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…

Mutual Submission: The Way of Christ (Tues. Oct. 6)

The word of the day is “submit.”  In today’s reading of Ephesians 5:20-26, St. Paul begins to outline the duties of family members in the “Household Codes.”  The Apostle writes, “… giving thanks always to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in fear of Christ” [1] (vs. 20 NAS). We should note that this verse is the transition to the “Table of Household Duties” section of Paul’s letter that follows.  But it is more than that.  It is the heading of the Code.  If so, then, whatever their separate duties may be, St. Paul teaches that all household members should serve one another “out of reverence for Christ”  (NIV). The Exaltation…

The Mature Have a Compass: Thurs. Oct. 1

The word of the day is “truth.”  In today’s reading of Ephesians 4:14-19, St. Paul speaks about maturity in Christ.  The Apostle recognizes that the  Ephesians are being “built up” as the Body of Christ (vs. 12).  By the spiritual gifts of ministry, they are advancing toward the “unity of faith and the [full and perfect l] knowledge of the Son of God” (vs. 13). Becoming Full Grown in Christ When they reach the standard of the “fullness of Christ,” they will become full-grown and complete (vs. 13; Strong’s 5046, 248). To attain this end, St. Paul advises that they should “no longer be children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine…”  (vs. 14). Rather they…

What’s a “Word of the Day”?

Every day I will use one word as a key to comprehending and remembering the message of the daily reading. I call it the “Word of the Day.” One word? How can one reduce a whole passage to one term? Well, I don’t intend to use that word to reduce or simplify the message. I will use it as a keyword, a tool to organize the thoughts of a passage so that we can comprehend and remember it. Some educators say that keywords are more than ways to search for information on the Internet. They have an essential role in understanding and memory. This learning theory holds that we do not learn in isolated and individual units of information or…

No-Frills: Nothing Fancy

If you are looking for engaging anecdotes and interest-grabbing stories to enhance your reading of scripture, you won’t find them here. This is a no-frills venture. Nothing fancy. Nothing to take focus away from the biblical text. I have found that people often respond to the illustration and to remember the one-liner rather than the message of the Word. But let us set aside every distraction, even if it would entertain us, and let us cut to the chase. The scriptures should speak directly to us. Before its introduction, before its exemplification, before its application, before anything else, the text must cut like a sword to the heart. What are the words of scripture saying? That is what counts. In…

The Story of This Blog

It began as a response to the Covid-19 virus. I had just finished teaching a three-part series on David C. Ford’s translation of Saint John Chrysostom’s Letters to Saint Olympia (St. Vladimir’s Press, 2016). I did not realize at the time how timely the subject of despondency (depression) was. But then the Covid-19 virus shut down everything—even our worship and fellowship at St. John’s the Evangelist Orthodox Church in Tempe, AZ. As I read the many requests for prayers on St. John’s social network, I wondered what I could offer to my hurting fellow parishioners. I decided to post comments on Dr. David C. Ford’s excellent translation of the St. John’s letters. I highlighted each of these entries with a…