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First Letter to Timothy

“Paul writes to Timothy, who as a young evangelist is facing serious challenges to faith and doctrine within the church at Ephesus.  Paul therefore deals with matters of church organization and conduct, particularly regarding prayer; the role of women; qualifications of elders and deacons; support of widows; and proper attitudes for Christian slaves.  The entire letter reflects the tone of a father writing to his son, as indeed Paul apparently regards this young man, Timothy.”

Read:  1 Timothy 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Letter to the Philippians

“While still imprisoned, Paul also reaches out to the Christians in Philippi, with whom he has maintained close ties since his three visits to their city.

In this letter Paul is writing to a small-town congregation in which two women, Euodia and Syntyche, have had a falling out.  As is so often the case when personality conflicts develop, their personal animosity is splitting the whole church.  Therefore Paul pleads with the two women — and indeed all Christians — to learn to love each other more.

Paul bases his appeal on the bedrock example of Christ’s own humility in putting others’ interests first, even at great personal cost.  The apostle urges them to sacrifice their selfish feelings and to commit themselves to working out their problems, particularly in light of the fact that their pagan neighbors are watching their behavior.”

Read:  Philippians 1, 2, 3 & 4

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Letter to the Ephesians

“Paul writes about the exalted relationship between Christ and the church and the practical results which that knowledge ought to bring into the lives of individual Christians.  He begins by summarizing how God’s eternal plan is revealed through Christ, then proceeds to teach various lessons regarding the church, personal righteousness, earthly relationships, and the Christian’s relationship with God.”

Read:  Ephesians 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Letter to the Colossians

“During these two years of house arrest, Paul writes four letters which have come to be known as the Prison Epistles.  Although Paul has never visited Colossae, one of his companions, Epaphras, had evidently informed Paul of the pagan secularism which threatens the churches in that region.

In paganism, virtue is not associated with religion.  Religious practice is for the purpose of warding off demons and evil ancestors — not for the purpose of becoming a better person.  To Paul, the Christian life is more than simply giving up bad habits.  It is acquiring a newness of mind which comes from setting your heart and mind on Christ Jesus.  Only a person with the mind of Christ can truly overcome the sins of the flesh and live according to the Spirit.”

Read:  Colossians 1, 2, 3 & 4

Letter to Philemon

“Before coming to Rome and being converted by Paul, Onesimus had been a slave of a Christian named Philemon.  Onesimus  had run away from Philemon and had evidently taken some money or property belonging to his master.  Paul now writes to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus and asks that Philemon accept Onesimus back as a brother in Christ.  The letter is an insightful study in personal relationships among Christians and contrasts the freedoms that come when one is under bondage to Christ.”

Read:  Philemon

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Voyage to Rome

“The time now approaches for Paul to be sent to Rome to make his appeal to Caesar.  Paul is placed in the custody of a Roman officer named Julius, and is accompanied by Luke and Aristarchus, a brother in the Lord from Thessalonica.  What follows is Luke’s account of their almost-disastrous voyage from Caesarea to Rome.

Despite a warning from Paul that trouble awaits them, the crew sets sail and they soon find themselves in difficulty.  The ship is blown off course during a two-week storm and finally breaks apart.  By God’s grace, however, all lives are spared.  When it is once again safe to sail, the group sets out on another Egyptian ship.  The remainder of the voyage is happily uneventful, and Luke records the warm welcome which they receive from the brethren in Italy.”

Read:  Acts 27, 28:1-15

House Arrest in Rome

“As Paul arrives in Rome, it appears that he is placed under house arrest, being permitted to maintain his own living quarters while being guarded by a Roman soldier.  Paul is given the freedom to continue preaching from his place of lodging.  Characteristically, some believe Paul’s message about Jesus and the kingdom of God, while others do not, a result which Paul attributes to teh openness of mind with which a person might listen to the good news of Jesus.”

Read:  Acts 28:16-31

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Paul Before Felix, Festus, and Agrippa

“At Caesarea, Paul has three opportunities to present his defense and to preach the gospel to the Roman authorities who now hold him under arrest.  The first appearance is before Felix, the governor and procurator of Judea.  Felix knows enough about ‘The Way’ to realize that there is no substance to the charges being brought against Paul.  But he is primarily motivated by greed and therefore is angered when Paul fails to offer a bribe.

Felix is succeeded by Porcius Festus, about whom little is known.  Festus also finds no fault in Paul and suggests that Paul once again be taken before the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.  But Paul (who, though a Jew, is also a Roman citizen by birth) exercises his right to appeal his case to Caesar.

Festus expresses frustration regarding Paul’s case to a visiting King Herod Agrippa II, who asks if he can hear Paul’s story for himself.  Paul’s presentation before Agrippa summarizes his personal conversion and subsequent ministry.  Agrippa appears to be uncomfortably vulnerable to the gospel message presented by Paul.  But if Agrippa is touched at all, there is no record that he ever responds in full belief.”

Read:  Acts 24, 25 & 26

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

Paul’s Arrest and Trial

“Upon his return to Jerusalem, Paul now finds himself being arrested and attacked by local Jews who have been stirred up by certain men from Asia.  Fortunately, however, Paul will be rescued by Roman soldiers acting under the local Roman commander but is later taken into protective custody.

On the following day, the record reveals that Paul is put on trial before the Sanhedrin Council, in much the same way that Jesus himself had been tried years earlier.  Paul sets the Pharisees in controversy against the Sadducees when he refers to his belief in a resurrection after death.  In the debate which ensues, no charges are brought and Paul is returned to custody.”

Read:  Acts 21:17-40, 22 & 23

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

“As the historical record continues, Paul’s plans to leave directly for Jerusalem are abruptly changed, and a detour is made necessary.  While at Miletus, Paul addresses the elders from the church at Ephesus and tells them that he anticipates possible imprisonment and persecution upon his return to Jerusalem.  Paul undoubtedly also warns them of the danger of falling away from the teaching of Christ — a concern which he will address at length in various letters later in his life.”

Read:  Acts 20:3-38, 21:1-16

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

“Paul concludes the letter with practical applications for transforming one’s life to Christian service, and for regulating one’s conduct in relation to his fellowman, to civil government, and to those brothers and sisters in Christ who may be spiritually weak.  The thrust of the letter is the superiority of obedient faith over futile attempts to earn salvation through strict law-keeping.  Grace is not seen as a substitute for law, but rather as a higher motivation to obey God’s laws.”

Christian Life and Conduct

Read:  Romans 12 & 13

Regarding Mutual Responsibility

Read:  Romans 14, 15:1-13

Closing Remarks

Read:  Romans 15:14-33 & chapter 16

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.

“Next, Paul discusses the unique problem faced by certain Jews who are having difficulty believing that the God of the Jews could possibly include the Gentiles in his promises made to Abraham.”

Regarding the Jewish Experience

Read:  Romans 9, 10 & 11

All quotations taken from The Daily Bible.
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