Paul’s Imperatives for Worship (Wed. Dec. 7)

Paul’s Imperatives for Worship (Wed. Dec. 7) The word of the day is “order.”  In our reading of 1 Timothy 1:18-20; 2:8-15, St. Paul begins his directives about establishing good order in the church.  He starts with the subject of public worship.  The apostle writes that men should lift up holy hands without “wrath and doubting” (8).   And women should dress in a way that becomes “godliness and good works” (10). The selection of this reading gives the impression that its focus is on women’s behavior in worship.  However, in this epistle, the apostle speaks of kings and civil authorities, men, bishops, deacons, elders (presbyters), older men, older women, widows, elders, bondservants, and the wealthy.  The duties, qualifications, and care of these…

The Law Cuts Two Ways (Tues. Dec. 6)

The word of the day is “law.”  In our reading of 1 Timothy 1:8-14, Paul corrects the false teachings of those who have an erroneous understanding of the law of God.  The Apostle writes, “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully” (vs. 8). Paul composes his letter to warn about deceitful teachers who are misleading the faithful.  To counteract this threat, Paul writes to clarify his teaching of the law.  Some seem to have the impression that Paul is against the law and/or that it is no longer valid for believers in Christ.  But here Paul says that the law, that is, the Mosaic Law, is still beneficial.  Thus, The Orthodox Study Bible says, “The law is good, but it cannot be kept.  It…

Leading and Serving with Pure, Genuine, and Faithful Love (Mon. Dec. 5)

The word of the day is “love.”  In our reading of 1 Timothy 1:1-7, Paul instructs Timothy, the young Bishop of Ephesus, on the pastoral leadership and care of his flock (OSB “Introduction to 1 Timothy”).  He states the purpose that he wants his teaching to accomplish (Strong’s #5056).  Thus he writes, “Now the purpose of the commandment [my instruction] is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith” (OSB vs. 5).  Though directed at church leadership, we can apply this same counsel to our calling of ministry in our own relationships. The Purpose of the Directives Paul begins with the “purpose” of the directives of his letter (vs. 5).  Note his concern.  He doesn’t mention the worldly aspects of…

Keeping the Unity of the Spirit (Sun. Dec. 4)

The word of the Day is “unity.”  In our reading of Ephesians 4:1-6, St. Paul urges the congregation in Ephesus to live in a way that preserves the oneness of the Church.  The Apostle pleads with them to “walk worthy of [their] calling… endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (vs. 3). Unity is a gift of Christ.  Paul states, “For He Himself [Christ] is our peace who has made both [Jew and Greek] one and has broken down the middle wall of separation.  He, therefore, is the “one Lord” who reconciles us to God and one another. Unity Is “Of the Spirit” But unity is also “of the Spirit.”   The early community of…

Christ Delivered Himself to Deliver Us (Sat. Dec. 3)

The word of the day is “deliver.”  In our reading of Galatians 1:3-10, St. Paul recounts the mercy of Jesus Christ who sacrificed Himself for our sins (vs. 4).  The Apostle writes that Christ “gave Himself for our sins that He might deliver us from the present evil age according to the will of our God and Father” (vs. 4). The idea of deliverance governs this whole cryptic sentence.  Our English translations obscure the relationship between the two forms of deliverance that  Paul describes in this passage. Reduced to its basic structure, however, Paul teaches that Christ delivered Himself that we might be delivered. “To Deliver” Meaning  “To Hand On” The Orthodox Study Bible reads that Christ “gave Himself for our sins” (vs.4).  However, the usage of…

Idleness and Well-Doing (Fri. Dec. 2)

]The word of the day is “well-doing.”  In our reading of 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18, St. Paul warns against idleness and encourages all members of the congregation in Thessalonica to work for their living.  The Apostle commands the loafers in the congregation to “work in quietness and eat their own bread” (vs. 12).  Conversely, he directs the workers in the church “not to grow weary in well-doing” (vs. 11). In this passage, Paul contrasts an undisciplined with a productive life.  When he charges some church members with “walking in a disorderly manner,” “walking” is a metaphor for one’s conduct of life (Strong’s #4043, 199).  The “disorderly” way of life concerns Paul because in Greek, “disorderly” is a military term for being “insubordinate” (Strong’s #813,…

Idleness and Well-Doing (Fri. Dec. 2)

The word of the day is “well-doing.”  In our reading of 2 Thessalonians 3:6-18, St. Paul warns against idleness and encourages all members of the congregation in Thessalonica to work for their living.  The Apostle commands the loafers in the congregation to “work in quietness and eat their own bread” (vs. 12).  Conversely, he directs the workers in the church “not to grow weary in well-doing” (vs. 11). In this passage, Paul contrasts an undisciplined with a productive life.  When he charges some church members with “walking in a disorderly manner,” “walking” is a metaphor for one’s conduct of life (Strong’s #4043, 199).  The “disorderly” way of life concerns Paul because in Greek, “disorderly” is a military term for being “insubordinate” (Strong’s #813,…

Chosen as God’s Own (Thurs. Dec. 1)

The word of the day is “chose.” Yesterday’s reading ended with Paul’s warning that the “man of lawlessness” (the Antichrist) will appear at the end of time. But he should not deceive them (vs. 9). However, now Paul reassures the believers in Thessalonica that they are not among those who will perish in delusion and unbelief. The Apostle writes, “…God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (13). The Greek term for “chose” is rooted in the thought of “taking something for oneself” ( #138, 8). The )emphasis is not on favoring one thing over the other. The focus is on making something one’s own. This thought appears first in…

The Love of the Truth (Wed. Nov. 30)

The word of the day is “truth.”  In our reading of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, St. Paul cautions his congregation in Thessalonica about false prophecies of the Lord’s Second Coming.   The Apostle advises them not to be “soon shaken in mind or troubled” when they hear that the Second Coming of Christ has already happened (vs. 2). “The Man of Lawlessness” Paul reminds his congregation of his teaching of certain signs of the imminent return of Christ.  These signals of the end time will include a period of apostasy or faithlessness.  Then a mysterious character,  the “man of lawlessness,” will appear (vs. 3). The Greek word refers to one who sets himself against the law (Strong’s #458, 28).  He is the epitome of…

Glorified in the Saints and In Us (Tues. Nov. 29

Once again, the word of the day is “glorified.”  In our reading of 2 Thessalonians 1:10-2:2, St. Paul writes that he prays constantly for his congregation as they face trials that he does not name. His concern is not on what the Thessalonians should do to prevail in their troubles. His focus is on God’s work in them. Thus, he prays “that the name of Christ may be glorified in you and you in Him according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ” (vs. 12). Paul has just promised that when Christ returns in glory, he will be “glorified in his saints” (vs. 10). But now he applies that thought to all those who believe in…