Hidden and Revealed (Sun. Dec. 13)

The word of the day is “appear.”  In today’s reading of Colossians 3:4-11, St. Paul promises that when Christ returns, He will bring the faithful with Him to share His glory.  The Apostle proclaims, “When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory”  (vs. 4). The root of the Greek original text is “to make apparent.” Therefore, Christ’s appearance means more than that He “shows up.”  Rather, the term refers to the revelation of what is hidden.  More than that, it is the manifestation of the fundamental character of what is now unseen (Strong’s #5319, 1-20). Our Hidden Life At present, the wickedness of this present age conceals the true nature of Christ. …

Living in the Spirit, Walking in the Spirit (Sat. Dec.12)

The word of the day is “walk.”  Today St. Paul teaches that there is a difference between having life in the Spirit and living in the Spirit. Thus, in our reading of Galatians 5:22-6:22, St. Paul writes, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (vs. 25). The Holy Mystery of Baptism grants the baptized the “seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit” and  confers the power, illumination, and inspiration of the Spirit (Orthodox Church in America, “Baptism Service,” 2012). From then on, those who are washed and renewed in the baptismal font, indeed, “live in the Spirit” (vs. 25).  Having died to the “old life” of sin and death, they now wear the…

How Light and Immortality Came to Light (Fri. Dec.11)

The word of the day is “immortality.”  In today’s reading, we hear St. Paul proclaim the Gospel that Christ has “brought life and immortality” to light.  Our reading of 2 Timothy 1:1-2, 8-18 is a glorious beginning of Paul’s second letter to the young Bishop Timothy of Ephesus.  The Orthodox Study Bible notes that according to tradition, this was probably Paul’s last letter before His martyrdom in Rome about 67 AD.  Paul himself says that his “departure” from this world is “at hand” (vs. 4:6). Paul begins his letter by recalling that God has both saved us and given us a holy calling (vs. 9).  Once again, he sounds his constant theme that salvation has come to the faithful by…

Two Kinds of Riches and What to Do With Them (Thurs. Nov. 10)

The word of the day is “rich.”  If you are rich, “be rich in good works” (vs. 18).  That is Paul’s instruction in today’s reading from 1 Timothy 6:17-21.  In this passage, St. Paul closes his epistle with directives for the God-pleasing use of wealth.  He says, “Let them [the rich] do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share (vs. 18). Two Kinds of Riches There are all sorts of riches.  There are riches in this present age (vs. 17).  These are the riches that many desire  (9), the riches of money (vs. 10),  the riches of the haughty (vs. 17), and the riches that many store up for themselves on earth (Luke…

Contentment: a Form of Faith (Wed. Dec. 9)

The word of the day is “contentment.”  In our reading of 1 Timothy 5:22-6:11, St. Paul continues to instruct the young Bishop Timothy on establishing order in his congregation.  Paul especially denounces the troublemakers who think they can earn material benefit from their godliness.  Paul says that indeed, “Godliness with contentment is great gain” (vs. 6:5).  But it is not the profit that the agitators in Ephesus think it is. The word “gain” in the original Greek comes from the thought of providing for oneself.  (Strong’s #4200). Thus, it refers to the means of acquiring or gaining possession of something, such as money.  Paul charges that the congregation’s troublemakers believe that they can profit from their godliness, supposed piety, and…

Safeguarding Church Order (Tues, Dec. 8)

The word of the day is “charge.”  Today, we read 1 Timothy 5:11-21, and we find that St  Paul is still instructing the young Bishop Timothy on establishing order and harmony in his congregation.  In this passage, Paul continues to recommend policies on sensitive matters that might disrupt the congregation’s life.  Among these volatile topics are the treatment of young widows (vs. 11-15), the wages of the elders (presbyters) (vs. 17-18),  accusations against elders (vs. 19), and the judgment against elders convicted of open sin (vs. 20). Today, we learn that the Apostle’s instructions are not merely recommendations that can be “bent” to the leader’s own interests and purposes. They are unbending commands for the good order of the Church.…

A Measure of Piety: The Care of Widows (Mon. Dec. 7)

The word for the day is “widow.”  In our reading of 1 Timothy 5:1-10, St. Paul gives practical instructions for caring for the widows in Timothy’s congregation who are especially vulnerable.  Paul directs that the church should support widows who do not have a family to support them (vs. 3). But the Apostle teaches that “If any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents…” (vs. 3). Both the Old and New Testaments pay special attention to the plight of widows.  In ancient society, most often, women had no means of support besides their husbands.  The word “widow” in Greek refers to those women who have suffered loss, are…

Taking Advantage of the Time (Sun. Dec. 6)

The word of the day is “redeem.”  In our reading of Ephesians 5:9-19, St. Paul fixes his eyes on the horizon at the end of history, the coming of Christ in glory.  As we wait for Christ to establish the New Age of His Kingdom, St. Paul urges his flock to “walk circumspectly, not as fools but wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil” (vs. 15-16). In our reading, Paul urges his flock in Ephesus to live in the light of Christ’s coming.  They are to be awake—watchful and alert and ready to greet the approaching advent of Christ.  In Paul’s view, the Lord’s return is close at hand. Therefore, he advises his flock to “walk circumspectly,” They…

Living by the Law or Living by Faith (Sat. Dec. 5)

The word of the day is “faith”  In our reading of Galatians 3:8-12, St. Paul maintains that those who God counts as righteous cannot live by doing works of the Mosaic Law.  But, the Apostle says, “The just will live by faith” (vs. 12). Paul’s argument that faith, not works, gives life is two-fold.  First, the Apostle notes that before  God gave the Law to Moses, the Almighty gave a universal promise to Abraham. The Almighty pledged that He would bless all the peoples of the world “in Abraham” (vs 8).   The Apostle taught that already before Moses, David, and the prophets, inspired scripture foresaw that the Gentiles would receive the fulfillment of this divine promise to Abraham.  God would…

Timothy’s Spiritual Workout (Fri. Dec. 4)

The word of the day is “training.”  In our reading of 1 Timothy 4:4-8, 16, St. Paul motivates Timothy to train vigorously, in piety and holiness.  He states, “For bodily exercise profits a little but godliness is profitable for all things…” (vs. 8). In our reading, Paul recommends “exercise” to combat the spiritual depravity that his opponents are fostering through their “old wives tales” (vs. 7).  But he promotes spiritual over physical workouts. The word “exercise” refers to vigorous training for the Greek games (Strong’s #1128, 62).  As a professional athlete, he must dedicate himself in mind and spirit to developing his spiritual condition. Godliness: an Inner State of the Heart His training should be in “godliness.”  This term combines…