November 17th

Philippians 1-2

  • 1:1-6 – Paul begins most of his letters with a warm greeting and encouragement on how thankful he is that the recipients of the letter are partnering with him in living out and spreading the gospel of Christ.
  • 1:12-14 – Though other believers may have been concerned about facing similar persecution as Paul, he assures them that it has been worth it because of how it has advanced the gospel.
  • 1:21 – Paul offers several poetic yet slightly cryptic sayings like this throughout his letters. Paul basically means that if he’s alive, he’s going to be serving Christ. When he dies, he’ll get to be with Christ.
  • 1:27-30 – Paul calls the Philippians to live with integrity in their faithfulness so that others who are watching would be convinced of their salvation.
  • 2:1-11 – Paul calls the Philippians to humble themselves and serve in a similar fashion as Jesus did.
  • 2:19-24 – Timothy was a young man Paul had taken under his wing. Paul commissioned him to spread the gospel as well.

November 16th

Ephesians 5-6

  • 5:1-5 – Following Christ is an act of allowing ourselves to be transformed to look more and more like him. We cannot continue on sinning and say that we are being transformed.
  • 5:6-14 – There are lots of folks who will try to steer us off our pursuit of following Christ. This is easiest when our sins are hidden. When we bring them to the light they are far easier to deal with.
  • 5:22-33 – This passage is often disliked and/or ignored in modern society. But if both spouses choose to love and respect one another as Scripture calls us to, both parties get a really good deal.
  • 6:5-9 – Though we are free, this is a good word for how each of us should work too. We are to work hard for good. That good will be returned to us.
  • 6:10-17 – These verses remind us that God gives us all kinds of tools to protect us from any attacks that might come our way. We simply have to use them.

 

November 15th

Ephesians 3-4

  • 3:6-7 – Paul’s specific mission was to share the gospel of redemption with gentiles. Some others, including Peter, felt called to share the gospel with Jews.
  • 3:14-19 – It’s funny that we now often fear offending people by sharing the gospel. The gospel is meant for our good. Knowing Christ means knowing the vastness of God’s love, which is a blessing.
  • 3:20-21 – The power of God is impossible for us to fully imagine. He can do all things.
  • 4:1-7 – Paul urges the Ephesians to be of one mind and heart. He reminds them that they were all saved by the same means and should use this as a bond.
  • 4:11-16 – God had equipped the Ephesian believers through a variety of helpers so that they could mature in their faith and not be swayed so easily by false prophets or temptations.
  • 4:17-20 – This is referring to Gentiles who have not been saved. The majority of Paul’s ministry was to Gentiles, so he obviously didn’t write them all off as heathens.

4:25-31 – Paul urges the Ephesians to avoid temptation and sin. This is not an exhaustive list, but most likely one that spoke to common temptations the Ephesians were facing

November 14th

Ephesians 1-2

  • 1:3-10 – Paul praises God for allowing he and his fellow believers to know God and his grace. He thanks God for his plan of salvation.
  • 1:15-23 – This is Paul’s prayer for the church that the Ephesians would understand God’s great works and the gifts he had given them.
  • 2:1-2 – The price for sin is death. When we sin but have not accepted God’s grace and forgiveness through Christ, we are dead in our sin.
  • 2:4-10 – God offers us grace, which is a free gift, so no one can consider themselves higher or greater than anyone else. We are all in need of the good gifts of God through salvation.
  • 2:18-22 – Though grace should humble us, it also exalts us to equality with all the saints. We are heirs to God’s kingdom with Jesus and all the saints.

November 13th

Galatians 5-6

  • 5:1 – Christ died for us in order to set us free from the slavery of sin. Yet some of the Israelites were trying to put themselves back under the yolk of the law.
  • 5:5-6 – We are no longer under any covenant other than that of Christ’s death and resurrection. We do not need to conform to those laws or practices, but simply need to rely on the grace of Christ.
  • 5:7-12 – Like at the beginning of the letter, Paul is shocked that the Galatians have so quickly forgotten or turned away from what he taught them.
  • 5:12 – This is obviously a little harsh, but also a play on the fact that those he opposes are teaching circumcision.
  • 5:13-15 – Just because we are not under the law anymore does not mean our lives are meant to be a free for all. Our freedom in Christ should lead us to become more like Christ. One way we can do that is to love our neighbors as ourselves.
  • 5:22-23 – The “fruit of the Spirit” are the things that our lives should produce when we are living through the Spirit. Paul states that neither Jews nor Gentiles would have laws against someone producing these wonderful things.
  • 6:1-5 – We are to care for our friends and help each other out with our difficulties. We have to be careful not to allow this practice to cause us to take on the other person’s sins though.
  • 6:7-10 – From the good we do in the world, good things come. This might mean we are blessed or someone else is, but good comes.

November 12th

Galatians 3-4

  • 3:1-6 – Paul implores the Galatians to live out their salvation and not to try to be justified by works or to live simply as if they were never saved.
  • 3:10-14 – Paul is explaining that it is impossible for humans to obey the law fully and the law, by its nature, requires us to obey it fully. Thus, if we attempt to be justified through the law, we are doomed to fail.
  • 3:21-22 – Paul explains that God didn’t give the law to the people in order to doom them. It was designed for them to follow but since they were unable, he gave them Jesus.
  • 3:23-29 – People, as we still do today, were constantly looking for what separated them or made them better or more worthy. Paul makes it clear that once you have been baptized into the faith, we are all equal in the sight of the Lord and heirs to God’s inheritance.
  • 4:4-7 – Jesus’ being a Jew and being born under the law gave him legitimacy to the Jews.

November 11th

Galatians 1-2

  • 1:6-9 – Jesus warns about this kind of “hearer of the word” in the parable of the 4 seeds. He explains that some hearers shoot up quickly but don’t have roots so they burn up quickly. The Galatians were quick to turn to another option after they had accepted the gospel of Christ.
  • 1:10 – This is difficult, but a challenge we should all pursue: to work to please God instead of man.
  • 1:12-14 – In Paul’s early years, he was a Christian-persecuting Jew. He cannot take credit for what Christ did in him because it was against all odds.
  • 2:7-8 – Peter’s mission was to share Christ with the Jews while Paul’s was to share Christ with the gentiles. They were equally important missions.
  • 2:11-14 – The “circumcision party” was a group of people who believed that salvation still required the outward symbol of circumcision. These were folks who were Jewish but became believers. Paul did not believe circumcision was necessary.
  • 2:15-16 – Paul lumped circumcision in with any other work someone said was required for salvation.
  • 2:20-21 – Some of the most beautiful verses in Scripture that are often misunderstood. This is to say that Paul’s flesh and sinful nature died with Christ on the cross and now Christ’s righteousness should live through him. We don’t get to say we’re saved by Christ and then go on living the same way as before.

November 10th

2 Corinthians 11-13

  • 11:3-6 – Paul fears that though the Corinthians are currently devoted to Christ and his gospel, they could easily be swayed.
  • 11:12-15 – This is why it’s difficult to recognize sin. The devil, and those who follow him, make it difficult to decipher good from evil. They make them both look the same.
  • 11:19-21 – Apparently the Corinthians were very patient with those who wronged them. Paul admits he did not have that kind of strength.
  • 11:22-29 – These are Paul’s credentials. This is what he’s been willing to endure for the sake of Christ.
  • 12:7-9 – Most theologians believe that Paul did have some sort of infirmity that he wanted to get rid of but could not. This kept him humble and may have also been a hindrance from moving quickly and traveling easily.
  • 12:10 – It is often our difficulties that cause us to better relate to others with difficult conditions. They also allow us to be more thankful. Paul also realized that these are often the places where we are actually strongest.
  • 12:14-15 – Paul describes himself as a type of spiritual father to the Corinthians explaining that he was not trying to get anything from them. He was just trying to offer them salvation. His goal was to give to them, not take away.
  • 12:20-21 – Paul was fearful that the Corinthians were not actually living faithfully and he would be confronted with a failure in his ministry.
  • 13:1-3 – Clearly the Corinthians were questioning the validity of Paul’s message and it was showing in their actions.
  • 13:5-10 – Paul is doing everything he can to ensure the Corinthians return to faithfulness. He assures them that he is not asking this of them for his own sake, but for theirs. He hopes to not have to come down on them when he visits.

November 9th

2 Corinthians 9-10

  • 9:6-8 – Sowing sparingly or bountifully doesn’t have to do with amount. Rather, it is about our willingness to give of what we have and trust God with what we’ve been given. We should not do so begrudgingly but cheerfully.
  • 9:10-12 – Paul makes it clear that everything we have is from God and that God gives to us so that we can bless others.
  • 10:2-6 – Paul is hoping he doesn’t have a major spiritual battle to fight when he is with the Corinthians. He is not shy to do so, but he’s hoping there’s not a need there.
  • 10:11 – Paul doesn’t just ask others to live faithfully, he does so himself.
  • 10:17-18 – Our only boasts should be in what the Lord has done in the world and in us.

November 8th

2 Corinthians 7-8

  • 7:5-7 – Paul’s unquenchable joy is so apparent here. He explains to the Corinthians the difficulties he has faced, but continues to rejoice in hearing of other believers joining in the battle with him.
  • 7:9 – Paul is ok with the Corinthians feeling a little bit of pain because it led to the ultimate good of repentance.
  • 7:13-16 – Though much of the content of Paul’s letters was rebuke and instruction, he delighted when new believers acted in Christ-like ways. This is why both he and Titus rejoiced.
  • 8:3-5 – Paul is encouraging and challenging the Corinthians in their faith by sharing about the Macedonians’ faith in action. They were giving from what they had and committed to God and the apostles.
  • 8:8-15 – Paul encourages the Corinthians to be generous with those in need. He is kind of preaching a common pot that everyone draws from so whether you put in lots or little, everyone ends up with what they need.
  • Titus was one of Paul’s co-laborers. He was a trusted friend of Paul’s. Paul is letting the Corinthians know that Titus and two others will soon come to Corinth to raise money and spread the gospel.
  • 8:24 – Paul gives the Corinthians encouragement to live up to all the great things he’s been saying about them.