Category Archives: Pauline epistles

Philemon — If our faith is genuine

In II Corinthians 5:16-17, Paul wrote, So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philemon | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Titus 3 — No room for license, no room for pride

We covered the first part of Titus 3 in the last blog, but because it connects with what we’re talking about today, I might as well put it all together. Again in verse 1, he talks about how we are … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Titus | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Titus 2:2-3:2 — A call to godliness

This is a passage that is nothing short of a call to godliness among God’s people. There are a lot of people who claim to be Christians. But as Paul said in chapter 1, They claim to know God, but … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Titus | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Titus 1:1-2:1 — Standing for truth

This is the last of the pastoral letters, in which Paul instructs a man named Titus on what he needed to do with the churches in Crete. Apparently, there was a lot of false teaching there, similar to what Timothy … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Titus | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Timothy 4:16-22 — Though we may stand alone

I can’t help but think that Paul felt the same thing Jesus did during his trial. Like Jesus, Paul stood alone when he stood on trial for his life. All the people he could have reasonably expected to support him … Continue reading

Posted in II TImothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

II Timothy 4:9-15 — The unfaithful, the faithful, the restored, and the condemned

As we near the end of this letter, Paul mentions several different types of people, the unfaithful, the faithful, the restored, and the condemned. Demas, unfortunately, was one of the unfaithful. He had worked with Paul previously (Colossians 4:14, Philemon … Continue reading

Posted in II TImothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

II Timothy 4:1-8 — Finishing the race

I don’t know if Paul could have given a stronger charge to Timothy than he does here. Paul foresaw a time when people would no longer put up with sound doctrine. Rather, they would simply gather to themselves teachers who would say … Continue reading

Posted in II TImothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

II Timothy 3:10-17- Though this world goes from bad to worse

If anyone thinks that this world will get any better, they’re not reading the same Bible I am. Until the day Christ comes back, things will get progressively worse. And that shows most starkly in the ungodliness of the people … Continue reading

Posted in II TImothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

II Timothy 3:1-9 — A mere form of godliness

There are many people in this world who are religious. Who go to church, a mosque, a synagogue, a shrine, or a temple. They perform religious rituals, praying, reading their sacred scriptures, and perhaps even giving up some of their … Continue reading

Posted in II TImothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Timothy 2 — To be a good teacher

As I look at this passage, I am challenged as to the kind of teacher I should be. What does it take to be a good teacher of the Word of God? 1. Pass on what you know. Especially pass it … Continue reading

Posted in II TImothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

II Timothy 1:15-2:13 — The grace to endure

One of the reasons Paul asked Timothy to come visit him was that many people had abandoned him, and except for a precious few, he was all alone. For every Onesiphorus who went out of his way to find out … Continue reading

Posted in II TImothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Timothy 1 — Because we have hope

Although there are two more letters from Paul to go through after this one, this was the last letter Paul ever wrote. And it’s a very poignant one, because it came at a time when Paul knew he was going … Continue reading

Posted in II TImothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 6:5-19 — What we pursue. What we put our hope in.

I suppose I could have finished up I Timothy yesterday. But there were a lot of things that Paul talked about in that passage that I couldn’t get into yesterday, and so that’s what I want to finish with today. The … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 6:3-21 — When we get away from the words of Christ

We live in a world today that wants little or nothing to do with the words of Christ. They take the parts they do like, and reject the parts they don’t. But if we claim to be followers of Christ, … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 6:1-2 — That God and the gospel not be slandered

I talked last time about how pastors are held to a high standard so that God and the church might not be slandered. But as you look throughout this letter, you see that all Christians are Christ’s representatives. And as … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 5:19-25 — The standard to which pastors are held

The standard to which pastors and elders are held is a very high one. Why? Because they represent Christ to their congregation and they represent the church to the world. We’ve all seen what happens when they fail in this and … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

I Timothy 5:17-18 — Supporting and honoring our pastors

Pastors are not perfect. And because they’re up on the pedestal at church, they often become easy targets for criticism. And far too often, we neither honor nor support them the way that God commands us to. And God does command … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 5:9-16 — Though we may grieve

There are few things more painful than the loss of a spouse or a loved one. And it is easy to start going into free-fall when that happens, both in our lives and in our faith. That’s apparently what was … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 5:5-10 — Dead, even while you live

Paul is talking specifically here about widows, but the words he speaks is relevant to all. In talking about the kind of widow the church is to support, he says, The widow who is really in need and left all … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 5:3-8 — Practicing our faith within our homes

I suppose our faith gets no more practical than within our homes. Because while we can hide our true faces from our pastors and fellow church members, we can’t hide them from our family. They see us as we really … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 5:1-2 — Our attitudes towards those in the church

As a pastor, Timothy had to deal with people from a variety of ages, people older than him, people who were his peers, and people who were younger than him. And the thing that Paul reminds him here is, “You … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 4 — To be a leader of God’s flock

As I look at the whole of this chapter, the words resonate with me, and it shows me just how powerful these words Paul gave to Timothy were. They were words that challenged Timothy to be the leader in the … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 4:7-12 — To become truly godly

As I mentioned before, in Paul’s day, there seemed to be people in the church that preached a superficial spirituality through asceticism and through a strange teaching involving myths and genealogies. But Paul makes it clear to Timothy, “Don’t waste your … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 4:1-6 — Seared consciences

We live in a world where people no longer seem to know what good or evil is. Things that are evil, they call good. Things that are good, they call evil. Why? What has happened to us? The problem is … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 3:16 –The wonder of the gospel

Christmas is right around the corner, and I think it can be so easy to take for granted what it’s all about. Do we truly wonder at what it really means? Paul did. He said, Beyond all question, the mystery … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 3:14-15 — Why our conduct matters

From the beginning of chapter 2 until verse 13 of chapter 3, Paul has been talking about the church. About how the men and women should conduct themselves during the service. About the types of people that should be pastors and … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 3:8-13 — So you want to be a leader?

We talked yesterday about being a pastor or elder in the church. And for most Christians, they have no desire to be those things. There are more people, however, who seek to be leaders of ministries. They seek to be the person … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 3:1-8 — So you want to be a pastor

This passage, admittedly, is not for many people very practical for the reason that they have no desire to become a pastor. I myself have not sensed any calling at this point from God to become a pastor. Whether that … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 2:11-15 — The leadership role (part 3)

There’s one last part to this passage that has yet to be addressed and then I’ll make a few closing comments on it. Paul writes in verse 15, But women will be saved through childbearing–if they continue in faith, love … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 2:11-15 — The leadership role (part 2)

We looked yesterday at Paul’s instructions that the women were not to teach or have authority over the men when the Christians were gathered in the church setting. I pointed out that I don’t think these were church or culture-specific … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 2:11-15 — The leadership role

I suppose I should say right off, considering the controversial nature of this topic, that the views I express here are not necessarily the views of my church. These are my views that I have come to as I have … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 2:9-10 — Where your beauty lies

“Beauty is only skin deep.” It’s a phrase that is often said, but how often do we truly believe that? More, how often do we act as though we believe it? For the Ephesian women, it seems as though they … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged | Leave a comment

I Timothy 2:8 — Manning up

No, this has nothing to do with Peyton or Eli or any football player for that matter. 🙂 It has everything to do with being a man. The man that God has called all Christian men to be. In verses … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 2:1-7 — Where our battle starts

In chapter 1, Paul starts by condemning those who were stirring up all kinds of controversies based on false doctrine that were taking the Ephesian church away from its main mission: to spread the gospel to those around them (1:3-6). … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 1:18-20 — When we violate our consciences

Our consciences are a gift from God. God has given them to all people, even non-Christians to give them a sense of right and wrong. Without our consciences, this world would be far worse than it is now. The problem, … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 1:12-17 — Wondering at the grace of God

How often do we fail to wonder at the grace of God in our lives? How different would our lives be if we truly did so. That was one of the differences between the false teachers and Paul. The false … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 1:5-11 — Failing as a teacher

James once said, Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1) Many Christians like the prestige that comes from being a Bible teacher. But … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Timothy 1:1-6 — Wasting our time on vain speculations

There are a lot of strange ideas that float about concerning the Bible. Some people try to cast doubt on the authorship of Paul’s epistles. There are many today that strongly doubt I Timothy, II Timothy, and Titus were written … Continue reading

Posted in I Timothy, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

II Thessalonians 3:16-18 — Finding peace

I couldn’t help but notice the similarity in Paul’s words in verse 16 and his words in I Thessalonians 5:23-24. In the latter, he writes, May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole … Continue reading

Posted in II Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged | Leave a comment

II Thessalonians 3:6-15 — When we discipline a brother or sister

It’s never pleasant to confront a brother or sister in Christ. Anyone who thinks it is should probably be the last person to do so. Still, there are times when it is necessary. And here Paul gives us some insight … Continue reading

Posted in II Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged | Leave a comment

II Thessalonians 3:6-13 — A hypocrite? Or an example?

Too often, Christians are called hypocrites. Too often, they are. But Paul wasn’t. Apparently, when he came to Thessalonica, he noticed from the beginning some problems with people who were lazy. It was so bad, he actually straight out laid down … Continue reading

Posted in II Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I Thessalonians 5:16-28 — Because the Lord is coming (part 2)

As Paul concludes this letter, he gives the Thessalonians some final instructions on how to live in light of the Lord’s coming. He told them, Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for … Continue reading

Posted in I Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

I Thessalonians 5:1-11 — Being ready for Jesus…whenever he comes for you

A lot of people wonder when Jesus will come back. The Thessalonians wondered about it back in Paul’s day. People wonder about it today. But Paul essentially reiterates what Jesus said: “We don’t know when Jesus will come back. So … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Thessalonians 4:13-18 — The hope that we have

“Hopes are for the living; the dead have no hope.” Those were the words of an ancient Greek poet, and it epitomizes how many people in Paul’s time saw death. For that matter, I talk to many Japanese today that … Continue reading

Posted in I Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

I Thessalonians 4:9-12 — That we may win respect

Hypocrisy. If there is a word that people like to throw at Christians, it’s hypocrisy. And too often, it’s all too fitting. Unfortunately, it was also true in the time of Paul. By the way some Christians were living, they … Continue reading

Posted in I Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I Thessalonians 4:1-8 — To be sexually pure

We live in a world much like the times of the New Testament, a world in which sexual impurity is rampant. We see it in TV shows, movies, commercials, the internet; wherever you look, it’s there. But in buying into … Continue reading

Posted in I Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

I Thessalonians 2:14-3:13 — Ready to face opposition

Nobody likes persecution. Nobody likes being disliked. But as Christians, that’s a reality that we have to prepare ourselves for. There are some people that simply will not like us because of our faith in Christ. This is a truth … Continue reading

Posted in I Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I Thessalonians 2:13-16 — Words of God? Words of men?

We often talk about the Bible as the Word of God. But do we treat it that way? As words that truly come from God and are to be obeyed? Or as words from men, to be followed if we … Continue reading

Posted in I Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I Thessalonians 2:1-12 — Genuine ministers

I was reading Philippians 1 with my wife the other day, where Paul talked about how he praised God that the gospel was spreading even though it was through people who preached with impure motives. (Philippians 1:15-18) The implication being … Continue reading

Posted in I Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I Thessalonians 1 — A genuine faith

This is one of Paul’s earliest letters, perhaps his earliest, written during his second missionary journey. It was written to the church in Thessalonica, and many things that Paul alludes to in this letter can be found in Acts 16-17, from his … Continue reading

Posted in I Thessalonians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Colossians 4:17-18 — Faithful

If there is one word that I think encapsulates this passage, it’s “faithful.” Tychicus, “a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord.” (4:17) Onesimus, a once unfaithful slave (see Philemon), but now a “faithful and dear brother.” (9) Aristarchus, … Continue reading

Posted in Colossians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged | Leave a comment

Colossians 4:2-4 — Praying behind the front lines

I wonder if we understand just how important our prayers are behind the front lines. There are so many people, pastors and missionaries especially, who are out there on the front lines. And many times, we act as if they … Continue reading

Posted in Colossians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Colossians 3:17-4:1 — Living as Christ’s representatives

I love the way the NLT translates verse 17. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father. (3:17) Whenever we do something in the “name … Continue reading

Posted in Colossians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Colossians 3:1-17 — Living like Christ truly is our life

“Christ is my life.” As a Christian, can you say that? The truth is, he is our life whether we see that or not. Paul tells us in verse 3 that we have died and that our life is now … Continue reading

Posted in Colossians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Colossians 1:28-2:23 — The fullness we have in Christ

“Fullness.” It apparently was one of the catchwords of the false teaching that was creeping into the Colossian church. And basically, Paul threw it back in these teachers’ faces by saying, “You have know idea what true ‘fullness’ is all … Continue reading

Posted in Colossians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Colossians 1:15-29 — The only One we need

The Colossian church was facing some kind of false teaching that was slipping in among them. What exactly that teaching was is not clear. But one thing that seems to be clear is that people were teaching them that Christ … Continue reading

Posted in Colossians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Colossians 1:1-14 — A prayer for all believers

If you ever want to pray a prayer for a fellow Christian but are not sure how to do it, and you want to go beyond a simple, “bless so-and-so,” you don’t have to look any further than the prayers … Continue reading

Posted in Colossians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Philippians 4:14-23 — When we give

I mentioned in my last blog that the problem with many Christians is that they are still self-centered. That they’re always focused on their wants and needs. But that is not God’s will for us, and that’s not how the Philippians … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Philippians 4:10-13 — The secret of being content

It has been pointed out that we live in a microwave society. We want what we want and we want it now. And when we don’t get what we want when we want it, we grumble and complain. But is that … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Philippians 4:2-5 — Maintaining unity in the church (Part 2)

It’s hard to tell, sometimes, the flow of what Paul is saying. Did he mean to divide his thoughts between verses 3-4. Or did he mean to to keep verses 3-5 as a set? Or perhaps the whole line of … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Philippians 4:2-3 — Maintaining unity in the church

I wonder how much, as Paul was writing this letter, he was thinking about Euodia and Syntyche. These were two women who he had worked with closely in ministry, and cared about deeply. And yet there was a divide between them. … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Philippians 3:17-4:1 — Living as citizens of heaven

The Philippians were very proud of their status as Romans citizens. And many people today are proud of their status as citizens of their country, whether it be America, Japan, or wherever it may be. But Paul reminds us here … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Philippians 3:12-16 — Pressing on

Very few days go by when I don’t realize just how far I have to go to be like Christ. I think marriage does that to a man. I look at the example of the husband Christ is to the … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Philippians 3:1-11 — Following the example of Christ (part 2)

I wrote a few days ago about how we are to follow the example of Christ. In looking at Paul’s words here in this chapter talking of himself, it struck me that a lot of what he said could be … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged | Leave a comment

Philippians 3:1-11 — Where our focus lies

As we live the Christian life, it’s so easy to get off-focus. Of course, some people can get off-focus in terms of focusing on their jobs, their love life, their possessions, and their money. All these things can get Christians’ minds … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Philippians 2:19-30 — Following the example of Christ

After sharing with the Philippians how they should follow the example of Christ, Paul talks of two men who did just that. Paul says of a man named Timothy (the same one found in I and II Timothy), I have … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Philippians 1:27-2:18 — Shining as the stars

Chapters and verses in the Bible are great in one sense. They certainly make it easier to find passages. But often times, they interrupt the flow of the authors’ thinking, and make us think that they are starting entirely new … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Philippians 1:27-2:11 — What the gospel is all about

We saw last time that Paul tells us to live a life worthy of the gospel. But what is that gospel?  He makes it crystal clear in chapter 2. The gospel is all about Christ, who, being in very nature God, did … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Philippians 1:27-2:4 — Living lives worthy of the gospel

When you look at today’s title, “Living lives worthy of the gospel,” what do you think it means? To be a good Christian witness? To be sharing your faith? To live holy lives? Certainly all these things are true. But … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Philippians 1:19-26 — That Christ may be exalted

For me, death seems kind of far away.  I still see myself as young, although I guess I’m technically classified as middle-aged. But for Paul as he wrote this letter, he really had no idea how much longer he would … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Philippians 1:12-18 — When we choose to rejoice

Considering all that Paul went through in his life, you would have understood if he had grumbled and complained about all that he went through for the sake of the gospel. Maybe in times of weakness he did.  But according … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged | Leave a comment

Philippians 1:1-11 — What God is doing in us

This letter that Paul wrote to the Philippians is one that is filled with joy, despite all the trials Paul was going through.  Paul was writing this in prison, probably from Rome, and yet time and again, you see the … Continue reading

Posted in New Testament, Pauline epistles, Philippians | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 6:10-24 — Standing together in prayer

As we close Ephesians, we close with the same drum we’ve been beating for the last 4 chapters:  unity. Paul has been talking about the spiritual war we are in, and after talking about the armor of God we are … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 6:10-24 — The armor we fight in

I said yesterday that we do not fight our battles with human weapons, whether it’s literal ones, political ones, or weapons of mere human rhetoric. Now don’t get me wrong, there is room for the latter two.  We do need to … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged | Leave a comment

Ephesians 6:10-24 — Standing in the face of attack…together

We are in enemy territory.  I don’t know if you know that, but we are.  Paul says, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 6:5-9 — How we serve

We close up this section on family living with one more picture of our relationship with God, namely Christ. We saw how our marriage relationships are a picture of our relationship with Christ, how our parent-child relationships are a picture of our … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 6:1-4 — Following our Father’s example

In this chapter, we see an extension of Paul’s teaching on our relationship with God and how it shows in our relationships with each other. In chapter 5, we see that just as the church submits to Christ as her husband, … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 5:25-33 — Unity in marriage (part 2)

The very interesting thing we find in this passage is that marriage is meant to be a picture of our relationship with Christ.  In what way? Paul says, Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 5:21-33 — Unity in marriage

I have never really thought of this before, but as I’ve been going through Ephesians, it seems to me that this passage is merely an extension of what Paul has been saying throughout.  That is, in Christ, the church has … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 5:15-21 — How we walk

One thing that strikes me is how often Paul uses the word “live” in this passage.  I like how the ESV (among other translations) translates it “walk.” “Walk in love.”  (5:2) “Walk as children of light.” (5:8) “Be careful then how … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 5:3-14 — Taking sin lightly

If there is one problem in this world, it’s that it takes sin lightly, even to the point of joking about it.  But sin is not something to be taken lightly.  Especially by Christians. So Paul says, But among you … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 4:25-5:2 — That we may be one (part 2)

Words are powerful.  They can build up.  And they can tear down. For this reason, Paul said, Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 4:25-5:2 — That we may be one

As I’ve been looking at these passages this time around, I’ve been seeing them in a whole new light.  Up until now,  I’ve always thought of these verses as merely touching my personal life.  But as we have seen, Paul … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 4:17-24 — Becoming all that we were meant to be

In the Disney film “Frozen,” there comes a point when Elsa, the queen, reveals her powers with ice and snow to the people, and because of their fear is forced to flee.  All her life, she had hidden her powers … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 4:1-6 — Keeping our unity

Paul has spent the last three chapters talking about how we have all been made one in Christ.  That though Jews and non-Jews had been divided under the Old Covenant, in Christ, the dividing wall was smashed and we are … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 3:14-21 — That we may be filled with his glory

In I Kings, it says about the completion of the temple Solomon had built, When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. And the priests could not perform their service because of the … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 3:12 — Freedom and confidence

I wonder how often we take for granted what we have in Christ. I look at this whole passage in Ephesians 3, and it talks about this mystery that even the Old Testament prophets and priests never really understood, at … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 3:1-13 — Being a steward of God’s grace

I think that for many Christians, they look at my last post that says we all are called to be stewards of God’s grace to those around us, and they say, “But I’m no Paul.  I can’t do the things … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 3:1-13 — Being a steward of God’s grace

I like how the ESV renders verse 2 in this passage, …you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you. A steward of God’s grace.  That’s what we are called to be.  God … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 2:11-22 — Accepted

It’s really amazing thinking about the total difference Christianity brought to the Jewish mindset concerning God and non-Jews.  To the Jews, theirs was a near exclusive relationship with God.  And if anyone wanted to have a relationship with God, they basically had to … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 2:10 — God’s masterpiece

I really love this verse. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. The NLT puts it, “We are God’s masterpiece.”  We’re not simply some slop … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 2:1-8 — The wonder of God’s grace

Paul had just finished praying for the Ephesians that they might see all they truly had in Christ.  Now in chapter 2, he lays it all out for them. Just as a side note, I think it’s important to remember … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 1:15-23 — If we could only see

I wonder sometimes if we really see how much we are truly blessed in Christ?  My guess is no.  Oh sure, many of us know the truths of God’s grace and love in our lives.  But do we truly understand them? … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ephesians 1:1-14 — Chosen and blessed in love, by God’s plan and for his glory

As I look at the first two chapters of Ephesians, I can’t help but marvel all over again at all that God has given you and me who have put our faith in Jesus. Paul starts this letter to the … Continue reading

Posted in Ephesians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 6:11-18 — What really counts

Paul closes this letter by basically summarizing all that he has said in it.  And here he discounts all that doesn’t really count for anything in this world. What others think of us doesn’t matter, particularly their approval (12). Our own … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 6:7-10 — The seeds we sow

I would have never made a good farmer.  I remember as a kid trying to plant a seed.  I can’t remember if it was from an orange or an apple, but either way, I wanted it to grow right then … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 6:6 — Lifting those who lift you

Pastors have a hard job.  I certainly wouldn’t want to be one unless God specifically told me to do so. Not only do they have to prepare the Sunday message, they have to constantly deal with the people within the church. … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Galatians 6:3-5 — Focusing on what God has given us to do

It’s amazing, but on this day 20 years ago, I moved to Japan for the first time.  Over these past 20 years, I can honestly say I have seen God work to touch the lives of people through me.  At … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 5:13-6:2 — The fruit of the Spirit in our relationships

A lot of times, we think of our relationship with God merely in terms of how we relate to him.  We think, “Am I reading my Bible?  Am I praying?  Am I going to church?” But as we look at … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 5:16-25 — A whole new way of life

We talked yesterday about staying out of the pig sty of sin that we were set free from.  But once again, Paul reminds us that this is not a matter of keeping the law in our own strength. Rather, he … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 5:13-15 — Returning to the pig sty

For most of this book, Paul has been addressing those who thought they needed to turn to the law for their salvation.  And while Paul strongly disagreed with them, I think he did understand one of their huge concerns:  If we … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 5:7-12 — Abolishing the offense of the cross

I mentioned not too long ago that many people find Christianity narrow-minded.  They take offense at the idea that it is only through Christ’s work on the cross that we can be saved.  Paul calls this, “the offense of the … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 5:2-10 — Severed from Christ, fallen from grace

I don’t know about you, but I think most people looking at today’s title would think, “Wow!  What terrible thing must a person do to be severed from Christ and fall from his grace.” In fact, we often use that … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 4:21-5:1 — Children of promise

In this passage, Paul makes a very interesting allegory to drive home a simple point:  We are children of God based on His promise, not children of God based on our keeping his law. He talks about the story of Hagar and … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 4:14-20 — Zealous for what?

In this passage, we see two kinds of zealousness.  One that leads to good and one that does not. We see here that the Galatians used to be zealous for Paul.  Because of the gospel he had preached and the … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged | Leave a comment

Galatians 4:14-16 — How to lose our joy (and blessing)

You can really see how perplexed Paul is with the Galatians in this passage (actually going all the way to verse 20). When he had first come to the Galatians, he had had some sort of physical problem, and yet, … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 4:8-12 — Going back to worthless religion

Many people wonder why Christianity is so “narrow-minded.”  Why can’t all religions be considered equally valid ways to God? I will admit that most if not all religions have some good in them.  Most preach avoiding evil and doing good, … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged | Leave a comment

Galatians 3:26-4:7 — The wonder of adoption

It’s really amazing to me that God would actually adopt us into his family.  He could have accepted us as “pets.”  He could have recognized our status as people, and yet kept us at a distance as acquaintances.  He could … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 3:22-25 — What the law is and isn’t. What the law does and doesn’t do. (Part 3)

We saw yesterday that the law was not some alternative way God developed to bring about salvation, but rather was something that was meant to lead us to Christ.  Paul goes into further detail in the next few verses. Paul … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 3:15-25 — What the law is and isn’t. What the law does and doesn’t do. (Part 2)

We talked yesterday about what the law does not do, namely, it doesn’t replace the covenant God made with Abraham.  God’s covenant with Abraham was a one-way contract solely based on God’s promise, not on anything Abraham or any of … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 3:15-25 — What the law is and isn’t. What the law does and doesn’t do.

A lot of times, people look at the ten commandments and other laws that God gave in the Old Testament and they think, “This is what makes us righteous in God’s eyes.  If I want to have eternal life, I … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 3:6-14 — The true children of Abraham

As I look at this passage, I can’t help but wonder if Paul thought back to the argument Jesus had with the Jews in John 8.  Because essentially, it’s talking about the same issue:  who are the true children of … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 3:1-5 — Starting by faith, continuing by faith

It is so easy, especially in Japan, to fall into the trap of trying to follow “the rules” after becoming a Christian.  After all, every other group the Japanese are a part of, whether it’s a school club, a company, or even their … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Galatians 2:21 — The main problem with a gospel of works

Throughout this chapter, Paul has kind of been on the defensive, fighting the claims that God’s gospel of grace leads to a promotion of sin. But here in verse 21, he goes on the offensive.  He says, I do not … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Galatians 2:19-20 — That we might be made righteous

We talked yesterday about how the Judaizers were basically accusing Paul of preaching a gospel that would make Christ out to be a promoter of sin.  That whenever they saw Paul or any other Christian fall in any way small … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Galatians 2:15-18 — A promoter of sin?

One of the accusations Christians face, particularly from the cults, is that by adopting a gospel of salvation by grace alone apart from works, we actually promote sin.  After all, if we are saved by faith in Christ apart from … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 1:11-2:16 — Fighting for the gospel

In this passage, we see Paul fighting for the truth of the gospel.  First he went to Jerusalem to make sure he was on the same page as the rest of the apostles concerning salvation by grace apart from law.  And … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 1:10 — A people-pleasing gospel

Let’s face it, the gospel we preach is hard for many people to swallow.  And because of that, sometimes Christians try to dilute it or sugar-coat it in order to make it more palatable for people to accept. “Oh yes, … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Galatians 1:1-9 — Deserting God

A lot of people today see Christianity as a set of rules.  They think that you have to keep these rules to be accepted by God.  Even many Christians tend to think this way.  But is this what the Bible … Continue reading

Posted in Galatians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

2 Corinthians 13:5-14 — Seeking God’s best in people

As we wrap up this letter, we see Paul’s heart for the Corinthians, that they would know God’s best in their lives. Paul starts out by challenging them, saying, Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 13:1-4 — When Jesus returns

In Paul’s warning to the Corinthians in this passage, I see a warning to us as well. Paul told them, I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 12:11-20 — Marks of a leader (part 2)

A couple of blogs ago, we looked at some of the marks of a leader.  In this passage, I think we can see more of what a true leader in the church looks like. One is that they do not … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 12:7-10 — The problem of self-sufficiency

I was raised by my parents to be pretty self-sufficient.  I remember one thing my dad told me after I had grown up and left the house was that the one thing he was happy about concerning my brother, my … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 12:1-6 — What is far more important than our boasting

Well, this is my last day of vacation before I head back for Japan.  It will be an exceptionally long day, so your prayers for safety and strength would be appreciated.  Needless to say, I won’t be posting a blog … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 11:16-33 — The marks of a true leader

As Paul compares himself with the false apostles that had crept into the Corinthian church, I think we see the marks of a true Christian leader, what he does, and doesn’t do. A true leader shouldn’t have to boast.  That … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 10:7-18 — How we evaluate ourselves. How we evaluate others.

Well, I’m temporarily back in the blogging saddle.  I’m still on vacation, so as I mentioned before, it may still be a hit and miss, but I have slightly better access to a computer right now. At any rate, Paul … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 10:1-8 — Tearing down Satan’s strongholds

I suppose the more that we look at the world around us, the more it seems like Satan has set up his strongholds in our culture.  Certainly we see it the moral shifts that have occurred in America over the … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 9:11-15 — That God may be glorified through us

I touched on this at the end of my last blog, but I wanted to expand on the idea more, that is, when God’s people are generous, he is glorified through us.  Paul wrote, You will be made rich in … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 9:8-11 — Abounding in grace

Just a quick note before today’s blog:  I am currently on vacation, and so my blogs may be hit or miss for the next week and a half or so, depending on whether I have both time and access to a … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 9:6-7 — Principles of giving

Here in this passage, we see two key principles of giving. Paul says, Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.  (6) This is true in all aspects of life.  If, … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 9:1-5 — When we have an influence on others

All of us have an influence on others, whether it be in our homes, at our churches, or at work. Perhaps we didn’t ask to be their role models, but we have been placed in that position.  And if so, … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | 1 Comment

II Corinthians 8:16-24 — A people that are an honor and glory to Christ

In this last section, Paul talks about the measures that he is taking to make sure that the offering he is collecting for the poor in Jerusalem is completely above board, that no one would be able to criticize him. In … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 8:9 — Our example in giving

How much do we know the grace of Jesus in our lives?  And if we really did know it, how would it change our attitude in our giving, not only of our money, but of our time, our resources, and … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 8:7 — Excelling in acts of grace

In this verse, Paul encourages the Corinthians, But just as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us–see that you also excel in this grace of giving. The Corinthians were … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 8:6-12 — Finish what you started

This passage is so rich with spiritual truth that I think we’ll be here for a few more blogs. Paul starts and ends this passage by basically saying this:  “Finish what you started.” The Corinthians, when they had first heard … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 8:1-5 — What giving is all about

Generosity.  Giving. These are two things I have to admit I’m still working on in my life.  Perhaps it comes from being the youngest child in my family.  Perhaps it just comes from my sinful, selfish nature.  But generosity and … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 7:8-10 — Two kinds of sorrow

Satan’s name means “accuser” or “adversary,” and for good reason.  He often comes at us accusing us for our sins and trying to point out to us what miserable wretches we are. The thing is, most times we deserve what Satan … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 7 — True love

It strikes me as I look at the last part of chapter 6 and the whole of this chapter, that we see a reflection of God’s love for us in Paul’s love for the Corinthians. Paul implored with the Corinthians … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 6:14-7:1 — Unequally yoked (part 3)

I don’t think I can leave this passage without touching on an application that people often use when quoting this passage:  dating and/or marrying a non-Christian. Some people say that this passage means we should not date non-Christians. I will … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 6:14-7:1 — Unequally yoked (part 2)

We talked yesterday about the importance of not being unequally yoked with people.  And the main point I made was that if a person is influencing you in ways that cause you to compromise your purity or compromise your life as a person set … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 6:14 — Unequally yoked (part 1)

Holiness. It’s one of those words that could be called Christianese.  I suppose if people were to picture “holy” people, they would imagine people with a literal halo over their heads and shining with the glory of God. But holiness simply … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 6:11-13 — What holds our hearts

There are some people that think II Corinthians was actually two or even more letters actually pieced together.  Looking at this letter, I can see why, though I still believe it is one unified letter. Still, at one turn, Paul talks about … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 6:3-10 — That our ministry would never be discredited

All of us, whether in formal ministry or not, are called to be ministers of Christ.  We saw that earlier in chapter 5, where Paul tells us that we have been given the message of reconciliation and are called to … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 5:16-6:2 — The message of reconciliation

Sometimes, Christians probably wish that in the face of all the troubles they go through in life, that God would just take them to heaven already.  Why doesn’t he? There are many reasons we could give, but one big one … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 5:17 — A new creation

This is probably one of my favorite verses in the whole Bible. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (17) I love the Life Application Bible’s comment on … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 5:16 — A totally new perspective

When Paul came to Christ, he was granted a totally new perspective in life. Prior to his salvation, he had been persecuting Christians, thinking that he was doing God a favor.  But upon his salvation, he saw things in a … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 5:11-15 — Compelled

What do you live for?  And why? For Paul, the answer was very clear.  The thing he always kept in mind was that a day of judgment was coming, not only for himself but for others (10).  And so he … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 5:1-10 — Though we may groan

In this passage, Paul continues his thought on why he had hope in the midst of trial. He says, Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

2 Corinthians 4 — How not to lose hope

Paul closes this chapter the same way he opens it: with hope.  Here was a man that had experienced so much that it would have been easy for him to lose hope. He had been hard pressed on every side, … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

II Corinthians 4:5-15 — Who we proclaim

When people see us, what to do they see?  So many times we want to impress people with who we are and what we’ve accomplished.  I have to admit, it’s a struggle that I am constantly fighting in my life. … Continue reading

Posted in II Corinthians, New Testament, Pauline epistles | Tagged , | Leave a comment