August - Reading 18

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Aug 18, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Good evening -

    Though the lists in Nehemiah hold great value for scholars and genaelogist, chapter 11 and the first 26 verses of chapter 12 break up the chronology of the events of which we read tonight. It is safe to assume that the festive perominade of which we read tonight was prformed at the conclusion of the Feast of Tabernacles firt mentioned in chapter 9. This is the climax to a very proud moment in Jewish history. The dual choirs, all the leaders and Nehemiah and Ezra making this long walk up both sides of the city's walls must have been a very regal sight. This was the wall that Tobiah had said a fox could crumble in verse 4:3 being used as a parade ground.

    In Luke we read this Gospel's account of the healing of the blind man. The Gospels of Matthew (20:17-19) and Mark (10:32-34) tell this story with two blind men. It is possible that the one who was the spokesman is the main concentration in this story. Either way, the Gospels harmonize on the fact that it is the zeal of the man's faith that brings about his healing.
    One other quick note is that if anyone is interested in the Old Testament prophecies spoken of in verse 31, they may want to read Psalm 22, Isaiah 53, and Zecharia 13:7.

    Also, we began the final Pastoral Letter this evening, the Book of Titus. Titus is not mentioned in the Book of Acts but is spoken of highly 13 times in the other New Tesatment Letters. Titus was a Greek, converted by Paul, who worked with paul in Ephesus and was sent by the Apostles to Corinth (2Corinthians 2:12-13, 7:5-6, 8:6).
    Crete is the fourth largest island in the Medditeranean. One can read about Paul's experience there in Acts 27:7-13. Crete being a major thoroughfare in the Mediteranen trade routes was a major hotbed of sin, gluttony, laziness, etc. The elder of such a church certainly had many hurtles in front of him.
    Scholars believe that this letter was written after Paul's first Roman imprisonmaent, after Acts 28. The primary theme of this Letter is "doing what is good."
    In verses 1:5-9 we find the list of qualifications for an elder. Though a bit briefer than the list in 1Timothy 3:1-7, this probably reflects the difference in the needs shown by the two different ministries of Titus and Timothy.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Aaron

    Aaron
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    When reading the Scriptures to find God's will for our lives, this is a guiding principle to keep in mind. Unless we humbly reject our own wordly wisdom to God's revealed wisdom, we are on the path to destruction. "God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble," James 4:6.

    So backwards do God's way seem to us, that Paul stated we would be the most miserable of all men if the resurrection were a fable. He also said the preaching of the Gospel sounds like foolishness to worldly men.

    So remember, when God's commandment seems to go against common sense, There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

    [ August 19, 2002, 01:31 AM: Message edited by: Aaron ]
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Proverbs 14:12

    From Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary:

     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Titus
    Introduction


    Authorship: Please see the "Introduction to the Pastorals." For the purposes of the
    commentary on this Epistle, we will be assuming genuine Pauline authorship.

    Origin: While there is no doubt that the Letter was written from Nicopolis, as Paul
    directs Titus to come there in verse 3:12, there is some controversy as to which city of Nicopolis is being referenced. Some of you with KJVs may have an added inscription at the end of the Epistle added by a later scholar claiming that this was "Nicoplois of Macedonia," however, it must be noted that these added subscripts are non-authoritative as they are not part of any original manuscripts. There was a city of this name in Thrace, on the river Nessus, now called Nikopi. There was also a city of the same name in Epirus, two in Moesia, another in Armenia, another in Cilicia, and another in Egypt, in the vicinity of Alexandria. Therefore, scholars wrestle with speculation on what city would have been most likely to have been visited by Paul in the timeline we piece together from small snippets of Acts and the Pauline Epistles. Though it has no bearing on the message and intent of the Epistle, it does vary the dating somewhat.

    Dating: Most modern scholarship leans towards the Nicopolis that was situated in
    Epirus, in Greece, north-west of Corinth and Athens, on the Ambracian gulf, and near its mouth. Taking this assumption, the date of the writing would be approximately 63-64 AD. Other scholars lean towards the traditional acceptance of Macedonia and place the writing at about 56 AD. Again, there is nothing conclusive in these speculations and they have no bearing on the purpose of the Letter.

    Recipient: All that we know about Titus the man is found in the Pauline Epistles. In
    Galatians 2:1-3 we learn that he was of Greek ancestry and that Paul took him with him to Jerusalem a number of years after his conversion and refused to allow him to be circumcised. After Timothy's apparent failure in Corinth, Titus was dispatched by Paul and seems to have reconciled the Corinthians to Paul. Paul had left Titus on the island of Crete to maintain the ministry there. Accepting the late dating of Titus (and the Pastorals in general) this would have occurred between imprisonments. We can assume that Titus honored Paul's request in this Letter to join him in Nicopolis and then traveled with him to Rome from whence he was dispatched to Dalmatia as spoken of in 2Timothy 4.

    Despite the personal address to Titus in 1:4, the rigid formality of the letter and the plural "you all" in the benediction make it apparent that Paul expected the entire congregation on Crete to hear this Epistle.

    The Island of Crete: To truly understand the task that Titus had before him we must
    understand something of his location. The island of Crete is one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean. Though the island had a rich history from ancient times it had degraded to gross immorality by the time of Paul. As may be expected of a Mediterranean island, Crete was subject to a great deal of merchant travel from every part of the known world at the time, bringing paganism and polytheism from every corner. The natives of Crete were internationally recognized as having a bad reputation. To "act the Cretan" was to play the liar and they were known for their drunkenness. Atop these terrible secular persuasions threatening to erode the faith of the Cretan mission, the Judaizers, whom it seems, hounded Paul's steps everywhere he went had infiltrated the church in Crete as well.

    It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when Christianity was introduced to the island of Crete but we do know from Acts 2:11 that Cretans were present at Pentecost. It is highly probable that these converts may have returned with the Gospel Message after this event. The Acts make no mention of any Apostle visiting the island but Paul must have done so as he tells Titus in 1:5 that he had "left" him there.

    Purpose: Paul had left Titus, according to verse 1:5, "so that you might put what
    remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you." Titus had the somewhat unenviable task of bringing and maintaining order to a church that sat in a hotbed of potential sin. It seems that the immediate purpose of the Letter was the forthcoming visit of Apollos and Zenas and for the missionary to expect relief from Tychicus and Artemas. This Letter may have served as an authentication of authority of Titus to these men.

    Secondly, Paul wrote to record his observances of the Cretans and the careless conduct of some church members. To counteract these behaviors, Paul stresses the need for sound doctrine as found in the word of God. When such doctrine is received and heeded the result is good works.

    In Titus we not only find the qualifications for the appointment of elders as Paul had instructed his assistant to do, but there is also a wealth of instruction in these three short chapters for the young, the old, the men and the women. Each and every member of the church played a vital role and it was the duty of every Christian to stand as living examples of the sound doctrine they were taught.

    Titus on Crete stands as a microcosm of our own situation in a sinful world. Christians are a light on a hill and the example of our lives may be the only Gospel some will ever receive.
     
  6. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lecture - 5/16/04 Part I

    Titus 1

    Titus 1:1-4 Greeting and Affirmation of Apostolate


    The Epistle of Titus begins with a rather long greeting in which Paul affirms his apostolate. He holds the credentials of being a "servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ." The title "servant of God" is unique to this Pauline Letter. Typically, he refers to himself as a "servant of Jesus Christ." The designation "servant of God is drawn directly from the Old Testament as it applies to Moses, David, Solomon, Isaiah and others. For Paul being an Apostle of Christ underlines his absolute commitment to God.

    The role of a servant of God has two goals:

    1. "According to the faith of God's elect" - While this is a very literal translation, it seems improper to interpret it to mean that Paul was an Apostle constituted and determined by the faith of other Christians. Elsewhere in the Epistles he is quite adamant that his commission came from Christ Himself. Therefore, it is more plausible to interpret the phrase "according to" as "in view of" rendering a paraphrase of the phrase "to further the faith of" as we find in the RSV.

    2. Accepting this rendering, we can see that the second aim of Paul's Apostleship was to further the "knowledge of the truth and hope of eternal life" for the elect. Paul's ministry expands the sphere of believers. He preaches to all but only the elect will believe (John 6:44). The elect include all those whom God has chosen (and will choose if one's views are less Calvinistic) to be among his chosen people by virtue of their faith.

    The hope that we have for eternal life will never disappoint us. First because God has promised it and God never lies. Placing the statement that God never lies here may be to contrast the lying nature of the Cretans that we will see in verse 12. This promise of God existed "before the world began". Even so, the second assurance we have of eternal life is that God "manifested" His promise at the proper time. Paul is referring here to the fulfillment of the Messianic hope of the Jews fulfilled in Christ. This manifestation occurred "in His word." The phrase "His word" in this context does not necessarily refer to the technical "Logos" as John uses in his Gospel (the word become flesh), but rather the Message of the Gospel as revealed by the proclamation of the Apostles and evangelists. Thus it comes "through preaching" and Paul has been commanded to carry out this task. Paul makes the strong assertion that this commission has been entrusted to him "by command of God our Savior."

    Paul addresses Titus as his "true child (KJV - mine own son)." The term "true (own)" means legitimate. Thus Titus is shown to be credible, as he is Paul's son in a common faith. Titus was likely one of Paul's converts as well as Timothy, however, the term "true child" is not as tender as "beloved" as Paul used for Timothy.

    "Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father is Paul's customary greeting. While the KJV translators, using the Texus Receptus, include the word "mercy" in the text, the oldest manuscripts do not contain it. Likewise, the phrase "the Lord Jesus Christ" is phrased "Christ Jesus" in the same early manuscripts. The addressing of Christ as Savior may once again be set in opposition to the emperor worship that was emerging under the rule of Nero.

    Paul now begins his Instructions for the Cretan mission and will continue his instructions through to verse 3:11.

    Titus 1:5-9 Qualifications for Elders

    In verse 5 we learn the exact reason that Paul had left Titus in Crete. Primarily, it was so that Titus could "set in order" those things which were ""defective (KJV - wanting)". Again, we can surmise that those Cretans spoken of in Acts at Pentecost had taken Christianity back to the island. However, without guidance the new Christians there were a flock without a shepherd. We know from Josephus that there were many Jews and gnosticizing Judaists on Crete and this among other heresies were likely creeping into the faith and practice of the primitive church there.

    Secondly, Titus was to appoint elders at the various churches scattered across the island. That this one office is the only mentioned in the Letter show the newness of the mission in Crete. The appointment of elders would help Timothy overcome the deficiencies that Paul did not have time to correct as Titus himself was only there temporarily.

    From this Passage we gain a few insights into the workings of early missions and the structure of the primitive church. First we see the planting of elders from city to city which was likely the way in which Paul worked on his missionary journeys. Secondly, we find that there was a call for a plurality of elders as opposed to a single pastor such as our modern system often has. Thirdly, We find here proof in verses 5 & 7 that the terms "bishop" (literally translated "overseer") and "elder" were used interchangeably by Paul. These terms title the same office but different functions.

    The list of qualifications for elders found here is very similar to that found in 1Timothy 3. One notable omission is the qualification found in 1Timothy that an elder can not be a new convert. Once again we see evidence that this was a very new mission.

    The credentials of a good elder, or God's steward as Paul describes them, serve two purposes as shown in verse 9. First he has the capacity for preaching sound doctrine. It is through the teaching of good elders that new converts are spiritually fed and grow to Christian maturity in a way cohesive to Scripture and pleasing to God. Secondly God's steward will have the capacity to refute those who do not hold to sound doctrine.
     
  7. Clint Kritzer

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    Sunday School lesson 1/9/05 - conclusion

    Luke 18:31-34 The Third Passion Saying

    The reader should be aware that Luke’s narrative in our modern Bibles has a mere six chapters remaining and the dreadful events of Jerusalem draw ever closer. As they continue Jesus once again reiterates the fate before Him. We must remember that the Disciples had a clear image from their Jewish upbringing that the Messiah would be a triumphant figure in Jerusalem so the prophecy that Christ reveals to them of the humiliation and pain he would suffer would certainly be incomprehensible to them. The Jews had forgotten the aspect of Scriptures (Isaiah and Daniel) that spoke of the Messiah being a suffering servant. All they could see was the King/Messiah of the Psalms.

    Though the Romans and the Jews play a part in the plan, God, not man, will have the last word. The Son of God will rise. There is a necessary relationship between the suffering and glory. It will be experienced first by Jesus and then later by the Disciples.

    Luke 18:35-43 The Healing of a Blind Man

    Mark varies this account slightly by saying that the event occurs as Jesus leaves Jericho rather than entering it. He also adds that the man’s name is Bartimaeus the son of Timaeus. Matthew tells us that there are two blind beggars instead of one but it was a common device in literature of this period to only mention the more prominent figure or spokesman of a group. In any case, the entrance to a city was a common place for beggars to plea for money as every traveler had to enter and exit at that point.

    Jesus being a common name of the time being the graecized form of Joshua, those around the blind man identify Him as Jesus of Nazareth. From the blind man’s response we can surmise that Jesus’ fame had grown quite a bit by this point as he knows to seize this opportunity and calls Him Jesus the son of David, a Messianic title. Like the tax collector in the Temple, the blind man asks for mercy. He makes no claims on his own goodness or achievements. Like the children, the blind man is rebuked and is denied access to Jesus. Perhaps the command to be silent is because the Messianic title “Son of David was a dangerous statement in the politically turbulent times. Perhaps the call to silence was to keep the blind man from distracting Jesus at this important stage in His ministry. Nevertheless, like the widow, the blind man persists.

    Jesus responds to the man’s pleas and has him brought to Him. He then asks the blind man to define what he desires from Jesus. In his reply he uses the term “Lord,” the post-resurrection title of Christ. The man’s desire to see is based on his faith that Jesus has mastery over the forces that have made him blind. In other words the man has faith, the same element that when only the size of a mustard seed can uproot trees or throw mountains into the sea, and that faith makes him well. It should be understood that the faith is not the power that heals but it is the conduit through which the power of God is brought to bear on the blind man’s problem. The reference to the man’s faith as well as his subsequent discipleship (he followed Him) shows that the man had been healed of both his physical and his spiritual blindness. Both he and those who witnessed the event recognize it as an act of God, the miracle of salvation.

    This account is the last healing miracle recorded in the Synoptic Gospels and recognized as a Messianic sign. In light of its commencement, it is a fitting sign towards the conclusion of this facet of the ministry (Luke 4:18-19).
     
  8. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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