August - Reading 11

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Aug 11, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening –

    We had a lot of great material today! First of all in Nehemiah we witness the opposition presented by Sanballat, a fellow Persian governor, to the Jews efforts to rebuild the wall. In verses 4:4-5 we see another example of the short personal prayer style shown to us by Nehemiah. Despite the jeers aimed at the Israelites they continued their efforts. Then Nehemiah’s opponents went a bit further with planned attacks and physical threats against the people rebuilding Jerusalem. We now come to what I consider another important lesson in Nehemiah. Verse 4:9 tells us that the Israelites both prayed and went into action. Neither effort would have been successful without the other. Lips that pray and hands that do is often the key to success in any of our efforts.
    Chapter 5 moves into a different dilemma faced by Nehemiah. This time the trouble is domestic. The economic conditions of the region were in dire straits. The heavy taxation imposed by the Persians accompanied by a widespread famine had caused inflation to skyrocket. As is often the case in such conditions, the few extremely wealthy benefited from the poor. Mortgages were being called in even to the expense of children and wives being sold into slavery. The lesson that we learn here is quite elementary: as fellow believers, it is detrimental to our testimony to treat each others well.

    The passage in Luke today is very interesting as well. There had been a lively discussion on this passage at some point up in theology but with the search function down, I am unable to access it. Briefly, however, the passage found in Luke 16:19-31 is likely a parable. However, this would be the only known parable of Christ in which a character is named. Also, though it is not specified that Lazarus is the same man which Christ brought back from death, the final verse indicates that it may be. It is also evident that the final verse refers to the impending death and resurrection of Christ Himself. This passage also gives us a glimpse into the afterlife, cryptic though it may be. This shows that either hell or Paradise are immediate upon death as the rich man still had brothers alive.

    2Timothy, the second Pastoral Letter was written at a down time in Paul’s life. He was alone in prison and part of the reason for the writing of this Epistle was to combat his own loneliness. Paul was also concerned about the persecutions committed by Nero and is adamant about Timothy preserving the Gospel message. The First Epistle to Timothy is written from relative comfort while this one is written from bondage.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Aaron

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    I loved Matthew Henry's comment on the last half of that verse: "Besides the future recompence, a good man has as much present pleasure in the restraints and exercises of religion as sinners can pretend to in the liberties and enjoyments of sin, and much more, and much better."

    Click here to read Henry's entire comment.
     
  4. Abiyah

    Abiyah
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    Amein to Aaron and Matthew Henry!

    Clint ---

    Regarding the Luke passage, I had been taught,
    some years ago, that because the stiory named
    a specific person, it was not a parable, but a
    real event that our Lord was relating. I am sure
    you have heard this. I am not sure that it mat-
    ters to us in this century whether or not it was
    a parable or a real incident: the messsage is
    our Lord's warning that there really is a hell,
    we need to do what it takes to stay away, and
    He provided a way.

    I willl be gone for a few days, so I will attempt
    to keep up to where you are. We are going
    camping. At least that was the plan, but we
    may not get to leave on time; my husband
    just told me I still have a fever. I have been
    quite sick for well over a week now and I am
    getting pretty tired of being in bed. 8o(
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Abiyah -

    I certainly hope and pray that you feel better.

    - Clint
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lecture - 4/18/04 part I

    2 Timothy
    Introduction

    Date and Place of Authorship


    The Epistle of 2Timothy has not avoided the scholarly debates so often associated with the Pastoral Letters as a whole. Beside the occasional attack of genuine authorship (see introduction to the Pastoral Letters) there is also a question of dating. There is no doubt from the contents of the Letter that Paul is imprisoned at the time. The question arises as to which imprisonment.

    Many commentators have placed 2Timothy earlier in the writings of Paul. They have conjectured that Paul wrote Timothy at about the same time as he wrote what we call the Prison Letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. From this view the same general questions arise as we discussed in the introductions of those Epistles. The imprisonment has generally been accepted to have been the first incarceration in Rome (Acts 28), though we can not completely dismiss the possibility of Ephesus or Caesera (Acts 23-26) as possible locations. If this view of an early writing is accurate, it would place the date of the Letter of 2Timothy anywhere between 54-62. For a brief analysis of the dating of the prison Letters, see the Introduction to Philippians.

    On the other hand, a wide array of commentators also contend for a late dating of the Letter. This view necessitates that we accept the theory put forth in the introduction to the Pastorals that Paul was released from his incarceration recorded in Acts 28 and then later re-arrested. Though we have no blatant Scriptural statement of such an event, it would explain the inconsistencies in the text of 2Timothy and the other Pastorals. We also have no reason to think that Luke gave an exhaustive and complete account in the Book of Acts as the story leaves off somewhat suddenly and abruptly. Should we accept the view of the later writing of this Epistle, it would put the dating of the Letter in 67 AD, Paul's last year of earthly life.

    Though it has minimal bearing on an exposition of such a personal Letter, the commentary for the next four Sundays will reflect the second proposition, that of the later writing. The reasons for rejecting the view of an early writing are as follows:

    (1) In the Prison Letters, Paul speaks of hope of release soon after his writing. In Philippians 2:24 Paul tells his audience that he hopes to come to them shortly. In Philemon 1:22 he tells Philemon " At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping that through your prayers I will be graciously given to you.." This contrasts sharply with his statement in 2Timothy 4:6-8.
    (2) In 2Timothy 4:16 Paul states, "At my first defense, no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me." While this could refer to more than one hearing during an imprisonment the most obvious interpretation is that Paul was released after this "first defense" and he states in verse 17, "But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth."
    (3) We also get certain clues when we cross reference the names of people and places mentioned in 2Timothy as compared to those mentioned in the Prison Letters. One may recall that both Philippians and Philemon end with a list of names of those that were present with Paul, among them Timothy himself. Mark and Demas, mentioned in Colossians as also being with Paul, are mentioned as being absent in 2Timothy.
    (4) In verse 20, Erastus is mentioned as aboding in Corinth. The Greek for the word rendered "abode" carries the connotation that the two had been traveling together and that one remained behind. Our last glimpse of Paul in Corinth according to Acts is in chapter 20, long before his first Roman imprisonment in the final chapter of Acts. This implies that Paul returned to Corinth after the recording in Acts. Further, Timothy was with Paul in Acts 20 as he left Corinth so there would be no need for Paul to inform the young minister of Erastus' whereabouts.

    Occasion

    Though the debate has raged for centuries over the actual dating and origin of the Letter, the setting is quite clear. Paul is in a dungeon awaiting a final trial that will probably lead to his martyrdom. He is cold as he calls for Timothy to bring his cloak. He is bored and restless as he calls for his writings, "books" of study and writing parchment. He has been forsaken by some of his associates. He is most likely hearing of, if not actually witnessing, the death of martyrs as Nero continues his onslaught against Christianity. It is against this backdrop that Paul writes his understudy, son in the ministry, and friend - Timothy.

    The Letter is somewhat bittersweet, as Paul's situation was pitiable. It was the end of an exhausting ministry complicated by betrayals, abandonment and health problems. Christianity was facing its greatest challenges since its inception as Nero persecuted, tortured and killed the believers. Though Paul believed that "to die is gain," he also felt that "to live is Christ" and certainly he must have remained torn betwixt the two (Philippians 1:21). In the final days of his mission, the churches under his charge still faced the threats of Judaism, Greek philosophies, paganism and a score of emerging heresies from Rome which he was never able to completely put down. It would have given the adversary ample opportunity to paint a bleak picture for the church planter as the executioner's sword loomed in the near future. Instead, Paul tells Timothy near the end of the Letter, " I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." The man's faith remains intact, his mission stays on course, and his focus remains on Christ right to the end.

    Assuming the later writing of the Epistle we can postulate that Paul's call in 1Timothy for the young man to stay in Ephesus was heeded. A much more personal correspondence than 1Timothy, this Letter is the aged Apostle's final recorded and preserved charge to a man that would carry the Gospel to the next generation. As the motif of 1Timothy is that of a general to a soldier, the motif of 2Timothy is the last will and testament of a father to his son.

    2Timothy 1

    If we accept the premise of the genuineness of authorship and late dating of this Letter, we realize that this is the last Epistle Paul wrote before his martyrdom. This characterizes the Letter as carrying a great amount of weight and every word calls for examination and measure. Though the entire Book can be read in a short sitting, we find a great deal of confirmation on the thought and doctrine of Paul, the Apostle. While not detracting from thought and doctrine (as they are of paramount importance to those of us who study and believe the Scriptures) this Letter offers us some unique, personal glimpses at Paul, the man, himself.

    The primary focus of the first chapter is to exhort Timothy to steadfastness as a Christian and as a minister. Bear in mind that as Timothy reads this Letter, he knows that Paul is in chains awaiting execution. He knows that many have turned away from the faith when they could not face the trials. Others have abandoned the Gospel to heresy. Paul writes the young missionary to encourage him to turn deep into his religion and stay the course.

    2Timothy 1:1-2 Greeting

    Paul's opening varies little from that of 1Timothy. That he introduces himself as an Apostle shows that he expected a wider audience than just Timothy for this Letter. His reference to the "will of God" is also found in 2Corinthians and Colossians and calls to mind his Damascus Road experience. Though the first verse is rigidly formal, his personal affection for Timothy becomes apparent in the second as he calls him "my beloved child (KJV - my dearly beloved son)".

    2Timothy 1:3-5 Thanksgiving for Timothy

    Paul here confirms that the God he serves is the same for the Jew and the Gentile when he states that his ancestors served the same One. We learn that Christianity is a continuation of the Promise of God made to the Jews. The phrase "with a clear (pure) conscience" modifies not just Paul's service but his forefathers' as well. His pride in his heritage reflects earlier statements such as Philippians 3:4-6.

    Paul reminds Timothy that as often as he prays he remembers him. Paul's prayers often included intercession for personal friends and he encourages us to do the same in 1Timothy 2:1.

    As Paul thinks of Timothy he remembers his tears and it arouses a longing to see him. We can only speculate at what this event may have been and why Timothy would be crying. It may be their parting in Acts 20:17-38 as Paul leaves Timothy in Ephesus. It is also safe to speculate that it may have been a meeting after Paul's release from his first imprisonment and subsequent arrest. In either case, Paul shows the intensity of his longing by stating that he remembers Timothy whether praying night or day. To see Timothy now, even at such a bleak hour, would fill Paul with joy.

    As Paul remembers Timothy, he recalls his "sincere" or "unfeigned" faith. He goes on to say that it was first formed in his mother, Eunice, and grandmother, Lois. We know from Acts 16:1 that Timothy was the son of a Greek father and a converted Jewish mother. The grandmother, Lois, is not named anywhere else in Scripture. Though we can conjecture that she, too, may have converted, there is no need to dismiss the possibility that Paul would subscribe "sincere faith" to a devout Jewish woman. Just as Paul could show pride in his Jewish ancestors' service to God (v.3), so too could Timothy.

    2Timothy 1:6-14 Paul's Confidence in God an Example to Timothy

    (6-7) The thought of Timothy's inherited faith and his confidence in Timothy's own faith causes Paul to urge Timothy to "rekindle" the "gift of God that is within [him]". This does not imply that Timothy had neglected his gift but rather it is a reminder that live embers need stirring to stay at their hottest. The reference of Paul personally laying on of hands to Timothy may suggest that Paul was present at the ordination of Timothy mentioned in 1Timothy 4:14.

    [ August 17, 2004, 10:40 AM: Message edited by: Clint Kritzer ]
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson – 12/26/04 - continued

    Luke 16:19-31 The Rich Man and Lazarus

    As with the first Passage of this chapter, interpreters remain divided on whether this account is a Parable or an actual account. If it is a Parable, it is unique in that it is the only one that names a character: Lazarus, which means “with the assistance of God.” It is highly improbable that this Lazarus is the brother of Mary and Martha spoken of in John 11.

    In the story the two extremes of society are represented. There is the rich man, clothed in purple, the most expensive of cloth because of the expense of the dye needed. His inner robe was linen, a costly fabric produced primarily in Egypt at this time. On the other side we have Lazarus, a poor man covered with sores who lays at the rich man’s gate. That he lays there suggests that he is crippled or very ill.

    In that time, bread served as a napkin for the wealthy and when it was discarded it was thrown under the table. Lazarus had established himself at the gate of the rich man’s house and kept himself alive by getting some of that bread. However, he remained so weak that he could not even fend off the dogs that came and aggravated his sores by licking them.

    It comes as no surprise to anyone that the poor beggar dies. He is then carried by angels to Abraham’s Bosom. That the beggar was in his bosom shows that he had been given a place of honor next to the father of all the righteous in Paradise.

    Now the shock comes into the story. The rich man also dies! Death is the great equalizer among men and now the roles are reversed between Lazarus and the rich man. Where before Lazarus was on the outside looking in, now the rich man was in hades looking over towards Lazarus. We learn that the rich man is also a descendant of Abraham but the story clearly shows that lineage has nothing to do with man’s relationship to God. Instead, Jesus tells us that the reason for the rich man’s plight is that he had received the “good things” during his life. He had made good clothing and good food his goal, his master, and now that they had failed him, he had no treasure to show. He had, in fact, let one of God’s creatures, a fellow child of Abraham, to die at his very gate. Lazarus, on the other hand, had asked God for help and in doing so received what he wanted most.

    The rich man calls out to Abraham to allow Lazarus to give him the most meager comfort in his anguish. If only he could just wet the tip of his tongue that small comfort may carry him. There is, unfortunately for the rich man, a chasm between them. The gulf that separated the rich man and Lazarus in life would have been easy to cross. It was a chasm made by man’s ego dug with ego and caste. The gulf that yawned between them now had been set by divine decree so that no interaction between the righteous and the wicked could transpire. In shutting out Lazarus in life, the rich man had shut out God as well.

    Now for the first time in the narrative the rich man thinks about others. He considers that his brothers are doomed to the same torment for the same actions as he and he pleads with Abraham to send Lazarus to their home so that he might warn them. Perhaps, even though Lazarus could not cross the chasm, he can cross back into the living. Abraham’s reply is that the brothers already have the witness of Moses (the Law) and the Prophets to warn them. The rich man had also had these witnesses but he complains that they are insufficient. The brothers needed something spectacular to recognize the truth. They needed to see a resurrection from death. Abraham affirms, however, that those who are blind to the Scriptures will likewise be blind even to a resurrection. The difficulty did not lay in a lack of evidence for the brothers. It lay instead in their ignoring the evidence. Remember that the Resurrected Christ appears only to believers. It is only for them that the Resurrection has any meaning. True conversion is not a product of sensationalism but rather a product of a response to the message of the Kingdom.
     
  8. AF Guy N Paradise

    AF Guy N Paradise
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    Every morning I listen to my KJV audio Bible on the way to work and currently I am listening to Nehemiah. So even though I am not exactly reading along with you guys, I often come back here just to read the comments. So thanks again for continuing this.
     
  9. Clint Kritzer

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