Scripture – make it a daily habit

As a leader, the apostle Paul needed to address big yet simple questions. How do Christians prepare themselves for godly service? His first letter to Timothy reveals one of his solutions.

Given our hectic American lifestyle, we need a simple practical plan for embedding his solution into our daily routine. We need more than simply knowing what is helpful.  Continue reading “Scripture – make it a daily habit”

The other “I am” statements

Through seven great “I am” metaphors, John powerfully communicated Jesus’ purpose. Jesus’ claims are readily recognizable: I am the bread of life; I am the light of the world; I am the door of the sheep, I am the good shepherd; I am the resurrection and the life; I am the way, the truth and the life; and I am the true vine.

Yet, these are not his only “I am” assertions in John’s Gospel. On several other occasions Jesus simply said, “I am” without completing the predicate. Perhaps the most well-known example of these is “Before Abaham was, I am” (John 8:58). Continue reading “The other “I am” statements”

The household of God

Communication is wonderful as well as a bit tricky. Our understanding of what others communicate is partially shaped by our experiences and prior knowledge.

So, when Paul described the church as being the household of God what do we understand? Perhaps what comes to our minds revolves around our relationship with other Christians as brothers and sisters. Yes, we are all in this together.

Does anything else come to mind? Would someone in the first century comprehend additional nuances? Probably yes. Continue reading “The household of God”

Something dependable

Our world is inundated with competing voices, conflicting perspectives and constant strife. From political posturing and divergent medical opinions to contrasting economic theories and social viewpoints, we are surrounded by what seems like chaos.

Ever long for a quiet moment to reflect upon something you can trust? In 1 Timothy Paul served up three wonderful nuggets. The first and third offer a profound impact for all of our lives, if we will embrace them. Continue reading “Something dependable”

Just a prayer meeting?

What happens when the regular evening Bible study is replaced by a special prayer meeting?  Years ago I remember one particular person saying that she would not be attending because it was just a prayer meeting.

From what he wrote to Timothy, it seems Paul would not have regarded God’s people gathering for the express purpose of praying as “just a prayer meeting.” Consider his instructions for Timothy. Continue reading “Just a prayer meeting?”

Ideas matter

Healthy churches are no accident. Paul knew this. In his letter to the Ephesian church the apostle guided them toward growing up into Christ. What he prescribed would produce a church being built up in love.

Later in his pastoral letter of 1 Timothy, Paul counseled Timothy to take strong action in order that the church might be a thriving community of love. In both cases, Paul’s prescription for spiritual health involved ideas. Ideas matter. Continue reading “Ideas matter”

The journey continues: More Apostolic Fathers’ citations

Several years ago I recounted some of my journey’s milestones in grappling with the phrase “faith of Christ.”  Did the biblical authors use this phrase referring to our faith in Christ or Christ’s faith/ Christ’s faithfulness?

Even if all nine occurrences of the faith of Christ in the biblical text refer to Christ’s faith, this does not greatly alter our understanding of salvation because other verses teach about the necessity of our faith. So what’s the point of digging into these details? We want to do our best to accurately understand what the biblical authors intended.

Due diligence suggested exploring whether the early Christian writers, known as the Apostolic Fathers, might have also used the phrase “faith of ___.” The Journey’s Data Depot provided some of that evidence. This addition adds a more complete listing.   Continue reading “The journey continues: More Apostolic Fathers’ citations”