Church Blog

Church Blog

Basic Facts from 1 Timothy (Part 1)

The scholarly community generally describes the letters Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus as the “pastoral” epistles. This is not really an accurate description because it derives from the denominational concept of a preacher as being THE “pastor” of a congregation. The new testament shows a distinctly different picture of the church, with each congregation having multiple “pastors” (i.e., shepherds, elders, overseers), not the “one-man-rule” so common in modern denominationalism. (Acts 14:23 shows clearly that each individual congregation had plural…

Basic Facts from 2 Thessalonians (Part 2)

Second Thessalonians 2:12-15 presents the simplest explanation of the doctrine of “election” in the bible. “Election” describes how God chose who will be saved and who won’t. This may be THE most misunderstood biblical concept in all of christendom’s various denominations. Protestant denominations mainly base what they teach about election on what John Calvin wrote about it. Calvin wrote that the way God predestined (“elected”) people for heaven or hell was completely random and arbitrary. (We might compare it to…

The McDonald Family Newsletter May 2022

Mother’s Day Mother’s Day in Scotland happens in March. We try to organise something for them and present our mothers with a small gift and recognition for all they do for us. As we still had some restrictions in the building because of Covid, they had more time in the afternoon with their own families. Ladies’ Appreciation Day Every year we like to spoil our ladies with a special day just for them. Not all the ladies chose to attend…

Basic Facts from 2 Thessalonians (Part 1)

The companion Paul mentions in verse 1 as “Silvanus” was almost certainly the Silas of Acts 17:1-10, as this is a shortened form of the longer name (a “nickname,” as Jim is to James). In chapter 1:5, Paul mentions that the Thessalonian Christians were suffering for their faith. Their suffering had begun with persecution by the local Jewish community, mentioned in Acts 17, and Paul makes the point that they should view their trials as an evidence that they were…

Basic Facts from 1 Thessalonians (Part 3)

First Thessalonians 3 makes it very clear that Paul was under no “illusions” about what it would “cost” to be a faithful Christian. He sent Timothy to Thessalonica to strengthen the saints there, in the face of opposition from their community (he was himself worried for their welfare, vv. 1-2). In verse 4, Paul also alludes to his own hard circumstances when he was there. In Acts 17 we read of how Paul and Silas had been “hounded” from Thessalonica…

Basic Facts from 1 Thessalonians (Part 2)

The entire message of 1 Thessalonians 1 could be very well-summarized in the word “sacrifice.” Paul commends these Christians for having “paid the price” in order to become Christians. In verse 6, they had willingly accepted the gospel message, despite opposition. By this, Paul says they had become shining examples not just to other Christians in their own mountainous, poverty-stricken region of Macedonia (northern Greece) but also to the more “well-todo” saints who lived in Achaia, where Athens was located…

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…