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
For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.
The above verse is from Paul’s letter to the Romans and another piece that confirms my faith in the simplicity of Christ and God.
The law is what you know in your heart is right. What is right, the right thing to do, is placed in your heart by the Holy Spirit. Continue reading
2 Thessalonians 3:6-12
Now we command you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from any brother who is walking in idleness and not in accord with the tradition that you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to imitate us, because we were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with toil and labor we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give you in ourselves an example to imitate. For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
In this letter to the Thessalonians Paul is addressing something that Solomon had said thousands of years before.
In all the things that man can do and occupy his mind, in all things man can chase, all that really is important is your toil, being happy in your toil, your work. For as Solomon said, all else is vanity and striving after wind.
But Paul is also addressing two other aspects of an idle life. Continue reading
Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
I thought this was a nice follow up to my previous post “Biblical Teamwork”.
Romans 12:3-9 was the first reference that I had found in the Bible to teamwork, it was Paul’s first reference to synergy. I’m sure when I do my next read through of the Bible I’ll be looking for earlier and more subtle references but for now it’s the first time it clicked for me. Continue reading
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
This is a verse to read when you are going through some tough times. I wrote it down on a piece of paper many years ago. I wrote it down during a time when the frustration and stress of my job was literally starting to kill me.
I had a piece of notebook paper where I copied inspirational and comforting verses from the Bible. I kept this piece of paper in my front pocket and carried it with me throughout the day. I would take it out of my pocket and read the verses, especially when the stress levels were rising. Reading them would calm me down just a bit.
I carried this piece of paper for over a year.
It was folded and unfolded so many times from reading it and adding new verses to it that the folds in the paper had started to come apart.
Then one day my cherished piece of paper was gone. Continue reading
1 Corinthians 15:33
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”
I have written about Paul as a team builder. I guess you could say Paul spent his time going around putting together a team of believers. In this verse Paul is addressing something we all experience throughout our life, peer pressure.
Peer pressure is tremendous when we are young and in school.
We develop our social circles and want to be accepted. We want to be a part of something.
Maybe we conform to fit in with the “normal” kids, or maybe we rebel or gravitate to the “weird” and “strange”.
But no matter which way we go we end up accepting the moral standards of the crowd we choose. Continue reading
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things..
In verse 17 Paul writes:
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
The righteous shall live by faith. So very hard to do. Continue reading