Trials May Produce Growth in Faith (Fri. Oct. 30)

The word of the day is “encourage .”  In our reading of Colossians 2:1-7, St. Paul encourages the believers in Colossae who face the challenge of false teachers who threaten to undermine their faith.  He commends them for their “good order and steadfastness of their faith” (vs.5). Paul rejoices in their persistence despite the persuasiveness of the heretics (vs. 4). The Apostle discloses his “great conflict” for those in Colossae, neighboring Laodicea,  and others in the region that he has not seen face to face. (vs. 1).  From the Greek word for “conflict,” we get the English word “agony.”  Paul is saying that he is in agony for the believers because of the external threat to their faith (Strong’s #73,5).…

The Ladder of the Knowledge of Christ (Tuesday, October 27)

The word of the day is “knowledge.”  Today we begin reading St. Paul’s letter to the  Colossians.   In this passage of Chapter 1:1-2, 7-9, the Apostle writes that he constantly prays for the congregation at Colossae, near Ephesus.  As we open this epistle, we immediately note Paul’s special concern and why he wrote the letter. Paul prays “that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (vs. 9). Paul Confronts False Knowledge You see, St. Paul writes  to refute an early form of the heresy of “Gnosticism.”  He refers to this false teaching in Chapter 2:9; “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit according to the tradition of men…”…

Worship That Ascends to the Throne of God (Thurs. Oct. 22)

The word of the day “Spirit.”  In our reading of Philippians 3:1-8, St. Paul warns again about the Judaizers who would persuade the Philippians to be circumcised to become true Christians. The Apostle cautions that circumcision is merely an outward sign in the physical body, the “flesh.” What counts is the “circumcision of the heart” as the prophet Jeremiah declared” (Jeremiah 4:4).  To this Word of the prophet, Paul adds, “…and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter” (Romans 2:29). Worship Inspired and Empowered by the Spirit If so, then Paul can say without hesitation, “We are the circumcision.”  St. John Chrysostom asks, “Which is superior, the soul or the body?  Evidently the…

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…