Pages

Philemon

PHILEMON

A RUN-AWAY SLAVE

Many people evidently came to see Paul during his first imprisonment in Rome (Acts 28:30). One man who came to visit him was a slave from Colosse who had stolen his master’s goods and ran to Rome. The slave’s name was Onesimus and his master’s name was Philemon. After his contact with the gospel of Christ which Paul taught him, the runaway thieving slave became a repentant believing Christian – a brother of all who believe in Christ. Onesimus also became a very useful helper and friend of Paul. (The name “onesimus” in fact means “useful.”) Now what would happen to Onesimus? Would he be punished – even put to death – like other run-away slaves? Would Paul keep him as his own helper, even though he belonged to another man? If he was sent back to his master, how would his master receive him? Onesimus’ biggest problem, his problem of sin, was already solved through his new-found Savior. But the practical problem of what would now happen to him was still not solved.

THE SLAVE’S MASTER

Paul knew the master of Onesimus. Philemon was a Christian from the Colosse congregation. In fact, the church met at his home. In Christ he was Paul’s “dear friend and fellow worker” (2). Philemon did not yet know that the slave who had run away with his goods was now his brother in Christ. What would now happen with Onesimus? Paul decided to send Onesimus back to Philemon. But first Paul wrote a letter to Philemon.

PAUL’S LETTER TO PHILEMON

In his letter Paul carefully pointed out to Philemon that the one he was sending back was not just a slave; but he was now also a dear Christian brother. Paul appealed to Philemon on the basis of Christian love to welcome back Onesimus. (Read this brief letter of 25 verses.)

WHERE AND WHEN WRITTEN?

From Rome during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment, 61-63 A.D. Philemon, Ephesians and Colossians were all written about the same time and probably carried by the same men, Onesimus and Tychicus. All three letters were going to Asia, Philemon and Colossians to the same city. (See Eph. 6:21-22; Col. 4:7-9.)

THEME:

“AN APPEAL TO PHILEMON TO RECEIVE BACK A SLAVE WHO IS NOW A BROTHER IN CHRIST”

Old Testament


Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.

View topics



New Testament


Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!

View topics



About the Bible


What is the Bible? Find an answer to this question and more.

Learn more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WHO IS JESUS?

Many people have many different ideas. Just a good man who lived and died? A charismatic man whose followers stretched the truth? A holy man with some connection to the divine? A prophet like Mohammed? Who is Jesus?

WORSHIP

Ever have a question about worship practices but didn’t know whom to ask? Well here’s the place for you! Learn the meaning of the Scripture readings in church,. Learn how to pray. And understand religious terms used in the church setting.

Titus

TITUS

TITUS, PAUL’S FRIEND AND HELPER

We know less about Titus than we do Timothy. We do not find Titus’ name in the Book of Acts. But from Paul’s epistles we know that Titus was a faithful and capable servant of Christ and a dear friend of Paul. In his Letter to Titus, Paul calls him “my true son in our common faith.” Titus was a Greek Gentile. When he was converted to Christ, he went with Paul to Jerusalem. Because of a Christian’s freedom from the Jewish laws, Paul makes a point of explaining that Titus was not circumcised, even though some Judaizers at Jerusalem were insisting on it (Gal. 2:1-5). While Paul was on his third missionary trip, Titus was given the responsibility of ministering to the Corinthian Christians. This was a big responsibility because of the many problems in the church at Corinth. In 2 Corinthians Paul mentions Titus and his work ten times. He speaks in good terms about the faithful work of Titus at Corinth (2 Cor. 8:16-17). Later we hear of the work of Titus on the Island of Crete. Paul had first worked with him on Crete and then left the work there in Titus’ capable hands. Like the work in Corinth, the work on Crete was a real challenge. “Cretans are always liars, evil brates, lazy gluttons” (Tit. 12). But Paul had confidence that Titus could deal with the Cretans and carry on a successful ministry for Christ (Tit. 5). At the end of his Letter to Titus, Paul requested that Titus meet him at Nicopolis. We do not know if that meeting took place (Tit. 3:12). We hear for the last time about Titus in 2 Ti. 4:10, where we learn that Titus had gone to the province of Dalmatia. Tradition says that he finally died a martyr’s death.

THE EPISTLE TO TITUS

Paul wrote his Epistle to Titus from Macedonia between Paul’s two Roman imprisonments, perhaps about 65 A.D. It was probably written shortly after 1 Timothy. Titus was on the Island of Crete when he received the letter.

A THEME, OUTLINE AND THE BASIC CONTENTS OF TITUS

“PAUL COUNSELS TITUS ABOUT SANCTIFICATION”

1. Sanctification in congregational life. (1) Key passages: “An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient” (1:6). “An overseer … must be blameless – not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to much wine, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain” (1:7).
2.Sanctification in family life and individual life. (2) Key passages: “Teach the older men to be temperate … Teach the older women to be reverent … Encourage the young men to be self-controlled … Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything” (2:2, 3, 6, 9).
3.Sanctification in public life. (3) Key passages: “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities” (3:1). “[God] saved us not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (3:5-6).

Old Testament


Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.

View topics



New Testament


Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!

View topics



About the Bible


What is the Bible? Find an answer to this question and more.

Learn more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WHO IS JESUS?

Many people have many different ideas. Just a good man who lived and died? A charismatic man whose followers stretched the truth? A holy man with some connection to the divine? A prophet like Mohammed? Who is Jesus?

WORSHIP

Ever have a question about worship practices but didn’t know whom to ask? Well here’s the place for you! Learn the meaning of the Scripture readings in church,. Learn how to pray. And understand religious terms used in the church setting.

2 Timothy

2 TIMOTHY

Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy was written by Paul from Rome during Paul’s second Roman imprisonment, perhaps about 66 A.D. As far as we know, Timothy was still in Ephesus. A THEME, OUTLINE AND T… Paul’s Second Letter to Timothy was written by Paul from Rome during Paul’s second Roman imprisonment, perhaps about 66 A.D. As far as we know, Timothy was still in Ephesus.

A THEME, OUTLINE AND THE BASIC CONTENTS OF 2 TIMOTHY

“PAUL COUNSELS TIMOTHY CONCERNING THE WORD OF TRUTH”

1.Guard the word of truth. (1) Key passages: “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you; guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us” (1:13-14).
2.Teach the word of truth. (2) Key passages: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth” (2:15). “Those who oppose him (the Lord’s servant) he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth” (2:25).

3.Continue in the word of truth. (3) Key passages: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy … Have nothing to do with them” (2:25)(3:1-2, 5b). “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (3:12). “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of” (3:14). “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (3:16-17).
4.Preach the word of truth. (4) Key passages: “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction” (4:2). “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear” (4:3). “But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry” (4:5). “The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom” (4:18a).

Old Testament


Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.

View topics



New Testament


Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!

View topics



About the Bible


What is the Bible? Find an answer to this question and more.

Learn more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WHO IS JESUS?

Many people have many different ideas. Just a good man who lived and died? A charismatic man whose followers stretched the truth? A holy man with some connection to the divine? A prophet like Mohammed? Who is Jesus?

WORSHIP

Ever have a question about worship practices but didn’t know whom to ask? Well here’s the place for you! Learn the meaning of the Scripture readings in church,. Learn how to pray. And understand religious terms used in the church setting.

1 Timothy

1 TIMOTHY

THE PASTORAL EPISTLES

Three letters of Paul are commonly called his “Pastoral Epistles.” They are 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. They have been given this name because in these letters the experienced pastor, Paul, is writing to two young pastors, Timothy and Titus. He instructs the two young pastors in the work of shepherding (or pastoring) their churches.

PAUL’S LATER LIFE AND THE PASTORAL EPISTLES

What happened to the Apostle Paul after his first imprisonment in Rome? The Book of Acts ends with Paul still imprisoned during the years 61-63. Therefore we do not have any more complete information on what happened to him. However, the Pastoral Epistles were written after his first Roman imprisonment; and from these epistles we can gather some information about Paul’s life after the close of Acts. Traditions and some guesswork are also used to add some not totally reliable information. Traditions say that not long after his first Roman imprisonment, Paul made his voyage to Spain and preached the Gospel there. We know at least that Paul had a desire to visit Spain (Rom. 15:23-24). From his Prison Epistles, we know also that Paul intended to visit again his churches in Asia and Macedonia. (See Ph. 2:24, words addressed to Christians at Philippi, and Phm. 22, words addressed to Philemon, who lived in Colosse.) From Paul’s Pastoral Epistles, it seems that Paul actually carried out those intentions. The following is perhaps Paul’s route while revisiting churches and making new stops: On his return to the east he stopped at the Island of Crete and carried on mission work there. When he continued eastward, he left Titus in Crete to complete unfinished work [Titus 1:5). Paul stopped briefly in Ephesus and left Timothy in charge in Ephesus. Paul then went on to Macedonia: and from Macedonia he wrote his First Letter to Timothy (1 Ti. 1:3) and his Letter to Titus (Tit. 3:12). Paul evidently wrote his letter to Titus shortly before leaving Macedonia for Nicopolis, on the west coast of Achaia. Between the writing of The Letter to Titus and the writing of 2 Timothy, Paul evidently visited Troas, Corinth and Miletus (2 Ti. 4:13, 20). Sometime later, Paul was arrested again and imprisoned in Rome for the second time. It is clear that during this imprisonment Paul did not expect to be released. During this second Roman imprisonment, Paul wrote his Second Letter to Timothy (see 2 Ti. 2:9 and 2 Ti. 4:6). Sometime later, perhaps 66 or 67 A.D., Paul died a martyr’s death under Emperor Nero.

PAUL’S “DEAR SON,” TIMOTHY

(His name means “honoring God.”) Timothy’s name is first mentioned in Acts 16:1. There we learn that he was a resident of the city of Lystra and that he had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. Paul was visiting Lystra on his second missionary journey when he decided to take Timothy with him. Timothy had been taught the Scripture since his infancy from his mother Eunice and his grandmother Lois. When Paul preached the gospel at Lystra, first his mother and grandmother became believers in Jesus as the Messiah; then Timothy also was led to faith in Christ (2 Ti. 1:5; 2 Ti. 3:15). They had perhaps become believers already on Paul’s first trip to Lystra. By the time Paul visited again, Timothy was a mature young Christian who could be a big help to Paul. The elders at Lystra “laid their hands on” Timothy and ordained him for the missionary work he would do with Paul and the other missionaries ([1 Ti. 4:14]). After leaving Lystra, Timothy went with Paul into Europe. They traveled to Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. When Paul went on to Athens, Timothy and Silas remained behind in Berea to aid the church. Later Timothy met Paul in Athens and then was sent back to Thessalonica to strengthen the church there. At Corinth Timothy met up with Paul again and helped serve the Corinthian Christians. All of this took place on Paul’s second missionary trip (Acts 16:1-18). On the third trip Timothy was with Paul again. He helped Paul during his long visit in Ephesus (Acts 19:22). Then Paul sent him to Macedonia and down to Corinth (Acts 19:22; 1 Cor. 4:17). He accompanied Paul on later portions of the third journey also. During Paul’s first imprisonment, faithful Timothy was with him again (Ph. 1:1; Co. 1:1). The next time we hear about Timothy he was with Paul in Ephesus, where he remained after Paul went on to Macedonia (1 Ti. 1:3). This would be during the time between Paul’s two Roman imprisonments. Paul wrote his First Letter to Timothy from Macedonia while Timothy was serving the Christians in Ephesus. Sometime later, Paul wrote his Second Letter to Timothy while Paul was confined during his second Roman imprisonment. He asked Timothy to come to him at Rome; but we do not know whether they ever met again (2 Ti. 4:9 & 21). What kind of a man was Timothy? From Acts and Paul’s epistles we can gather that Timothy was a faithful young believer in Christ, a faithful friend and companion of Paul, and a man willing to serve in Christ’s Kingdom where he was needed. Read Ph. 2:19-22 to see the high opinion that Paul had of his “dear son,” Timothy. Like all of us, Timothy also had some weaknesses. He was frequently ill (1 Ti. 5:23) and seems to have been naturally timid and reserved (2 Ti. 1:6-8). Paul encouraged him to work at overcoming these weaknesses. All in all, a young man (or elder person for that matter) who wants to be a church worker can find an excellent model to follow in Timothy. His name says that he was “honoring God;” his life also proved it.

1 TIMOTHY

Paul’s First Letter to Timothy was written by Paul from Macedonia between Paul’s two Roman imprisonments, perhaps about 65 A.D. Timothy was in Ephesus when he received the letter.

A THEME AND THE BASIC CONTENTS OF 1 TIMOTHY

“PAUL COUNSELS THE YOUNG PASTOR, TIMOTHY”

Paul urges Timothy to command the false teachers of the law at Ephesus to stop their teaching. He also urges Timothy to “fight the good fight” and hold on to his own God-given faith (1) He instructs Timothy concerning the kind of prayers that are to be offered in the worship service and concerning the proper dress and role of women in the services (2) He gives instructions about the offices of “overseers” and “deacons” of the church (3) Chapter 4 includes a variety of instructions: about false teachings in “later times,” about physical and spiritual training, about making use of Timothy’s special gift etc. (4) In the last two chapters, Paul gives advice concerning widows, elders, slaves and the love of money. The letter closes with strong encouragement to Timothy to “fight the good fight of the faith” (5-6). Because of the many different subjects that Paul writes to Timothy about in 1 Timothy, it is difficult to include all the subjects under a simple outline. Some key passages from 1 Timothy: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst” (1:15). “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for everyone” (2:1). “Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task” (3:1). “Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (3:4). “We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” (6:7-8). “The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (6:10). “Fight the good fight of the faith” (6:12).

Old Testament


Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.

View topics



New Testament


Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!

View topics



About the Bible


What is the Bible? Find an answer to this question and more.

Learn more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WHO IS JESUS?

Many people have many different ideas. Just a good man who lived and died? A charismatic man whose followers stretched the truth? A holy man with some connection to the divine? A prophet like Mohammed? Who is Jesus?

WORSHIP

Ever have a question about worship practices but didn’t know whom to ask? Well here’s the place for you! Learn the meaning of the Scripture readings in church,. Learn how to pray. And understand religious terms used in the church setting.

2 Thessalonians

2 THESSALONIANS

Paul wrote this second letter probably a few months after the first one because: 1.) The Thessalonians were still suffering harsh persecutions and needed encouragement; 2.) They still had questions about the day of the coming of Jesus; 3.) Some were living idle and lazy lives and needed a warning.

THEME, OUTLINE AND BASIC CONTENTS OF 2 THESSALONIANS

“THE LORD IS COMING AGAIN”

1.Present persecutions will end at his coming. (1) Key passages: “We boast about your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and trials you are enduring” (1:4). “God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels” (1:6-7).
2.Before his coming, “the man of lawlessness” will be revealed. (2) The man of lawlessness is the same as the antichrist. Key passages: “That day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, and even sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God” (2:3-4).
3.Christians are to live productive lives until his coming. (3) Key passage: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat” (3:10).

Old Testament


Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.

View topics



New Testament


Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!

View topics



About the Bible


What is the Bible? Find an answer to this question and more.

Learn more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WHO IS JESUS?

Many people have many different ideas. Just a good man who lived and died? A charismatic man whose followers stretched the truth? A holy man with some connection to the divine? A prophet like Mohammed? Who is Jesus?

WORSHIP

Ever have a question about worship practices but didn’t know whom to ask? Well here’s the place for you! Learn the meaning of the Scripture readings in church,. Learn how to pray. And understand religious terms used in the church setting.

1 Thessalonians

1 THESSALONIANS

THESSALONICA

The city of Thessalonica was the capital of the province of Macedonia. It is located to the southwest of Philippi on a bay of the Aegean Sea. Its location on the famous highway, the Egnatian Way, and its position as a port town made it a prosperous city. In Paul’s day Thessalonica had a mixture of Greeks, Romans and Jews. From Acts we know that the Jews established a synagogue there. Even today the city is a large and prosperous city; only Athens is a larger Greek city.

THE THESSALONIAN CHRISTIANS

The church at Thessalonica was established on Paul’s second missionary trip. Read Acts 17:1-10. After leaving Philippi, Paul came to Thessalonica together with Silas and Timothy. For three Sabbath days in a row Paul spoke at the synagogue, proving from the Bible that Jesus was the Messiah. Some Jews and many Greeks, including quite a number of prominent women, became Christians. But some jealous Jews soon began causing problems for the Christians. They started a riot, dragged Jason, one of the Christians, and other believers before the city officials and accused them of opposing the laws of the emperor by saying that Jesus was a king. At night Paul and Silas were able to escape to Berea. But the Thessalonian trouble-makers pursued them even there and stirred up the crowds against Paul. It is evident that right from the first day they believed, the Thessalonians were persecuted for their faith in Christ. That persecution continued. Because of the persecutions, Paul was able to minister personally to the Thessalonians for perhaps only about a month. But Paul later sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to strengthen and encourage them in their faith [1 Th. 3:2].

THE EPISTLES TO THE THESSALONIANS

While still on his second missionary trip, Paul went from Berea in Macedonia down to Athens; for a time, Timothy stayed on in Macedonia (Acts 17:14-15). Later, Timothy joined Paul in Athens; then Paul sent Timothy back to Thessalonica to minister to the Christians [1 Th. 3:1-2]. Meanwhile, Paul continued on his trip down to Corinth (Acts 18:1). It was at Corinth that Timothy joined Paul again and was able to give Paul a report on the Thessalonian church (Acts 18:5 and 1 Th. 3:6). After listening to Timothy’s report, Paul wrote his two letters to the Thessalonians. The second letter was written only a few months after the first. By comparing Acts 18 and 1 Th. 3, we can determine that Paul wrote his letters to the Thessalonians from Corinth while still on his second missionary trip. This means that his letters were written not long after the church in Thessalonica had been established. It also means that 1 and 2 Thessalonians are the earliest or next-to-the earliest letters of Paul to be written. The two letters may have been written about 50 A.D.

1 THESSALONIANS

Paul’s first letter was written in order to respond to the reports that Timothy had brought from Thessalonica. Timothy’s report was generally very good (1 Th. 3:6). Paul wrote first, therefore, to give thanks because the Thessalonian church was proving to be a “model church;” though persecuted, their faith and love were strong. He wrote also to settle some problems in the church and to answer some questions; to defend his ministry because of charges made against him (2:1-16), to encourage more holy living (4:1-8), to answer questions especially about Christ’s second coming. Paul’s main doctrinal topic in 1 Thessalonians is the second coming of Christ.

THEME, OUTLINE AND BASIC CONTENTS OF 1 THESSALONIANS

“THE LORD IS COMING AGAIN”

1.The promise of Jesus’ second coming means comfort during persecutions. (1-3) Paul thanks God that the Thessalonians turned from idols to the living God and that, though persecuted, they are awaiting Jesus’ return in strong faith and love. Paul also writes that he was persecuted by enemies in Thessalonica. The return of Christ always means much during time of persecution, because it means rescue. Some key passages: “In spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you become a model to all the believers.” (1:6-7). “You turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven” (1:9-10). “When you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe” (2:13).
2.Paul instructs about the second coming and encourages holy living. (4-5) The Thessalonians had two questions of Paul concerning Jesus’ second coming: What will happen to Christians who die before Christ returns? When will Christ return? The answers: Dead Christians will be raised at Christ’s return and together with the still-living Christians will meet Christ. No one knows the day of Christ’s return; it will come suddenly; we must be ready at all times. Because of Christ’s coming, Paul says that we are to live like the “sons of light” that God has made us in Christ. Some key passages: “God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” (4:5) “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him” (4:14). “The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night” (5:2). “Since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (5:8).

Old Testament


Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.

View topics



New Testament


Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!

View topics



About the Bible


What is the Bible? Find an answer to this question and more.

Learn more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WHO IS JESUS?

Many people have many different ideas. Just a good man who lived and died? A charismatic man whose followers stretched the truth? A holy man with some connection to the divine? A prophet like Mohammed? Who is Jesus?

WORSHIP

Ever have a question about worship practices but didn’t know whom to ask? Well here’s the place for you! Learn the meaning of the Scripture readings in church,. Learn how to pray. And understand religious terms used in the church setting.

Colossians

COLOSSIANS

COLOSSE (or COLOSSAE)

The city of Colosse was located in the province of Asia about 125 miles east of Ephesus. Neighboring cities were Laodicea and Hiefapolis, where Christian churches were also established (4:13). Colosse was best known in ancient times for its special kind of wool which the Colossians dyed purple.

THE COLOSSIAN CHRISTIANS

The church at Colosse was probably established during Paul’s third missionary journey at the time of his three-year stay inEphesus. There is no record that Paul himself visited Colosse or established the church there. But Luke tells us that when Paul was at Ephesus everyone in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord (Acts 19:10). This would include the people of Colosse. A Colossian named Epaphras returned to Colosse, established the church and served as one of its ministers (Col. 1:7). Philemon and Archippus also helped to serve the church at Colosse (Phm. 2 and Col. 4:17). Onesimus, the slave of Philemon, was also one of the Colossian Christians (4:9). Sometime after Epaphras had preached the Gospel of free grace and established the Colossian church, false teachings were making their way into the church. The false teachers tried to mix their own ideas with pure Christian teaching and wanted to harmonize the two. (This is sometimes called “syncretism.” An example of modern “syncretism” is the attempt to combine traditional African superstitious ideas with Christianity and make a common religion of the two.) These seem to be the ideas that the false teachers were trying to mix with the pure Gospel: 1) that the Jewish laws must still be observed; the teaching of the Judaizers (2:11 & 16); 2) that the human body must be denied basic things and even be treated harshly (2:21-23); this idea is sometimes called “asceticism;” 3) that angels are to be worshipped (2:18). By trying to add these human ideas to the Gospel, the false teachers were really saying that Jesus Christ is not enough for life and salvation. But by seeking to “improve” Christianity, they were actually destroying the Gospel and removing Christ. If the Colossians followed these teachings, they would be taken captive by man-made ideas and would lose Christ and his salvation (2:8).

THE EPISTLE TO THE COLOSSIANS

Paul was in prison when he heard from Epaphras what was happening at the Colossian church (4:3 & 18). This would again be his first imprisonment in Rome, 61-63 A.D. By letter Paul wanted to address the Colossians because of the report he had gotten through Epaphras. First he wanted the Colossians to know that he was deeply thankful to God for the work the Gospel of Christ had done in their hearts (1:3-7). Then he wanted to expose the false teachings and present Christ clearly as the One who has everything they need for life and salvation. Paul evidently sent his letter from Rome to Colosse by the hands of Tychicus and Onesimus (4:7-9). Colossians, Ephesians and Philemon may all have been sent at the same time through the same men. The Colossians were instructed to exchange letters with the church at nearby Laodicea (4:16). “The letter from Laodicea” may be the same as Ephesians.

THEME AND CONTENTS

“CHRIST IS OUR ALL-SUFFICIENT SAVIOR”

1.Nothing needs to be added to Christ and his Gospel. (1-2) Paul shows that Christ is in every way God and that he has fully accomplished our salvation. No human ideas should be added to Christ and his Gospel. Key passages in this section: “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (2:9). “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross” (1:19-20). “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ” (2:8). “Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a new moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ” (2:16-17).
2.Live for your all-sufficient Savior. (3-4) Paul encourages his readers to live holy lives because of the new life our Savior has given. Some of the key passages: “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (3:2). “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lost, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (3:5). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (3:16).

Old Testament


Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.

View topics



New Testament


Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!

View topics



About the Bible


What is the Bible? Find an answer to this question and more.

Learn more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WHO IS JESUS?

Many people have many different ideas. Just a good man who lived and died? A charismatic man whose followers stretched the truth? A holy man with some connection to the divine? A prophet like Mohammed? Who is Jesus?

WORSHIP

Ever have a question about worship practices but didn’t know whom to ask? Well here’s the place for you! Learn the meaning of the Scripture readings in church,. Learn how to pray. And understand religious terms used in the church setting.

Philippians

PHILIPPIANS

PHILIPPI

The father of Alexander the Great, Philip of Macedonia, gave this city in eastern Macedonia its name. He named the city after himself. Since Philippi was located on a famous east-west highway, the Egnatian Way, it was an important city. About 30 years before Christ, Philippi was populated with settlers from Italy and became a “Roman colony.” The city had a school of medicine. It is possible that Luke, the doctor, came from Philippi and was trained in its medical school. With pride, Luke calls it “the leading city” of that part of Macedonia (Acts 16:12).

THE PHILIPPIAN CHRISTIANS

Paul first came to Philippi on his second missionary trip (Acts 16:6-40). When in Troas, Paul responded to the call, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Philippi was the first Macedonian city he entered. Timothy, Luke, and Silas were with him. At Philippi they established the first European Christian church. Lydia and her family were the first converts. When thrown into prison in Philippi, Paul and Silas used their prison experience to lead a jailer to faith in Christ. His whole family was baptized with him. Paul also visited Philippi on his third missionary trip. He must have visited Philippi twice during that trip, both when going to Greece and when returning from Greece (Acts 20:1-6). The Philippian Christians were a very thoughtful and generous people. They aided Paul many times (Acts 16:15, 33-34; Ph. 4:16; [2 Cor. 11:9]; Ph. 4:18). They generously gave toward the special offering for the poor in Jerusalem [2 Cor. 8:1-5]. Paul had a special love for the Philippians and they for him.

THE EPISTLE TO THE PHILIPPIANS

Philippians is the second of Paul’s Prison Epistles (1:7, 13, 16, 17). Like Ephesians, Philippians was probably written during Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome sometime during the years 61-63. Epaphroditus may have carried the letter from Rome to Philippi. Paul wrote this letter because he wanted to thank the Philippians for sending Epaphroditus to help him and for the gifts received through Epaphroditus (2:2; 4:18). Paul also took the opportunity to encourage the Philippians (2:1-18; 4:2) and to warn them about the false doctrine of the Judaizers (3:1-3). Running throughout Philippians is a special emphasis on Christian joy. The theme of “joy in the Lord” ties the whole letter together. “Joy” is mentioned 16 times in the letter. The theme comes out most strongly and clearly in 4:4 – “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” Paul is suffering in prison; the Philippians are being persecuted (1:29-30). Yet Paul can rejoice as he writes, and his readers can rejoice too. How is this possible? Only through faith in Jesus Christ. Through the strength that Christ gives, Christians are able to find joy in the middle of suffering. As Paul says, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength: (4:13). Philippians is often called “The Epistle of Joy.”

A THEME FOR PHILIPPIANS:

“REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS.”

THE CONTENTS OF PHILIPPIANS

1.Rejoice in Christ our Life. (1) The key passage in this chapter is: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (v.21). 2.Rejoice in living like Christ. (2) Paul encourages his readers to imitate Christ’s humility and live a life of joyful service. 3.Rejoice in the goal of eternal life with Christ. (3) Paul reminds Christian readers that “Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ” (v.20). 4.Rejoice, because Christ provides all we need. (4) Key thoughts from this chapter are found in these passages: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (v.6). “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (11b). “I can do everything through him who gives me strength” (13).

Old Testament


Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.

View topics



New Testament


Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!

View topics



About the Bible


What is the Bible? Find an answer to this question and more.

Learn more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WHO IS JESUS?

Many people have many different ideas. Just a good man who lived and died? A charismatic man whose followers stretched the truth? A holy man with some connection to the divine? A prophet like Mohammed? Who is Jesus?

WORSHIP

Ever have a question about worship practices but didn’t know whom to ask? Well here’s the place for you! Learn the meaning of the Scripture readings in church,. Learn how to pray. And understand religious terms used in the church setting.

Ephesians

EPHESIANS

EPHESUS

The city of Ephesus was located on the western coast of Asia Minor. It was a busy city of commerce and the capital city of the province of Asia. Its most famous attraction was its temple to the goddess Artemis (called Diana by the Romans). This temple was one of the “seven wonders” of the world. Tourists would come to visit the temple of Diana and carry away souvenirs (Acts 19:24).

EPHESIAN CHRISTIANS

Paul visited Ephesus at least twice. The first time was near the end of his second missionary trip when on his way back to Jerusalem. He stayed only a short time. He spoke to Ephesian Jews at the synagogue about Christ; and when they asked him to stay longer in Ephesus, he promised to come back again if God permitted. Aquila, Priscilla and Apollos ministered in Ephesus after Paul left. (See Acts 18:18-26). On his third missionary trip Paul returned to Ephesus and stayed for about three years (read Acts 19). God blessed Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. Luke tells us that everyone in the province of Asia had the opportunity to hear God’s word through Paul at Ephesus and that the word of God spread quickly (Acts 19:10; Acts 19:20). The church at Ephesus was made up of both Jews and Gentiles. It seems that Gentiles made up the larger part of the church (Eph. 2:11 and Eph. 3:1). When Paul was returning to Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary trip, he met the Ephesian elders for the last time. He said his farewell to them at the city of Miletus. Paul’s deep love for the Ephesian Christians and their love for him was very evident at this farewell meeting (Acts 20:13-38).

PAUL’S LETTER TO THE EPHESIANS

Ephesians is one of the four Prison Epistles (3:3, 4:1, 6:20). It is commonly accepted that Paul wrote Ephesians during his first imprisonment in Rome (Acts 28). This would be sometime during the years 61-63 A.D. His letter was carried from Rome to Ephesus by the hand of Tychicus (6:21-22). The Letter to the Ephesians is filled with rich and beautiful Christian truths. Many say that there is no other New Testament epistle that expresses Christian truths in such a majestic way. The parts of the letter in which Paul writes Christian truths using images or pictures are some of the most loved parts of Scripture (2:19-22; 4:1-16; 6:10-17). A truth that is especially emphasized in Ephesians is the unity that Christians enjoy. In Christ Gentiles have become “fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household” (2:19). “There is one body and one Spirit … one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all” (4:4-6).

THE CONTENTS OF EPHESIANS

We can find a two-part general outline for Ephesians in 2:10: “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” In part one of Ephesians we hear about what the Church is; and in part 2 we are encouraged to live as members of the Church which God had made us a part.

THEME:

“PAUL TEACHES ABOUT THE CHURCH OF CHRIST”

1. He tells what the church is. (1-3)
2. He tells how we should live as members in Christ’s Church. (4-6)

SOME OF EPHESIANS’ IMPORTANT PASSAGES:

“It is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” (2:8-9) “You (Gentiles) are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people.” (2:19) “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (4:3) “Live as children of light.” (5:8b) “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.” (5:19) “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” (5:25) “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (6:11)

Old Testament


Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.

View topics



New Testament


Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!

View topics



About the Bible


What is the Bible? Find an answer to this question and more.

Learn more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WHO IS JESUS?

Many people have many different ideas. Just a good man who lived and died? A charismatic man whose followers stretched the truth? A holy man with some connection to the divine? A prophet like Mohammed? Who is Jesus?

WORSHIP

Ever have a question about worship practices but didn’t know whom to ask? Well here’s the place for you! Learn the meaning of the Scripture readings in church,. Learn how to pray. And understand religious terms used in the church setting.

Galatians

GALATIANS

GALATIA

Galatia was a large Roman province in the middle of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). The name Galatia comes from the name of the people who moved into this area several hundred years before Christ. They were the “Keltai” or Celtic tribes. The entire Roman province of Galatia stretched almost from the Black Sea in the north to the Mediterranean Sea in the south. The province included the cities of Iconium, Lystra, Derbe and Pisidian Antioch.

THE GALATIAN CHRISTIANS

Acts 13 and 14 tell us how Paul established Christian congregations in the southern Galatian cities on his first missionary journey. Both Jews and Gentiles became believers (Acts 14:1). Paul was accompanied by Barnabas as he preached in Iconium, Lystra and Derbe in southern Galatia. Read Acts 14:1-23. Paul made two more visits to Galatia, on his second and third missionary journeys (Acts 16:6 and 18:23). It is not certain just which cities of Galatia he visited in these journeys. It was probably soon after Paul’s first visit in Galatia that some false teachers worked among the Galatian Christians. We commonly call those false teachers “Judaizers.” These Judaizers taught the Galatians that a person had to be circumcised and observe the Jewish laws in order to be saved. They also taught about Jesus Christ; but they mixed law with gospel and works with grace. The result was that the Galatians were confused. The gospel was really shoved aside to make room again for the old law. If the Galatians continued to accept the Judaizers’ teaching, they would lose their salvation. (This was exactly the same problem which the council at Jerusalem discussed, as told in Acts 15.) The Galatians needed to have the false doctrine of the Judaizers clearly exposed to them. They needed to have the pure Gospel of grace clearly presented to them again.

THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS

When Paul heard how the Galatians were listening to the Judaizers, he was astonished and perplexed (1:6, 4:20). How could they turn away so quickly from the teaching of free salvation by faith in Christ? Didn’t they know they were in the process of throwing away the Gospel, Christ himself, and their salvation by following the Judaizers? Paul wrote the Galatians a clear and forceful letter in order to expose the false teaching of the Judaizers, establish his authority as an apostle of Christ, and to clearly present the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ alone apart from observing the law. In stressing the doctrine of justification, Galatians is similar to Romans. Both epistles clearly and unmistakably present the pure Gospel of grace. But perhaps we could say that when writing Galatians, Paul was writing in a more urgent and forceful way because of the immediate fatal damage the Judaizers were doing.

WHEN AND WHERE WRITTEN?

There have been many different answers to this question. One widely accepted answer is that Galatians was written from Antioch after Paul’s first missionary journey before the council in Jerusalem. This would be about 47 or 48 A.D. If this is true, then Galatians is the first book of the New Testament to be written. (Others say it was written from Ephesus in 56 or 57 A.D.)

THE CONTENTS OF GALATIANS

1.Paul defends his apostleship. (1-2) In Paul’s absence, the Judaizers attacked Paul’s ministry and said that his words could not be trusted. Paul therefore shows that he is a true apostle called and sent by God. His words are God’s own truth. 2.Paul explains the doctrine of justification. (3-4) Paul carefully and forcefully shows that human effort can make no one righteous before God; anyone who relies on the law to save him is cursed by the law. Man is justified by faith in Christ alone. 3.Paul writes of the Christian’s freedom in Christ. (5-6) He encourages the Galatians not to let themselves be burdened again by slavery to the Law of Moses, but to stand in the freedom that Christ gave. At the same time he warns them not to use their Christian freedom to live a life of sin, but to live a new life in the Spirit.

A THEME FOR GALATIANS:

“MAN IS JUSTIFIED BY FAITH, NOT BY OBSERVING THE LAW”

THE EFFECT OF THE LETTER TO THE GALATIANS

Paul’s letter evidently accomplished its purpose. The Galatian churches joined in gathering the offering for the poor at Jerusalem. They must have expelled the Judaizers and clung to Paul’s Gospel. Galatians greatly affected Martin Luther 1,500 years later. Luther called Galatians “my own little epistle” and said that he was “married” to this epistle. Galatians gave Luther the strength to fight against the legalism of the Church of Rome and to hold high the Gospel of pure grace in Christ. Anyone who is weak concerning the doctrine of justification and the place of the law will find real “meat” and strength in the Letter to the Galatians.

SOME IMPORTANT PASSAGES FROM GALATIANS

“Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (1:8) “Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, `The righteous will live by faith.'” (3:11) “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” (3:13) “You are all the sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” (3:26) “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (5:6) “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (5:16) “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (5:22-23)

Old Testament


Who is Moses and the prophets? More topics and answers found here.

View topics



New Testament


Who is Jesus and why should I care? Here, you will find answers!

View topics



About the Bible


What is the Bible? Find an answer to this question and more.

Learn more

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

WHO IS JESUS?

Many people have many different ideas. Just a good man who lived and died? A charismatic man whose followers stretched the truth? A holy man with some connection to the divine? A prophet like Mohammed? Who is Jesus?

WORSHIP

Ever have a question about worship practices but didn’t know whom to ask? Well here’s the place for you! Learn the meaning of the Scripture readings in church,. Learn how to pray. And understand religious terms used in the church setting.