He closes this first letter by telling them that although they will have no sign of the Lord’s coming (He will come like a thief in the night), that they will not be in darkness because they are children of the light. They are to keep themselves holy and be vigilant, sober, loving, and faithful. He tells them to encourage those who work, to admonish the idle, and to do good to everyone.

/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 Thess 4, 1 Thess 5, 2 Thess 1, 2 Thess 2, 2 Thess 3

___________________

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 Encourages the Thessalonians – 1 Thess 2-3

In chapter 2, Paul expresses his love for the brethren at Thessalonica and tells them that they have been wanting to go there to them, but that Satan has hindered them. He reminds them how they had been careful not to be a burden to them while they had been there before. He also thanks them for their zeal, and how they had accepted the gospel as it was given to them – not as by men, but coming from God.

 

Exterior view of Aghia Sophia in Thessaloniki.

Exterior view of Aghia Sophia in Thessaloniki. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He continues in chapter three, telling them that the reason he had sent Timothy to them had been for fear of their faith. Just as he and his travelers had been subjected to affliction, he knew they had been as well, and he feared that the testing of their faith may have resulted in some falling away. But Timothy had returned and reported that they had held strong. So he praised and encouraged them further for that strength.

 

/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 15, Romans 16, 1 Thess 1, 1 Thess 2, 1 Thess 3

 

___________________

 

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 First Letter to Thessalonica – 1 Thessalonians 1

Thessonica today is called Salonica. It is the second largest city in Greece, and is a large commercial port. In the 4th century BC, it was founded by Cassander of Macedonia beginning from the city of Therma (or Therme), named for hot springs in the area. His wife was named Thessalonica, and was a sister of Alexander the Great.

English: Coin_of_Cassander

English: Coin_of_Cassander (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Silvanus, in Paul’s opening greeting to the Christians at Thessalonica refers to Silas. The church there was founded in Acts 17:1-9 on Paul’s second missionary journey. In this portion of the epistle, Paul praises and encourages them for their faith and the example that they have been for Christians elsewhere, as word of their conversion and faith in the Lord Jesus has spread throughout the region by reason of the comings and going of people doing trade there, and possibly evangelistic efforts on their part. They had moved from pagan idol worship to deep faith in the resurrected Lord, while at the same time facing tremendous persecution for doing so (Acts 17:5-8).

/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 15, Romans 16, 1 Thess 1, 1 Thess 2, 1 Thess 3

___________________

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 Close to the Roman Epistle – Romans 15-16

Having already spoken to the Jews and Gentiles about their division over keeping feast days, eating certain meat, and other differences, Paul 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.

English: It contains fragments of the "Ep...

English: It contains fragments of the “Epistle to the Romans” 8:1-13 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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.

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). 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.

Paul finishes this letter to the Romans in chapter 16 by greeting many of them personally by name, as well as sending greetings from other brethren. he closes with a doxology: “to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

 

/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 15, Romans 16, 1 Thess 1, 1 Thess 2, 1 Thess 3

___________________

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 Opening words to the Romans – Romans 1-2

Paul opens this letter affirming his apostleship, as was his custom with letters to churches that were not so familiar with him. He reinforces that in verses 4-6 by stating that, through Jesus, he and the other apostles “received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ…” The long introduction also affirms that Jesus is the Son of God, and that he was descended from David, fulfilling Old Testament prophecy (verse 4); and he declares the mission to the Gentiles (verse 13). He also expresses, at some length, his eagerness to go to Rome for fellowship and sharing the gospel with them.

English: page with text of Epistle to the Roma...

English: page with text of Epistle to the Romans 1:1-7 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not much is known for certain about the church at Rome. But by virtue of it being in Rome, its fame would have been considerable and, like the other churches, it was composed of both Jews and Gentiles. The remainder of this chapter focuses on the need for righteousness on the part of the Gentiles, and Paul does not mince words in pointing out the history of unrighteousness on their part.

Though verses 18-24 are here specifically directed at those Gentiles, they contain some of the most profound (and certainly definitive) statements applicable to all people everywhere concerning God’s existence, and thus they provide the very basis of sound apologetics. The “wrath of God” in verse 18 represents his holiness, judgment, and yet loving response to the unrighteousness of mankind. When Paul says that all mankind knows God, he is not speaking of the concept of a god or of deity in general. Man knows the one true and living God because the evidence abounds in everything He created, yet he suppresses the truth in unrighteousness. His attributes, including His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly perceived since the creation of the world, so that everyone is without excuse.

Man has always tended to be full of himself because of the material knowledge he acquires, only made possible by God; and “claiming to be wise, they became fools…” Man’s desire for sin and all that is an abomination to his Creator moves him to exchange the truth about God for a lie (verse 25) and worship the creature rather than the Creator even to this day. People who deny Him do so by conscious choice in a futile attempt to justify their own unrighteousness. The “shameful acts” Paul lists as driving this begins with unnatural relations of men and women with others of the same gender, and in verse 29 runs from liars to murderers and “all manner of evil” in between – as God makes no distinction between what man considers “small” or large sins.

In chapter 2, Paul addresses the Jews of the church at Rome, as their self-righteousness threatens the unity of the church – just as it did in Galatia and elsewhere.  But here again, the applications to all people are clear.  He again states that the Gentiles are without excuse, for just as the evidence for God abounds, he also says “the law is written on their hearts.”  So even though they did not have prophets who wrote the law as the Jews knew it, the Gentiles knew enough “to do what the law requires” (verses 14-15).

But the Jews, who had the law and were circumcised, were warned that they who pass judgment on others are not without sin themselves.  So they should not boast and be judgmental because if they know the law and additionally are circumcised, but still live in sin they are just as guilty – for God shows no partiality.  They are not favored of God for their knowledge of the law or for their circumcision.  Though it is still admirable that they keep the law of circumcision, it is no longer required anyway, and it is of no value to them in their sin.

Christians today would do well to remember this when it comes to others.  Being “raised in the church,” knowing and even reading their Bible, and even having been baptized are all of no value if they live in sin anyway.  In that case, they will be just as lost as those who never obeyed the gospel.

/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 28, Romans 1, Romans 2, Romans 3, Romans 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 Before the Tribune – Acts 22

Paul was arrested and beaten, and at the close of chapter 22 convinced the Roman tribune to allow him to speak to the mob. When he spoke in Hebrew, it settled them down and they listened. He then gave them a history of himself as a Jew, “educated at the feet of Gamaliel” (a Pharisee and renowned teacher, who was also a member of the Sanhedrin council – see Acts 5:34). He also recounted his own persecution of Christians and the “Way ” (see previous post here for more information on “the Way”); and then told of his encounter with the Lord in Acts 9:3-8, in which he was blinded. The re-telling of that event here in verses 6-11 is not contradictory at all, despite what some say. Those who were with Paul on that road could hear what was said, but were not made to understand.

The toga was the characteristic garment of the...

The toga was the characteristic garment of the Roman citizen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul then turns to Ananias restoring his sight and his subsequent baptism in verses 12-16. But when he told them of his encounter with the Lord, and how He had told Paul that He was sending him to the Gentiles (verses 17-21), the crowd became wild with anger again. The tribune ordered him to be flogged in order to find out why they were shouting out against him. But as he was stretched out, Paul told the tribune that he was a Roman citizen by birth (verses 25-28); and the Roman tribune became fearful (Roman law forbade flogging a Roman citizen without a hearing or a formal condemnation). So in verse 30, the chapter ends with the tribune having Paul brought before the Sanhedrin, since scourging was not an option.

/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 18, Acts 19, Acts 20, Acts 21, Acts 22

___________________

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 With Priscilla and Aquilla – Acts 18-19

Paul left Athens, and went to Corinth, which was 46 miles away. He met with Aquila and Priscilla there, who had come from Italy after the Roman emperor Claudius had ordered all Jews to leave Roman (we know this to have been issued in 49 AD). At that time, they made no distinction between Jews and Christians. Aquila and Priscilla were tent makers by trade, like Paul, and he stayed with them. They became faithful friends, and he mentions them again a few times in Scripture (Romans 16:3-5, for example). As always, he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, preaching Jesus as the Christ. But when they opposed him, he went to the home of Titius Justis, about whom we know nothing. Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, was one of the Corinthians that we know Paul baptized himself (1 Corinthians 1:14).

The restored facade of the Library of Celsus i...

The restored facade of the Library of Celsus in Ephesus, Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lord spoke to Paul in a vision, telling him to keep teaching, and that no harm would come to him there. So he remained for a year and a half (verse 11). The proconsul was the chief judicial officer. In this case, it was Gallio (verses 12-14) that held that position when the Jewish leaders there, in a united assault, had Paul brought before the tribunal. We know from fragments of a letter from Claudius (the Delphi Inscription, found in 1905 by a French expedition) that he began this office in 51 AD. He was a brother of the philosopher, Seneca, who was an advisor to Nero. Born as “Marcus Annaeus Novatus”, he took the full name “Lucius Junius Gallio Annaeus,” after the rich man who adopted him.But before Paul could defend himself, Gallio ruled that this was a religious matter between the Jews and ran them out of the tribunal.

He then set sail for Syria, taking Priscilla and Aquila with him. Stopping to establish the church at Ephesus, he left Priscilla and Aquila there, promising to return “if God wills.” He then set sail to Caesarea, traveled to report to the church in Jerusalem and up to Antioch of Syria, ending his second missionary journey in verse 22. Verse 23 then begins Paul’s third missionary journey, going up though Galatia and Phyrgia, “strengthening all the disciples” at the churches he had begun.

Meanwhile, a Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus from Alexandria. He was a learned and eloquent man, well-versed in the Old Testament. Luke says that “he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John,” meaning that he taught accurately what he knew, but Aquila and Priscilla filled in for him, teaching him “the way of God more accurately.” It is likely that Aquila baptized him into Christ. Wishing to go into Achaia, he was encouraged by the brothers, and became a powerful speaker of the gospel.

Priscilla and Aquilla’s encounter with Apollos in Acts 18:24-28 would certainly appear to be providential, as the man knew the scriptures concerning the Christ well, taught many, and spoke eloquently. But it would seem that all of the good news of Jesus had not yet reached him, so the two set him on the right course. Now becoming a powerful worker for the Lord, Apollos had gone to Corinth. Paul came to Ephesus and found some disciples that had likely been taught by Apollos previously. They, like Apollos, only knew of the baptism of John. After being baptized, Paul layed his hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.

Paul taught in the synagogue there for three months (verse 8), but some were not persuaded and some unbelievers began “speaking evil of the Way before the congregation.” “The Way” was a name used for Christianity during those times, as by Luke several times in Acts (Acts 19:9,23;22:4;24:14,22) and in secular history as well (such as written by Josephus, for example).

So Paul removed himself and took the disciples with him, teaching “in the hall of Tyrannus” daily (verse 9). This continued for two years (verse 10), and the following Scriptures speak of the great miracles God worked there through Paul in verses 11-17, including an account in 13-16 of the sons of the Jewish high priest, Sceva, being overpowered by an evil spirit they tried to cast out themselves. Note the key in verse 13 where they said “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” This was not only a lack of authority, but of faith – and it ends badly for them. But the miracles the Lord had worked had a mighty effect on the people listening to the word that Paul and the disciples were preaching.
Paul stayed for a while but sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia, resolving to go there as well as Achaia, where Apollos had gone (Acts 18:27), as well as Rome (verse 21). But then things turned ugly in Ephesus. A silversmith named Demetrius made silver shrines to the Greek “goddess” Artemis (her Roman counterpart in mythology was “Diana”). Paul’s preaching against idols was costing Demetrius money. He gathered similar tradesmen and merchants, and provoked a riot.

Mob violence and confusion ruled, as the disturbance grew large enough that most involved didn’t even know what it was about. They dragged Paul’s companions, Gaius and Aristarchus, into the theater. Paul wanted to go in, but the disciples (and some Asiarchs – high-ranking officials of the Roman province) prevented him. It was the Ephesian town clerk that finally was able to disperse the crowds, pointing out that they were in danger of being charged with rioting by Roman authorities.

/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 18, Acts 19, Acts 20, Acts 21, Acts 22

___________________

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 Philippian Jailer and Paul in Athens – Acts 16-17

After arriving again at Lystra, Paul wanted a disciple there named Timothy to come with him. Some wonder why Paul chose to circumcise Timothy, but clearly states in Galatians 2:3 that Titus was not circumcised. The answer is that Timothy, before becoming a Christian, was raised by a Jewish mother (though his father was Greek). So, as verse 3 says, it was because of the Jews in those places. Having an uncircumcised Jew with him could pose a distraction by having some focus on that fact rather than the important teaching of Jesus Christ.

They set sail to Philippi, a leading city in Macedonia. There was no synagogue there, so on the Sabbath they found women gathered for prayer by the river. One was “Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods.” These goods would have been made from an expensive dye made from the murex shell. Note that Luke says that God opened her heart to pay attention to what Paul said, and she was baptized.

Raphael, St Paul Preaching in Athens

Raphael, St Paul Preaching in Athens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After Paul drove the demon from the slave girl in verses 16-18, her owners drug Paul and Silas before the magistrates with false accusations. In verses 20-22, they were beaten with rods and put in jail. Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns while the other prisoners listened until an earthquake shook the prison, opening the doors and freeing the bonds. The jailer, readied to kill himself as he supposed they had escaped. But Paul stopped him, and he and his family were all baptized.

In chapter 17, Luke dropped the use of the first person plural in the text, suggesting that he may have remained in Philippi as Paul and Silas pass through Amphipolis and Apollonia to Thessalonica. Neither the reference to “three sabbath days” in verse 2, nor the fact that they left the city after only 9 verses of this chapter should be construed as the an indication of the length of their stay in Thessalonica. Indications from 1 Thessalonians 2:9 and Philippians 4:16, for example, are that their ministry there was much longer. The Jewish religious leaders, once again, became jealous and stirred up a mob until they attacked the house of a believer – hoping to lay hands on Paul, no doubt. Not finding them, they dragged the man (Jason) and some other believers before authorities, falsely claiming they were touting Jesus as an earthly king and a threat to Caesar.

In verse 10, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away, but it should be noted that their mission there was successful, as some of the Jews had been converted, and “a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women.” This explains the jealousy of the Jewish religious leaders there.  They went to Berea, and Paul was sent off by sea to Athens. But Silas and Timothy stayed in Berea. After arriving in Athens, Paul sent word back with those who had accompanied him for Silas and Timothy to join him .

Finding himself in this great pagan capital, Paul saw idol after idol. He “reasoned” in the synagogue of course, but verse 17 says that he did so also in the marketplace every day. Speaking with men of the two prominent philosophies of the day, Stoicism and Epicurean-ism, attracted great attention, and they brought him to the authorities at the Areopagus – this time with interest and curiosity in this speaker of “foreign divinity,” rather than hostility. The Areopagus held a body of men with civil. moral, and religious authority over the city. Paul would have addressed them either on the “hill of Ares” (Mars Hill, where a temple to their “god” of war had been built in ancient times), or southwest of the Acropolis in the northwest corner of the Agora. There, this body held meetings in the Royal Colonnade.

“Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you…”

He goes on to say that the God, who made the world and everything in it, is not contained in temples made by men – that He made, from one man, every nation of mankind “that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us…” He told these idol worshipers that God should not be thought of as an image of stone or precious metals formed by the imagination of man. He concludes with what we would expect – an excellent message of the gospel:

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, but know he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” Some mocked him at the reference to the resurrection, but others wanted to hear more, some being converted (verse 34) including Dionysius, one of the judges of the Areopagus. That being the case, even Paul’s visit to this pagan city was a success!

/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 13, Acts 14, Acts 15, Acts 16, Acts 17

___________________

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 Stoning and the Jerusalem Conference – Acts 14-15

Paul and Barnabas preached in Iconium, and a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles against the believing brothers and sisters. They stayed for a long time, performing many signs and wonders. But the divided city resulted in a conspiracy of both Jews and Gentiles to persecute and to stone Paul and Barnabas. When they learned of this, they fled the city.

From there they went to Lystra and other places. In Lystra Paul healed a man who was crippled from birth. When he began walking, many people started calling Paul and Barnabas gods, referring to Paul as Hermes, and Barnabas as Zeus; and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifices. When they saw this, they were tremendously distressed and, assuring the people that they were just men, preached to these polytheists about the one true God and how he is evidenced in all the things of this world.

St. Paul and St. Barnabas at Lystra.

St. Paul and St. Barnabas at Lystra. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and they turned the minds of the crowds. They stoned Paul and dragged him from the city, leaving him for dead. In verse 20, the disciples gathered around him and he rose up and went into the city. The Scripture does not tell us that this was a miracle, or even what Paul’s actual condition had been. Enough to say that the Spirit was with him, and he was not deterred. The next day, he and Barnabas went to Derbe. After preaching and making many new disciples there, they returned to Lystra and Iconium, and to Antioch. They encouraged and strengthened the disciples in those places and appointed elders for them in every church.

In chapter 15, we learn of what is commonly called “the Jerusalem Conference.” Despite Peter’s vision, and the fact that the Holy Spirit was given to the Gentiles in chapter 10, the acceptance of Gentiles in the church was still meeting resistance. In Acts 6:7, we are told of a significant number of priests that believed and were added to the church. Many of these would be of the Pharisaic party referred to 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.

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. The apostles then chose men to go with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch, and sent a letter with them, affirming with one accord that the Gentiles were not to be burdened with the requirements that the circumcision party was trying to impose. The stipulations referred to in verses 20 and 29 were to make clear that they were to abstain from behavior that would make them appear to the world as the idol-worshipers that were so common (sexual immorality was a predominant theme in idol worship).

/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 13, Acts 14, Acts 15, Acts 16, Acts 17

___________________

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.