First Missionary Journey begins – Acts 13

 

HOLY SPIRIT - FOIX

HOLY SPIRIT – FOIX (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The opening verses of this chapter speak of teachers and prophets –two of which are Saul and Barnabas. One of the others was named Manaen. Depending on which version you read, he is either a lifelong friend of Herod the Tetrach or his “foster-brother.” In any event, he was very close to him. The scripture offers no explanation of how he came to be a prophet. At the word from the Holy Spirit, Saul and Barnabas were sent on their first missionary journey, which would last about 1 1/2 years. In verse 9, the Bible speaks of Saul for the first time as being also called Paul.

They traveled down first to Seleucia, then set sail to Cyprus where Barnabas was from, taking John Mark with them. They started proclaiming the word of God in the synagogue at Salamis. Then they went 90 miles to Paphos, the seat of Roman government on Cyprus. The proconsul was the highest ranking official in a Roman province. This one summoned Saul and Barnabas, wishing to hear the word of God. But a magician named Elymas (also known as Bar-Jesus), a false prophet who was with him, was working against them, trying to turn the proconsul away. Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, rebuked the man and caused him to lose his sight. The proconsul believed after seeing this.

(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.

 

 

 

 

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Saul Goes to Caesarea – Acts 9

Caesarea_090814Saul left Damascus for Jerusalem. He wanted to join the disciples there, but they were understandably afraid of him. It was Barnabas, who we met at the end of chapter 4, who spoke in Paul’s defense to the apostles. He told them of Saul’s conversion, how it had happened., and how he had been preaching the gospel.

So now Saul went in and out among them at will, as he continued preaching about Jesus. Verse 29 speaks of how he disputed against the Hellenists. Obviously, this was a different group of Hellenists from those spoken of in Acts 6:1. These were Jews who had not been converted, and they were plotting to kill Saul, presumably for his “change of allegiance” as much as for anything else. So the brothers had to get him out of there. They took him to Caesarea and sent him on his way to Tarsus.

So according to verse 31, the church all over Judea, Galilee, and Samaria then had peace and began to grow and many were filled with the Spirit.

(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 today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s 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.

 

 

Saul Preaches Christ as the Son of God – Acts 9

In verses 19-20, we find the man who had ravaged the church and approved of the deaths of Christians, including that of Stephen  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 must have been difficult to comprehend.

Saul_basket_090814Verse 22 says that he “confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.” How was Saul proving that Jesus was that Messiah that they had awaited so long? He was filed with the Spirit, and he was using the Scripture. He had the eyewitness accounts of the apostles. And now, he had his own account of what had happened to him, which would be very convincing as he declared that Jesus (whose very name he had despised) was Lord and Christ.

But not everyone was happy about Saul’s conversion. Verse 23 says that the Jews were plotting to kill him. The Jews referred to, we can naturally assume, were the chief priests and scribes — some of whom for which he had acquired letters in Jerusalem giving him authority to arrest Christians.  Now they watched the gates day and night waiting to kill him. But his disciples helped him escape quietly, lowering Saul in a basket through an opening in the wall. His time in Damascus, for now, was coming to an end.

(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 today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s 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.

 

 

 

 

Saul’s Baptism – Acts 9

Now in Damascus for three days after the encounter on the road which left him blind, Saul did not eat or drink anything. The Lord told a man named Ananias (in a vision) to “go to the street called Straight,” to find Saul and restore his sight. Ananias protested, reminding the Lord of all he had done to the Christians in Jerusalem, stating that he had full authority to do the same to anyone in Damascus.

English: Damascus, street called straight

English: Damascus, street called straight (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the Lord told him that Saul had been chosen by Him to carry His name “before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel.” Saul would of course do exactly that, as we will see throughout the book of Acts. But it is significant to note that his purpose, beyond evangelizing the Gentiles,  included doing so not just for kings (and presumably an emperor). He was to do so to the children of Israel themselves. And Saul (Paul) will do plenty of that as well.

Then the Lord told Ananias that He will show Saul how much he must suffer for the sake of His name. God’s word never mentions a statement from God or Jesus that has no meaning. So it is appropriate to consider that Saul would have a very good idea of what was in store for him the rest of his days, as his life was changing forever.

Ananias reluctantly agreed to go. And as he laid his hands on Saul and told him what the Lord had told him to do in verse 17, verse 18 says that “something like scales fell from his eyes” and his sight was restored. That phenomenon is not explained because it does not need to be. The entire ordeal was certainly miraculous. But the real miracle was that this man who had caused the death of so many Christians was then baptized into Christ.

(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 today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s 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 social media contacts.

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 End of Saul’s Royal Line – 1 Chronicles 10

The 10th chapter of 1 Chronicles covers the reign of Saul as king of Israel. Well, at least it “chronicles” the end of his reign. The chapter is only 13 verses long, and begins with Saul’s final battle with the Philistines at Mount Gilboa. It was there that Saul and his sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchi-shua died. The story is first told in 1 Samuel 31, but we are given a few additional details here as well.

Mount Gilboa, site of Saul's last battle

Mount Gilboa, site of Saul’s last battle

After Saul fell on his sword, the Philistines took his head and “fastened” it in the temple of Dagon.  No explanation of that is given, and perhaps none is needed. Dagon was the Philistines’ fish-god, the idol of which God made some rather humorous sport in 1 Samuel 5, when the Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant and placed it in the house of Dagon. The men of Jabesh-gilead (which Saul had rescued at the beginning of his reign in 1 Samuel 11) learned of Saul’s fate, and rescued and buried the bodies of Saul and his sons.

In verses 13-14, the chronicler says that Saul died for “his breach of faith,” and tells of his disobedience and of consulting a medium for guidance instead of seeking guidance from the Lord. So, the last words written of Saul were “therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.”

And so, the rest of the Books of Chronicles begins in chapter 11 with the reign of David and his descendants.

(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 today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/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.  

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Psalms 62, 64 – My Soul Waits for God Alone

Psalm 13:5

Psalm 13:5 (Photo credit: [Share the Word])

The superscription of Psalm 62 reads “according to Jeduthun,” who along with his sons was set aside by David for musical service (1 Chronicles 16:7-42, 1 Chronicles 25:1-4).  The poetry of this psalm is so obviously David’s that there can be no doubt who wrote it (“my rock and my salvation, my fortress”).  This is sometimes known as the “only” psalm.  Some translations use the word “alone” in place of “only,” but it is used often: “For God alone my soul waits in silence.  He alone is my rock and my salvation.”  The psalm ends with the sweet prayer of praise:

“Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love”

In Psalm 64, David asks for God’s help against those who plot against him.  “The secret plots of the wicked” could refer to the early days of Absalom’s conspiracy (2 Samuel 15).  The message he bears to those who hear the song is one of hope.

Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord
and take refuge in him!
Let all the upright in heart exult

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.

Psalm 69 – Deliver Me

depression_002This psalm is another of those that apply both to David and to Jesus.  Whether from a time when David was on the run from Saul, we do not know, nor does it matter.  He is crying out to God, clearly suffering and just as clearly afraid.  Many appeals contained in this psalm are appropriate for prayer today at times when life is bleak:

Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.

But the psalm is indicative of the Messiah’s plight in places as well.  Verse 4 (“They hated me without a cause”) is quoted by Jesus in John 15:25.  Verse 9 (zeal for your house has consumed me) is quoted in John 2:17.  And verse 21 (“They gave me poison for food,and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink”) is referred to in all four gospels (such as Luke 23:36).   Indeed, this psalm is quoted by Paul in Romans 15:3 (69:9b), Romans 11:9 (69:22), Romans 11:10 (69:23), and Acts 1:20 (69:25).

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.

Psalms 57 – Cry Out to God Most High

According to the superscription of this psalm, it was one  written by David when he fled from Saul “in the cave” – possibly on the occasion of either 1 Samuel 22:1 or 1 Samuel 24:1-3, more likely the former.  It is hard to imagine the despair that David felt as he had to hide himself in fear for his very life, appealing to God “My soul is in the midst of lions; I lie down amid fiery beasts…”

Public domain image from www.public-domain-image.comVerse one is another of the several verses found in the psalms (17:8, 36:7, and 63:7, for example) and elsewhere that refer to a place of safety as being “in the shadow of your wings.”  In verses 1-6, David makes his “cry out to God most high” in prayer for His help.  But even in so doing, he expresses his faith in the Lord saying “I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”  When we have done all that we can do, we must learn to trust in Him.

Then in verses 7-11, he finishes his prayer renewed with strength, and praises God for his comfort and steadfast love.  The refrain of the song, found in verse 5 is returned to in verse 11:

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens!
Let your glory be over all the earth!

It is a song that is a model for prayer most appropriate at times of despair, fear, or oppression – any time that we need to “cry out to God most high” as we often do, remembering as we make our plea, that He hears us and that He deserves our praise for all that He is and does.

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.

Psalms 54 and 56 – The Lord Upholds My Life

The superscription of Psalm 54 denotes a time when the Ziphites determined to betray David to Saul in order to gain his favor (1 Samuel 23:15-24).  It is a song of prayer to God for deliverance and praise to Him for being that one on whom we can depend in times of need.  David had just fled Keilah after he and his men had saved them from the Philistines.  The Lord had confirmed to him that even after saving them, they would give him up to Saul (1 Samuel 23:1-14).

woods-001The superscription in Psalm 56 directs the chief musician that the song is performed according to one called “the Dove.”  Adam Clarke translates the Teribinths as the “remote woods.”  We do not know what a “Michtam” is, but many suppose that it means this is “a golden psalm of David,” – golden equating to “precious.”

It also refers to the Philistines seizing him in Gath.  The scriptures do speak of David going to Gath.  One of those times was in 1 Samuel 21, but there is no record of the Philistines seizing him.  But that should not be considered cause to doubt the superscription’s accuracy.  We can be certain that there are many events in David’s life that are not chronicled in the scriptures, just as in the lives of other Biblical patriarchs.  The psalm itself is a song about trust in the Lord, even through times of great trouble and fear, and of maintaining one’s faith throughout it all.

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.

Psalms 49 – Why Should I Fear in Times of Trouble?

This song is one of the few passages in the Old Testament that speaks so clearly about eternal life.  Focusing at first on the type of wealthy people who arrogantly live as if they will last forever in their position, verses 7-8 comment that no man can ransom his own life, or that of another, because the price is too great.  Of course, Jesus was no ordinary man, and he did pay the ransom for us (1 Timothy 2:6).

cross03The ESV does a poor job in translating verse 11 as saying “their graves are their homes forever.”  The NASB and other versions correctly translate it as “their inner thought is that their houses are forever,” dramatically changing the meaning to illustrate the point the psalmist intended – that they placed their trust in their wealth instead of in God.

Verse 13 expands the focus to all of those who have foolish confidence.  Obviously talking about those who live wicked lives, the psalmist allows that they will never escape death.  But he is confident that God will ransom his soul and receive him (verse 15).  Rich, poor, living on easy street, or enrolled in the school of hard knocks – it’s all the same in the end.  All of our fears will amount to nothing if we have served the Lord.

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.