“One Mind”: One Purpose (Fri. Oct. 16)

The word for the day is “mind.”  In today’s reading of Philippians 1:27-2:4, St. Paul begins to instruct his beloved congregation at Philippi on the way of life of the citizens of the Kingdom.  The Apostle writes, “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear that you stand fast in one spirit, with “one mind” striving together for the faith of the gospel” (vs. 27). The Conduct of the Fellow-citizens of Kingdom Paul has disclosed his uncertainty about whether he will survive his trial.  But to reassure his favorite church, he raises the hopes that he will come to see them again.  Meanwhile,…

Living in the World but Not for the World (Thurs. Oct. 15)

Editor’s Note: this is a revised version of a comment that I posted for Wednesday, October 14 in error. Thank you for bearing with me as I refine this blog. The Word of the Day is “flesh.”  In our reading of Philippians 1:20-27, we find that St. Paul’s life is suspended while he waits for his trial before the Roman Emperor.  Paul continues to proclaim the Gospel with such power that the whole palace guard and others know about his suffering for Christ. Moreover, his example has emboldened his associates and even his opponents to preach Christ freely. Torn Between Life on Earth and Life in Heaven But Paul cannot see too far ahead, because at any moment the guards…

In Trial Or Opposition: Paul Desires That Christ Be Magnified (Wed. Oct 14)

Editor’s Note: this post is for Wednesday, October 14. My apologies for the error!The word of the day is “magnified.”  St. Paul writes our reading of Philippians 1:12-20 as he faces his trial and possible execution.  Paul spent two years under house arrest. Yet at any time while he was “in chains,” Paul could be taken to court before the Roman Emperor. Our reading suggests that Paul waited in uneasy anticipation throughout those years. He hoped and prayed  that God would be magnified by his inevitable ordeal, whether in life or death.In our reading, the Apostle states he is “appointed for the defense of the gospel” at his trial (vs. 17). Therefore, he asks for the prayers of his beloved congregation. Because…

Making the Witness of Faith Evident

Making the Witness of Faith Evident The Word of the Day (Tuesday, October 13) The word of the day is “evident.”  Paul writes his letter to the Philippians  while under house arrest in Rome. We can imagine that his guards would come and go day and night.  Among them, St. Paul says, “…it has become evident that my chains are in Christ” (vs. 13).  The Greek word that Paul uses here is derived from the sense of shining, and it means that something has come to light (Strong’s #5318, 261).  Thus, Paul is reporting that it is manifest throughout the “palace guard” that  his imprisonment is for the sake of Christ. Because Paul’s witness to Christ is so open, many…

Thanking God with Joy

The word of the day from our reading of Philippians 1:1-7 is “joy.”  We know more about St. Paul than any of the other apostles with the possible exception of St. Peter. We have a well-rounded picture of Paul not only from the Book of Acts but his letters.  The frames of mind of these epistles range from sorrowful in parts of  1 Corinthians, relieved in other parts of 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians, theological in Romans,  emphatic in Galatians, mystical in parts of Ephesians and Colossians, instructive in other parts of Ephesians and Colossians, reassuring in 1 Thessalonians. Thanking God with Joy But in Philippians, St. Paul writes in an exalted mood of joy. In today’s reading, he begins…

Love Needs No Other Reason (Sun. Oct. 11)

The word of the day is “abound.”  People give to those in need with various attitudes and for many reasons.  But we learn in today’s reading of 2 Cor. 9:6-11, that we should give aid generously and with singleness of purpose.  In this passage, St. Paul speaks about his collection for relief of the fellow Christians who are starving in Jerusalem. The Apostle compares giving to the needy to sowing see     ds, and he says that the harvest depends on the sower’s liberality (vs. 6). Abounding in the Grace of Giving Note that God provides the seeds in the first place (vs. 9). The Almighty, who is rich in mercy (Eph. 2:4), has already made the faithful in Corinth…

The Glorious Resurrected Body and the Renewal of Creation (Sat. Oct. 10)

The word of the day is “incorruption.” In today’s reading of 1 Corinthians 15:39-45, we turn our attention from material things of the present to the futures’ spiritual things. In this passage, St. Paul speaks of our bodies’ transformation when God raises them from the dead. He writes that in the resurrection, “the body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption” (vs. 42). The Glorious Resurrected Body The Apostle describes how glorious our recreated bodies will be (vs. 42-45).   Now they are subject to corruption; that is, they are infected with inevitable decay and destruction (Strong’s #5356 & 5351, 263).  They are dishonored; that is, they are debased with shame and indignity (Strong’s #819, 46). They are weak;…

On Guard Against Satan: Watchful Prayer (Fri. Oct. 9)

The word of the day is “watchful. ” St. Paul closes his letter to the Ephesians with insights on prayer in today’s reading of Ephesians 6:18-24.  Just before our reading, Paul described the weapons that believers should use against the forces of wickedness (vs. 12).  Then fully armed,  the believers must stand guard, praying at all times with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (vs. 18).  They must be “watchful” as the Lord admonished Peter in the Garden on the night of His arrest (Matt. 26:41). The Greek word for “watchful” refers to being awake and alert, not merely to ward off sleep but to achieve a purpose (Strong’s #69, 4). Thus, we must stand in prayer like the…

Whatever Your Work: Do It “As To” Christ (Thurs. Oct. 8)

The word of the day is “slaves. ”  From today’s reading of Ephesians 5:33-6:9, we learn that whatever work we do, we should do “as to the Lord.”  In this passage, St. Paul address “bondservants,” that is, slaves (vs. 5) as well as their masters (vs. 9). The Orthodox Study Bible comments, “As with marriage, Paul does not seek to alter the existing social structure…” (OSB fn. on vs. 6:9).  Thus, Paul’s letters presume slavery but does not approve of it.  That is also true of many of the parables in the Gospels where English versions translate the Greek word for slave (doulos) as “servant” (Strong’s #1401, 72). Despite taking slavery for granted, Paul favors the status of freedom.  He…

Marriage in Focus: Harmony (Wed. October 7)

The word of the day is “harmony.”  In today’s reading of Ephesians 5:25-33, St. Paul discusses the duties of husband and wife in marriage.  As a camera focuses on one object to make the picture clear, so we will put the focal point on one thought to shed light on the whole passage. St. Paul suggests our focus when he gives the reason for the wife’s role in marriage.  He states, “And Paul would never without a reason and without an object have spent so much pains on this subject” (NFPF1 13 143.  What is that purpose?  It is concord as Chrysostom states, “because when they are in harmony, the children are well brought up, and the domestics are in…