Mark 9:14-29: Faith and Faithfulness

In today’s Gospel, Jesus triumphs in a spiritual miracle, casting out a demon.  For us, this is almost unrelatable because we can explain, in some way, people’s bizarre conduct.  In our world, people exhibit many weird behaviors.  Still, we almost always come up with some explanation, often traceable to an illness—Bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s, a horrible […]

Romans: Lesson 7: God’s Righteousness for Us

In Romans 3:1, Paul started focusing on the Jewish Christians’ sin of insisting on circumcision when Christ fulfilled it on the cross, then instituting His baptism.  The Jewish Christians’ insistence reveals that a works righteousness had taken hold of them.  They saw circumcision as their work for God (viewed from an Old-Covenant template) instead of […]

2 Timothy, Lesson 6: Follow and Deliver the Apostles’ Teaching from the Scriptures

Paul just finishing describing false teachers in Ephesus, comparing them to Jannes and Jambres, Pharaoh’s magicians who opposed Moses. In contrast to those false teachers, Paul now commends Pastor Timothy.   Continue in the Apostles’ Teaching  Read 2 Timothy 3:10-12 “followed”: Greek, parakoloutheo. This means more than “follow”; it has the idea of “accompanying” or […]

2 Timothy, Lesson 4: Persevere

Last week, we explored the relationship between Paul and Onesiphorus, how Onesiphorus helped Paul in prison when others had abandoned him, and how Paul prayed for Onesiphorus after he had most likely died.   Paul now continues to encourage Timothy to be faithful in what God had given him to do.   Persevere in Suffering to […]

1 Timothy, Lesson 12: Paul’s Final Words to Timothy

Paul now finishes with his first letter to Timothy.   Personal words from Paul to Timothy as an overseer, continued  Read 1 Timothy 6:11-12 (starting on 12b) What had Timothy done “in the presence of many witnesses?”   What does “confess” mean? How does Paul describe that confession?   Why did Paul say that Timothy […]

1 Corinthians 4:1-5: Pastors as the Stewards of God’s Mysteries

John the Baptizer was a preacher’s preacher, putting the rest of us pastors to shame.  We fuss and fret over preaching what we know God wants us to preach–all because it might upset some people.  We worry about our livelihood, future, reputation, and status.  But John didn’t worry about that.  He just preached.  He didn’t […]

Sunday of the Fulfillment: Jude 20-25: Contend for the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints

We know almost nothing about St. Jude, the author of today’s epistle reading.  In the introduction to his letter, Jude only gives us a few facts about himself.  He tells us that he is a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.  That’s it.  That’s all the autobiographical data he gives us. It […]

Jonah

It’s unsettling when you finally realize that you’ve haven’t had all the information you’ve needed.  You go into a business transaction and make a lousy deal because you’ve only had part of the information.  You live your life, working under certain presumptions, only later to find out that some of your presumptions were based on […]