If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump, and if the root is holy, so are the branches.
I took some time to read commentaries by biblical scholars and theologians in regards to this verse. All of them seemed to deal with civilizations, tribes, congregations, etc.. They were all saying this verse could refer to the church, meaning Christ was the first fruit, the root, thus making the early Christian church holy. Some of them also referred to the Jews, going back to Abraham as being the first fruit. And some referred to the Gentiles, who through their acceptance of Christ were the first fruit and were made holy.
I took this on a more personal level, which is how I tend to treat the whole Bible. Continue reading
One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
“Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?” Words we really need for today, but we always needed these words. That’s why Paul wrote them. Continue reading
What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone,
Works and faith, that is what is being compared in these verses. At least that was my initial thought when I made a note to myself to write something about these verses. But the more I contemplated the words written by Paul, I realized what Paul is writing about. Continue reading
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
I have written before about these ideas that Paul, Christ and the prophets have been preaching for thousands of years. It is a common theme throughout religion, for religious beliefs are in the spirit, not in the flesh, the world. Continue reading
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
In these two verses Paul sums up the very essence of love and our path back to the innocence of the Garden of Eden.
After God freed the Hebrews from the bondage of Egypt, God gave them ten simple laws that their entire society could be built upon. Nothing else was required. Follow these rules and all will be well. Continue reading
One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
Paul addresses the fact that we all belong to the Lord. We all come from and go to God. But even though we all come from the same God, we are each unique individuals. We have our own minds, we live our own lives as we choose to live it. Continue reading
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.
I read these verses and I immediately thought of one thing, politics.
Paul is talking about those who wish to take control of the new Church of Christ, but really he is talking about any of those who wish to take power and control of others. I guess this was Paul dealing with politics within the early Church. Continue reading