Posts from 2021

Posts from 2021

Basic Facts from 2 Corinthians (Part 2)

Paul uses a pair of interesting and significant contrasts in chapter 2:14-17 to compare himself and his ministry among the Corinthians with some who were troubling the church there. The comparisons here highlight the distinctive character that should set the genuine Christian apart from the rest of the religious world. Paul begins with an image of Jesus as the victorious general of His army, displaying His conquest and success in a triumphal parade (vs. 14). This image was very familiar…

Basic Facts from 2 Corinthians (Part 1)

The church at Corinth was established by the apostle Paul when he arrived in that ancient city in Acts 18. The environment he encountered there was actually very similar to modern western society; Corinth was an unusually wealthy city, and the people there were very focused on the trappings of luxury and decadence. Corinth was famous throughout the ancient world for both religious diversity and for flagrant immorality. For most people in that era, to be called a “Corinthian” was…

Basic Facts from 1 Corinthians (Part 6)

Perhaps THE most important “key” to understanding what the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write about miracles is to recognize that 1 Corinthians 12-14 is actually one long, complete context. It was NOT divided into chapters by Paul, and dividing it has led many to miss the continuity of thought here. Paul introduces the subject of “spiritual gifts” (miraculous abilities) in chapter 12 and explains that, while each miraculous gift had its own purpose, all came from the same source…

Basic Facts from 1 Corinthians (Part 5)

First Corinthians 11 is probably familiar to most Christians for Paul’s instructions about the Lord’s Supper (vv. 23-32). There are several significant points every Christian should recognize in these verses. Notice first that Paul expressly says that he taught the Corinthian saints to observe the memorial of the Lord’s death exactly as Jesus delivered it to him, verse 23. (In verses 23b-25 he describes exactly what the Lord told him – and this record agrees perfectly with the accounts in…

Basic Facts from 1 Corinthians (Part 3)

As we come to First Corinthians chapter 7, there are three important – indeed, fundamental – things that relate to Paul’s inspired instructions about marriage. First is that the context of his words is specific to the time and circumstances of the Corinthian Christians. Christianity was beginning to be persecuted with the force of law, so less “leverage” could be applied against an unmarried Christian than against one who was married. Those trying to force a Christian to renounce their…

Basic Facts from 1 Corinthians (Part 1)

The church at Corinth was established by the apostle Paul when he arrived in that ancient city in Acts 18. The social and moral environment he encountered there was very similar to our modern western society; Corinth was an very wealthy city, and the Corinthian people were famous in the ancient world for their obsession with luxury and decadence. They were also renowned for both religious “diversity” and for flagrant immorality. To describe someone as a “Corinthian” in that era…

Basic Facts from Romans (Part 5)

In Romans 14, Paul speaks to the matter of “judgement” as it relates to the way Christians view one another and evaluate one another’s motives. Those engaged in sin often try to rationalize their misbehavior by asserting, “I’m not hurting anybody but myself, so butt out and quit judging me!” Paul points out in vs. 7, however, that “None of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.” In other words, the claim that a sin affects “only”…

Basic Facts from Romans (Part 4)

In the ninth through eleventh chapters of Romans, Paul writes extensively about national Israel’s relationship with God, and he emphasizes that it was based on God’s covenant with Abraham – not on the law given through Moses. Although Israel had enjoyed many benefits and advantages because of their relationship with the Lord, Paul points out that these blessings were not restricted only to the physical descendants of Isaac and Jacob. Instead, he emphasizes that all those who are “children” of…

Basic Facts from Romans (Part 3)

From a secular perspective, one of the most controversial statements in Romans appears at chapter 6:22-23, where Paul points out that Christians have been set free from sin so that we can become servants. (The Greek word here – douloo – can mean both bond-servants or slaves.) What is often ignored here is the fact that this “slavery” is the voluntary and grateful response of one who has received the gift of “holiness” (sanctification) and eternal life! The alternative (in…

Basic Facts from Romans (Part 2)

Beginning at Romans 2:12, Paul offers an extensive explanation of how the ancient Jews were justified by Moses’ law. He notes at the outset that the law applied only to Israel, not to all people generally. (Christians need to understand that we are not – and never have been – “under the ten commandments” because that law was never addressed to us). Paul em- phasizes that those under that law would be judged according to its requirements, while those not…

Basic Facts from Romans (Part 1)

Romans is Paul’s great, inspired treatise on the subject of righteousness. It is the longest of his thirteen letters (fourteen, if he authored Hebrews), and it addresses the subject of salvation is a very logical, organized way. While Romans is often the favorite biblical book for denominations that assert salvation is “by faith ONLY,” the Holy Spirit’s main point is that justification comes through obedient faith in Jesus Christ. The first six chapters of Romans present a very systematic explanation…

Basic Facts from Acts (Part 6)

When Paul met with the elders of the Ephesian congregation at the coastal town of Miletus, he gave them these instructions about their position in the church: “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28, NKJ – emphasis mine, DR). Paul’s words make it very plain that God – acting through His Holy Spirit…