October 20th

Romans 1-2

  • 1:1-7 – There is a lot of information crammed in these verses.
    • 1) Paul is writing this.
    • 1-2) Paul was set apart to be an apostle of Jesus.
    • 2) We knew the truth of the gospel – aka Jesus’s birth, ministry, death, and resurrection – because it was revealed through the prophets.
    • 3) Jesus was descended from David.
    • 4) Jesus was God in flesh and God’s power raised him from the dead.
    • 5-6) Jesus empowers apostles to bring others to him, including many who would hear this particular message.
    • 7 – This letter was written to the people of Rome.
  • 1:8-15 – Paul had been eager to go to Rome, where he was a citizen, because he had heard of the faith of many there and wanted to help strengthen that faith.
  • 1:16-17 – We often see the gospel as offensive and we’re afraid to share it. Paul knew that it was good news and brought life. He was not ashamed.
  • 1:20 – This verse explains that God’s character and attributes are revealed through creation – aka we can know that he gives us new life when we see leaves reappear on trees in the spring, or we can see his power and majesty through the mountains, etc. This is an answer to many people who wonder about people who have never heard about God. They have seen him all around them.
  • 1:22-23 – It is easier to worship the things we see, touch, and are familiar with. This is why the Israelites wanted some tangible thing, even just a golden calf, to convince themselves that there was a god to worship and take care of them.
  • 1:24-27 – Four times in a row, Paul explains that people exchanged God’s perfect plan for something counterfeit. He explains that God gave the people over to the counterfeit thing they desired.
  • 1:28-32 – Those who are not righteous not only practice these things that are listed, but they also encourage others to practice them as well.
  • 2:1-5 – We often misinterpret “judgment”. We think we’re not allowed to determine if something is good or bad, when in fact, we must decide this to function. When we are told not to judge others it is telling us that we should not and cannot condemn others. We too are sinners and do not have the authority to condemn.
  • 2:12 – Those without the law are non-Jews. “The law” refers to the laws Moses handed down. Whether we sin against the law or against God himself, we are all sinners and are deserving of death.
  • 2:13-16 – This passage can be more easily understood if it’s read like: 13(14-15)16. In short, this tells us that those who don’t even know the Mosaic law were able to fulfill parts of it. Doing what the law says and/or intends, whether you know what it says or not, is far more important than simply knowing it.
  • 2:17-24 – Some Jews held their heritage as a reason why they were closer to God or more holy than gentiles. Paul calls them out recognizing that all, no matter their heritage, are only saved by faith in Jesus.
  • 2:25-29 – We might compare the way that they were counting their circumcision as holiness to when people simply come to church these days and count that as holiness or salvation. What we look like or appear to be is not the same as having Christ as our salvation.

October 19th

Acts 27-28

  • 27:9 – Ancient Jews timed their sailing seasons around the various festivals because of the weather that accompanied those times of years. Sailing after the Fast, which was the Day of Atonement, which was around September, was treacherous.
  • 27:30-32 – The sailors were desperate and wanted to save themselves thinking they would be better off without all the other ship passengers. Paul recognizes their attempt and explains that if they leave the rest of the passengers are doomed.
  • 27:33-36 – Whether because they were too busy with managing the storm or because they wanted to conservatively ration in case they had to be on the boat a lot longer, the people hadn’t been given food for a while even though they had it.
  • 27:38 – With a lighter load, the ship could sail closer to shore because it would float higher.
  • 28:8 – Because of the snake incident, the people already thought Paul was a god. His ability to heal Publius’ father as well as the other ill people probably only solidified this thought.
  • 28:16 – Remember that Paul is still technically imprisoned and awaiting trial in front of Caesar by his own request.
  • 28:20 – He’s referring to Jesus as “the hope of Israel.”
  • 28:25-28 – It would make sense that the Jews should have recognized Jesus as the Messiah since he fulfilled so many of the prophecies they knew. Many, however, were unable to see it. The gentiles didn’t have as many preconceived notions of who the Messiah should be, so they were more open to Jesus being it.
  • 28:29 – Did anyone else notice that there’s no Acts 28:29? One does exist, and it’s pretty inconsequential, but many translations leave it out.

October 18th

Acts 25-26

  • 25:7-12 – Like with Jesus, the Romans technically did not have to answer to Jewish law, but the Jewish leaders put a great deal of pressure on them to convict people for breaking their laws.
  • 25:22 – Agrippa was actually King Herod Agrippa, the last of the Herods
  • 26:4-8 – The Jews longed for a Messiah. This is what Paul is referring to in verse 6 when he talks about a promise they hoped in. Most Jews simply did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah.
  • 26:19-23 – Paul, having been a very devout Jew his whole life, knew all the prophecies and what faithful Jews believed. He is able to appeal to them using the testimonies of Moses and the prophets, whom the Jews greatly revered, to confirm what he was preaching.
  • 26:28-29 – Paul basically drops the mic here. He wants King Agrippa to become a Christian as well as everyone else within earshot.

26:32 – It is not absurd to think that Paul knew he could have gotten out of prison quicker if he hadn’t appealed to Caesar, but did it anyway because his ultimate goal was to evangelize in front of more people, particularly those at the top

October 17th

Acts 23-24

  • 23:3 – “Whitewashed wall” is a metaphor for a hypocrite. Looks good on the outside, but who knows what it’s hiding.
  • 23:11 – God gives Paul a clear charge. He was faithful in sharing the gospel in Jerusalem even though it wasn’t well received and he should now do the same in Rome.
  • 23:16-35 – The Romans do not allow the Jews to kill Paul, but they also do not release him.
  • 24:22-27 – It seems as if Felix might come to faith based on Paul’s teachings, but it doesn’t seem that he does. Instead he leaves Paul in prison, which means he has now been in prison for 2 years.

October 16th

Acts 21-22

  • 21:10-14 – Though Christian persecution was rampant in Jerusalem, Paul knew he had to go there. All his companions tried to convince him not to, but he was well prepared to face persecution for the sake of the gospel.
  • 21:23-24 – These four men had taken the Nazirite vow. At some time before the vow they must have done something against the vow they were taking, which caused them to need to shave their heads and be purified for 7 days. Paul sponsors them financially.
  • 21:28-29 – It was illegal to bring a non-Jew into the temple and Trophimus was Greek. It seems that Paul did not actually do this and even if he had, according to the law, the people should have attacked Trophimus, not Paul.
  • 22:4-16 – Paul addresses his captors by sharing his conversion experience and why he switched from devout Jew who persecuted Christians to tireless Christian from a Jewish background.
  • 22:17-21 – The Jews in the synagogues knew Paul’s past and it seemed to be a barrier for some of them to believe what he now believed – that Jesus was the Messiah. Thus, God sent him to the Gentiles.

22:25 – It was illegal to use whips to gain a confession from a Roman citizen. Clearly the powers that be were unaware of his citizenship.

October 15th

Acts 19-20

  • 19:13-20 – The Ephesians had seen Paul cast out evil spirits and some people wanted to do the same by using magic. It backfired and caused a lot more people to follow Jesus.
  • 19:23-27 – It is no new thing that people are persuaded to be unfaithful in order to secure or grow their finances.
  • 19:32-34 – A case of mob mentality.
  • 19:35-41 – The mob is disassembled, but the issue is not resolved.
  • In case you’re getting confused about Paul’s journeys – where he’s been and where he’s headed, here is a map of all of his travels (use saved pic instead of link). Oh, and who knew, but there’s a board game of Paul’s journeys as well, for some good old fashioned holy family fun.
  • 20:7-12 – Peter was able to raise Tabitha from the dead and Paul raises this young man. It seems like it was the right thing to do considering Paul had literally bored him to death.
  • 20:18-35 – Paul, on this his third of four journeys, knows his ministry on earth is coming to an end, but he is satisfied with his own willing to suffer persecution in order to share the gospel.

October 14th

Acts 17-18

  • 17:1- Thessalonica is where Paul sent the Letter to the Thessalonians. He did not visit all the churches he wrote to, but this is one he did.
  • 17:2-9 – Jason was a local believer who allowed Paul and Silas to stay with him. He was punished with a fine for hosting the apostles.
  • 17:11-12 – People weren’t simply believe blindly, but were studying the Scriptures to discern and it led them to the truth.
  • 17:22-34 – Paul’s address to the people of Athens is powerful and convincing, even quoting some of their culture’s writings. As was always the case, some were convinced and some were not.
  • 18:5-6 – It is common through out Jesus’ and Paul’s ministries that they try to share the gospel with the Jews but when rejected they offer the same message to the gentiles.
  • 18:7-11 – The faithfulness and hospitality of Titius and Crispus allow Paul to stay and minister in Corinth for a year and a half.
  • 18:12 – Macedonia was the northern part of Greece. Achaia was the southern part. Corinth was located in Achaia.
  • 18:14-15 – Like with Jesus, the Jews bring their complaints to the state official.
  • 18:17 – Sosthenes was the chief ruler of the Corinthian synagogue.
  • 18:24-28 – Apollos had not yet been baptized in the Spirit, and still needed a little refinement in his teaching. The believers took him under their wing to help him grow in his faith

October 13th

Acts 15-16

  • 15:1-11 – Some Jews, who had become believers, still felt the need to cling to the law and the sign that they were set apart. Peter urges them that the law had not worked for salvation and so it is the grace of Jesus alone that saves.
  • 15:19-21 – Peter makes it clear that Jesus didn’t abolish faithfulness and living to please God. There were still standards. It was just important to know that the law wasn’t a means of salvation.
  • 15:39-40 – Church disputes happen because we’re human. Like this one, God works good through our failures. Now there are two teams ministering instead of the one they had before.
  • 16:1-5 – Timothy became Paul’s protégé. Paul circumcised Timothy, even though it was no longer truly necessary, to give him credibility with those he would minister to.
  • 16:10 – Note that the narrator goes from being simply a narrator to a participant by starting to use “we”. This is to indicate that Luke, the writer of Acts, has joined the mission team.
  • 16:16-24 – Paul drives the evil spirit out of the young women, but her owners, who profited off that spirit are not pleased. They get others on board and beat and imprison the apostles.
  • 16:25-34 – Paul and Silas are miraculously released from prison, but they stay and end up converting the jailer.

October 12th

Acts 13-14

  • 13:16-25 – Paul sums up the grace of God and the failures of the Israelites from Jacob to John the Baptist.
  • 13:26-41 – Paul explains how Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies the Jews read so frequently and longed to have fulfilled. He also warns them not to be the ones who fulfilled the prophecy that many people would not see and understand.
  • 13:44-47 – The Jews, who were jealous of Paul and Barnabas’ crowd, denounced what Paul was saying. Paul reminds them that Jesus came for them first but was rejected. The gentiles now had a shot.
  • 14:1-7 – Though the readings can be misinterpreted as such, the Jews weren’t bad. Throughout Acts, many come to faith. Some of the Jewish religious leaders, however, did oppose Jesus’ mission and ministry and cause problems.
  • 14:8-10 – Healings often happened because of faith. This one is simply because Paul saw faith in the crippled man.
  • 14:11-18 – The people assumed that Paul and Barnabas were their gods in human form. This, for obvious reasons, greatly distressed the men of God.
  • 14:19-23 – When Paul later writes about suffering for the sake of Christ, he is not speaking figuratively. He truly had suffered greatly to share the gospel.

October 11th

Acts 11-12

  • 11:2 – Yes, the “circumcision party” sounds like a terrible party, but this isn’t actually referring to a party with balloons and confetti. This is simply referring to a group of people who held to Jewish law and custom, but were believers in Christ.
  • 11:4-18 – It’s beautiful that these Jewish believers find great joy in God extending his grace and salvation to gentiles as well.
  • 11:26 – The term “Christian” means “little Christs”.
  • 12:3 – Passover was also when Jesus was arrested and killed.
  • 12:6-11 – A thrilling, 80’s, musical rendition of this story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNIO9KH3UC8.
  • 12:12-17 – They assumed that Peter would die in prison and were not expecting to see him.