Purification rituals involving water were common in ancient religious, so baptism would not have seemed like a practice that was peculiar to the early Christian church. For them, however, it was a once-for-all ritual washing rather than a repeated act. It is now a symbolic washing away sins upon conversion to faith in Christ. John the Baptist
Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (BAPTISM)
Creation starts the Bible, in the book of Genesis
The end of the world finishes it, in Revelation. That could lead us to think the Bible is printed in chronological order. But it’s not. If it were, Job would likely come after Genesis. That’s because Job seems to have lived in about the time of Abraham, whose story appears in Genesis. Instead, Job’s story comes after Esther, though this Persian queen wasn’t born for at least 1,500 years after Abraham and Job. The Bible is a library of 66 books written in many genres and over a span of more than a thousand years. How
Continue reading BIBLE BOOKS OUT OF ORDER
Shameful and unnatural are two words that sum up what Paul has to say about homosexuality. Some Bible translators punch up his criticism with even stronger words: indecent and perversion. “Men committed indecent acts with other men, and
Continue reading PAUL’S TOUGH TAKE ON HOMOSEXUALITY
That’s the answer Paul gives to critics who say he isn’t in the same league as Jesus’ disciples-a dozen men who share the highest office in the early church. The closest the Bible comes to defining apostle is when the word first shows up-when Jesus” 11 disciples search for someone to replace Judas. Candidates must come “from among the men who were with us the entire time we were traveling with the Lord Jesus-from the time he was baptized by John until the day he was taken from us” (Acts 1:21-22). There’s no hint that Paul ever met Jesus during that time. Paul didn’t even convert until about five years after
Continue reading WHO DIED AND MADE YOU AN APOSTLE?
Ephesians 5:21- Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Paul offers tips for healthy family relationships as he brings his letter to a close. He talks about husbands and wives, parents and kids, slaves and masters–calling for mutual respect in every relationship.
Continue reading LIFE IN A CHRISTIAN HOME
Ephesians 4:13: Be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.
We can measure our height and weight. But how can we measure our spirit? How can we gauge the maturity of our faith? Paul doesn’t give us a scale to let us know when we’ve arrived at the “full and complete standard of Christ.” Perhaps that’s because most of us never get there in this lifetime. Paul himself confesses in another letter, “I don’t mean to
Continue reading TO-DO LIST FOR THE MATURE
Everybody goes through difficult times. God can seem far away. Friends don’t know how to help. Or you may even feel like pushing everyone away. How have you handled rough stretches? Continue reading HOW TO MAKE IT THROUGH TOUGH TIMES
Spectator sports and entertainment were fully developed by the Romans so as to satisfy the common people’s lust for excitement and blood. Even the rush for seats was an excitement in itself; there were no reserved seats until the time of Augustus. In the arena, condemned criminals fought against wild animals-lions, bears, elephants, and hyenas- and the crowd would urge on the contest. Paul says that he fought against wild beasts at Ephesus (1 Corinthians 15:32), but he may have been referring to the experiences recorded in Acts 19 in a metaphorical way (see also Hebrews 10:33).
Continue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE BIBLE (SPECTATOR SPORTS)
13. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Continue reading SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY (1 CORINTHIANS 10:13)
Paul does three things with slavery: (1) He acknowledges its pervasive practice without comment about its morality; (2) he urges slaves to radical loyalty as an expression of faith in God’s sovereign will; (3) he attacks the inequities of the system by insisting that masters and slaves become like brothers, an unprecedented notion (Philemon 16). In this passage, he wants slaves to excel in their service. Paul’s apparent social conservatism has been the subject of much misunderstanding. He would appear to give biblical sanction to
Continue reading DOES PAUL CONDONE SLAVERY? (1 TIMOTHY 6:1-2)