Posts by Fayetteville Church of Christ

Posts by Fayetteville Church of Christ

Basic Facts from 1 Thessalonians (Part 1)

Ancient Thessalonica still exists today, as the city of Salonika in modern Greece. It lies about 100 miles to the west of Philippi, and possesses a good natural harbor, which caused the ancient city to grow rapidly in size and wealth. In Roman times it was the capitol of the province of Macedonia; situated on the Via Egnatia, the empire’s main eastwest highway, it helped to unite the Roman Empire. Thessalonica became one of the important commercial centers of the…

Basic Facts from Colossians (Part 4)

The last paragraph of Colossians 3 contains instructions about proper behavior in both the home and the “workplace” of the ancient world. It also speaks to the master/slave relationship, which was an inescapable fact of that era. The important point to note in these instructions is that they are based on the fact that Paul is addressing Christians, whose motives and actions are expected to spring out of our desire to please the Lord (vv. 20 & 23-24). Much to…

Basic Facts from Colossians (Part 3)

Colossians 2:16-19 is often cited by those who object when Christians take note of holidays that are commonly observed in our culture (i.e., Christmas, Easter, etc.). In context, however, Paul is actually addressing the problem of “judaizers” who attempted to require the Colossians to pay homage to traditional Jewish feast days and days of worship. Paul’s expression in about “judging” (vs. 16) actually means “let no one ‘pass sentence’ on you.” He is NOT saying that Christians must take no…

Basic Facts from Colossians (Part 2)

The first verse of Colossians 2 introduces us to the church at Laodicea. What most folks know about the L ao d ice an chu rch is th at the y we re “lukewarm” (Revelation 3:16), and were therefore in danger of being rejected by the Lord. The town of Laodicea was less than ten miles from Colossae, and Christians in both towns almost certainly knew one another. This is why Paul writes of these two congregations (Colossians 2:1) as…

Basic Facts from Colossians (Part 1)

Like Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon, Paul’s letter to the church at Colossae is one of the “prison epistles,” penned while he was a captive in Rome. “Christ” is the theme of this letter, and Paul writes about both the deity of Jesus and His superiority to all human ideas and concepts. While there are some words of correction here, this letter is very similar to Philippians, in that it is focused on encouragement rather than condemnation. After beginning with a…

Basic Facts from Philippians (Part 4)

A surprising passage in Paul’s letter to the Philippians (surprising for us) addresses a situation involving two Christian sisters, Euodia and Syntyche, in chapter 4:2-3. We don’t know the details of their relationship, but it appears that there was some sort of “friction” between these sisters that had the potential to disrupt their Christian fellowship. Verse 3 makes it clear that they had labored together with Paul, Clement, and others, in spreading the gospel. Even though they had worked together…

Basic Facts from Philippians (Part 3)

In Philippians chapter three, Paul warns these saints about some who were trying to impose parts of the Law of Moses on them in addition to the Law of Christ (vs. 2, cf. Acts 15:1 & 24). The point he makes in verse 3 is that “we” (i.e., Christians) – not those who were fleshly Jews – are the “circumcision.” This was the Holy Spirit’s way of emphasizing that the church – spiritual “Israel,” Romans 2:28-29; Galatians 6:16 – is…

Basic Facts from Philippians (Part 2)

Paul begins the second chapter of Philippians by holding up Jesus the Christ as the pattern for all Christians to follow. At verse 2, he urged these saints to each have the same love and the same “mind;” this would allow them to act in agreement (“of one accord”) in all things. Since they are also to avoid being motivated by selfishness or ego (vs. 3), this opens the door to humility and the willingness to care more for others’…

Basic Facts from Philippans (Part 1)

Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi is one of the four so-called “prison epistles,” penned while he was imprisoned at Rome. (He was there because of his legal appeal to Caesar, Acts 25:9-12). Philippi was located in eastern Macedonia (modern -day northern Greece), a mountainous region known for its poverty (cf. 2 Corinthians 8:1-3). Paul had experienced notable success with the gospel while there (Acts 16:9-40), even though he and Silas had been falsely arrested and imprisoned. Unlike most…

Basic Facts from Ephesians (Part 5)

Many twenty-first century Christians are astonished to realize that the bible mentions slavery without explicitly condemning it. In Ephesians 6:5-9 Paul encourages “servants” to obey their earthly “masters!” (The Greek word doulos commonly refers slaves, although it can also apply to bondservants.) Some readers seem unable (or perhaps, unwilling) to read the bible except through the “lens” of twenty-first century values, which leads them to miss the actual point of the Holy Spirit’s words. The fact that the scriptures mention…

Basic Facts from Ephesians (Part 4)

Ephesians 5:22-33 is familiar to many Christians as “that passage that explains how the church is related to Christ.” It is easy for us to note the parallels Paul draws between marriage and the church’s relationship to Jesus, and then conclude that “the church is supposed to relate to Jesus like a wife does to her husband.” This is easy, BUT WRONG: Viewing these verses from this perspective puts the relationships in reverse! Paul is not trying to show the…

Basic Facts from Ephesians (Part 3)

In the middle of a list of practical and specific instructions about how being a Christian should result in a changed life (Ephesians 4:17-32), Paul inserts this instruction, in verse 27: “Neither give place to the devil.” The ESV gives a good modern rendering here, expressing this as “give no opportunity to the devil” which accurately translates Paul’s point in contemporary English. As we reform and improve our lives we are to avoid opening doors of opportunity for temptation and…