July - Reading 1

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Jul 1, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
    Good afternoon –

    As we begin our Bible reading for the month of July, we are beginning two new Books, 1Chronicles and Colossians. As has become my habit, I would like to give you a little background on these Books as it adds dimension to our understanding of the Writings.
    In the Books of Chronicles we will be doing quite a bit of review. This is for very good reason. As you remember at the end of 2Kings both Israel and Judah eventually fell, the former to the Assyrians and the latter to the Babylonians. This period of exile lasted for about 50 years. Jewish tradition holds that The Chronicler was Ezra which could indeed be a logical conclusion as you will see when we get to the Book of Ezra and discover that he was one of the primary leaders who led the Jews back to their homeland at the end of the exile. The Chronicles remind the people of their history and, indeed, may have very well educated some of them who until that point were ignorant of their origins. Chapters 1-9 are going to seem rather cumbersome to read as they are straight genealogical lists. Just hang tight, gang, the story will pick up with David in chapter 10. Chronicles will offer us new insights into the stories we read over the past month or two.
    Chapters 1 & 2 do have a few little tidbits in them that scholars have picked out over the years. In the genealogical tables that we read tonight, the Chronicler puts special emphasis on the lineage of David and rather than listing siblings by order of age, he lists them with the favored son last so that the name holds emphasis. Cain and Abel are completely excluded. In 2:7, Achan'’ name is changed to Achar which means trouble, perhaps a play on words by the Chronicler.

    The other new Book that we are beginning is Colossians. This is an interesting Epistle in that Paul is addressing some type of heresy that is occurring at the church in Collose. He never specifically addresses exactly what false teaching is being propogated at this church but we can make some logical conclusions based on chapter 2. We will address these points when we come to them. The church was established when Paul was in Ephesus and converted Epaphras. Epaphras then went to the once thriving city of Collose in order to carry the Gospel maessage there. We arrive at this theory from our reading of Acts 19:10 and Colossians 1:7-8.
    The beginning of Paul’s letter is very standard and he is gearing up to dispute the unnamed heresiesexalting Christ as the very image of the Father and thus sufficient and adequate for the attainment of salvation.

    Our reading in Luke contains one of three accounts in the Gospel messages of a person being raised from death. Notice that in tonight’s reading Christ does not warn the people to stay quiet about the event. After the healing of the man with the shriveled hand, the local officials, both political and religious, are very aware of his presence.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
    Sunday School lecture 10/26/03

    Colossians 1:1-14 & Introduction

    Introduction


    One of the most amazing characteristics of the Scriptures is how, as they remain constant, history returns to the relevance of their instructions as it cycles through time. As our scientific awareness of the universe grows we are always in danger of removing the centrality of Christ from our philosophy on life. It is in our intellectual nature to relegate Christ to some subordinate role in the great scheme of things.

    In the Book of Colossians Paul confronts an early threat to a primitive church. We see him debate an early 1st century philosophy that had set man and especially the mind of man before the Gospel. In this Epistle, Christ is set forth in a cosmic context, as the Purpose, Ruler and Creator of all that is and the only hope that it has for harmony. Paul’s arguments will demonstrate the absolute fullness of Christ and the fullness of man’s life in Christ.

    Authorship: In the mid-nineteenth century the authenticity of authorship received many challenges. Textual critics put forth that there were certain un-Pauline details of style within the text. There are labored sentences, 25 words that appear nowhere else in Pauline Letters, an uncharacteristic overworking of the preposition “in,” and unique phrasing such as “body of flesh,” “reward of the inheritance,” and “hope of glory.”

    However, the Letter itself affirms Paul as the author and all the early witnesses agree that the Letter is genuine. The phrasing and vocabulary are explained as necessary when dealing with a different philosophical system. One of the strongest arguments in favor of the genuineness of Colossians is its remarkable similarity to Philemon, a Letter that is practically unquestionably authentic.

    One of the strongest arguments against authenticity will be addressed in a few minutes: the Colossian heresy.

    Date and Place of Writing: Accepting that the Letter is genuine, which the commentary for the next six weeks will do, the Letter was written from Paul’s imprisonment in Rome. This places the date between 58 and 62AD. Just as with Philippians and Philemon this traditional acceptance of location will be reflected in the commentary though we can not completely dismiss the possibility that Paul is writing from prison in Caesarea or Ephesus.

    Purpose and Theme/The Colossian Heresy: There are a few themes in the Letter: the commendation of Epaphras, Paul’s personal interest in the church, to warn against reversion to paganism, but by far the most expounded upon theme is the Colossian heresy.

    Some have rejected the authenticity of the Letter because the unnamed heresy being confronted by Paul closely resembles Gnosticism, a philosophy that did not fully develop until the 2nd century. The Early Church Fathers fought against this movement and skeptics make the presumption that the Letter was contrived for this purpose. If we accept the authenticity of Colossians as a Pauline composition, we may be getting a glimpse into part of the early formation of this philosophical system.

    Gnosticism combined philosophical speculation, superstition, semi-magical rites, and a fanatical, sometimes obscene cultus. It advanced the idea that somehow a special and secret knowledge (gnosis) was required for salvation and those that possessed such are an elite group of Christians. It also advanced dualism - that all that is material, including the human body, is evil and all that is spiritual is pure. While professing a belief in a creating god, this dualism did not allow for him to interact directly with human beings or the world in which they lived. Therefore, to explain creation, they put forth that god made a series of spiritual beings called aeons, each removed further from divinity until there was one that could cause creation. These creatures were believed to reside in the stars and heavenly bodies and were worthy of worship.

    This dualism was a serious danger to the church for several reasons. Despite the contradiction of the One Creator, this philosophy denied the actual human form of Christ, claiming that such was an illusion or that it could not contain the Divine essence. Also, the system made way for asceticism, self-denial of pleasure and comfort, in some, and uncontrollable libertinism and hedonism in others.

    So while the Colossian heresy bears a resemblance to the full blown system of Gnosticism, there are elements of the heresy that Paul addresses that are not found in it.

    1. There are strong elements of Judaism described including circumcision, dietary regulation, ritualism, and the observance of holy days. Full blown Gnosticism of the 2nd century was very anti-Jewish.
    2. The worship of angels is an obvious blending of Judaistic theology with the pagan worship of these aeons.

    Therefore we can conclude that the heresy was a mixture of paganism, Judaism and most dangerously of all for the church, corrupted Christianity.

    Recipients: We see in Acts 19 – 20, that in the final years of his ministry, before returning to Jerusalem, Paul made Ephesus a central location from which to operate his ministry. Approximately 100 miles east of this city, in the Lycus river valley, was the city of Colossae. We have no evidence that Paul ever visited this city personally but we know that his mission in Ephesus reached all of Asia according to Acts 19:10 & 26.

    The Phrygian city was ancient even at that time. Standing on the trade route between a five road junction in Laodicea and a pass through the Cadmus range in what is now western Turkey, Colossea had waned somewhat from its former glory as its nearby neighbors, Hierapolis and Laodecia, grew in prominence.

    Originally a Greek colony, Josephus tells us that Antiochus transplanted 2000 Jews from Mesopatamia to the region. The Babylonian Tulmad complains of these settler’s addiction to wine and, of all things, baths. In the time of Paul, the city was in the Roman province of Asia.

    Aside from the Greek, Jewish and Roman influences of the area, there lay a bend toward paganism inherent in the land itself. The area was quite unique geographically speaking: a river that disappeared underground, a petrified waterfall, hot sulfur springs, a poisonous gas filled chasm, and earthquakes which eventually destroyed it and its neighbors in the later, post-Biblical years of Nero.

    At the time of Paul’s writing, however, it was still a major city, receiving visitors from both east and west carrying new ideas and news from across the empire.

    Exposition

    Colossians 1:1-2 Address and Greeting


    As is the case in 12 other New Testament Books, the first word identifies the author as Paul. It is quite significant in this case that he name himself as an Apostle to a church that had never met him directly. It gives him the authority to say what he is about to say. Timothy is also named and there is some thought that he may have had a hand in some of the writing. The term “brethren” is older than Christianity and Paul specifies his audience as being “in Christ.”

    Colossians 1:3-8 Thanksgiving for Experience

    While this is an honest prayer of thanksgiving, there are warnings within the prayer of what is to come. The Apostle states clearly that Jesus Christ is Lord and the Son of God the Father. Paul has heard of the Gospel’s Fruit among them from Epaphras, likely the pastor of the church, whom he highly commends. The Fruit is examined in three ways: the faith that the believers have in Christ; the love that they have for the priesthood of believers; and the hope of eternal security in Heaven.

    The “love which you have for all the saints” may be in reference to the hospitality that this church showed to traveling Christians as they passed through the city. The “hope laid up for you in Heaven” is not ‘hopefulness.’ The Greek is elpis, which translates “expectation” or “confidence”.

    The triad of faith, hope and love (or charity) occurs often in the Epistles: Romans 5:1-5; 1Corinthians 13:13; 1Thessalonians 1:3; 5:8; Galatians 5:5 and Ephesians 4:2-5. It also appears outside of the Pauline Epistles in Hebrews 6:10-12; 10:22-24; and 1Peter 1:3-8; 21-22. This has led many scholars to speculate that the formula was pre-Christian. This formula describes the three dimensions of the Christian experience. Faith reaches upward to God; love reaches outward to our fellow man; and hope reaches forward to God’s future.

    Paul makes it clear in no uncertain terms that the Gospel that the Colossians had first heard was the word of truth and that this is the same Gospel that the whole world was receiving. There was no secret knowledge, no regional sect that had a better or fuller understanding of it. There were no extra revelations, no supplemental philosophies necessary to add to the basic knowledge of salvation. It was not theory or code, it was the free Grace of God. As this Message spread through the world it was bearing fruit in good conduct and good character. It was growing, not necessarily in converts (though it was), but in richness and depth.

    Paul’s commendation of Epaphras shows that he was all the instructor that the Colossians needed and that his instructions were trustworthy, approved by an Apostle of Christ.

    Colossians 1:9-14 Prayer for Knowledge

    The Passage begins “and so” or “for this cause” in the KJV, referring back to verses 3-8. Ever since Paul had heard of the great things happening in Colossae he and Timothy and whatever other associates he had had continued in prayer for them. The prayer contains two petitions. The first is that the Colossians would be filled with knowledge of God’s Will and increase in all spiritual understanding. The use of these terms likely caught the attention of the errorist philosophers in the crowd.

    The “knowledge” however, is not for mysteries or speculative doctrines. It is instead for a knowledge of God’s Will. In the New Testament, knowledge, unless otherwise specified, is in reference to moral or religious comprehension. This knowledge stands in stark contrast to the knowledge sought by the philosophers. Wisdom is not earthly or fleshy but spiritual. It is the ability to discern what is right. Understanding allows the believer to apply God’s Will to his situation.

    The second petition is that the Colossians would walk in a manner worthy of God. Paul cites four virtues that show us worthy:

    (1) The knowledge of God’s Will, coupled with understanding and wisdom have a practical end – the believer bears fruit. Worthy certainly does not mean deserving, but rather competent or fit. This bearing of fruit that is pleasing to God is a direct contradiction to the teaching of the errorist. This puts God in direct observance of us and our earthly works make us worthy.

    (2) Paul states that he prayed for his audience to increase “in” the knowledge of God. This is not a repetition of verse 9 where Paul prays for them to be filled with knowledge. This sets forth the premise that God is the realm in which we grow and that such growth is continual.

    (3) To be “strengthened with all power” gives us the ability to not only understand the moral direction God would have for us, but to apply such knowledge as well. Further, the attributes of a worthy life are not only to discern morality and apply it, but also to do so with patience and endurance and in all this to do so with joy. In New Testament thought, joy is often set against the backdrop of trials and persecution.

    (4) We give thanks to God for a number of reasons but Paul specifically cites that He has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. This echoes our study of Galatians and the fact that through faith we are heirs to the Promise made to Abraham. We are the chosen people through Divine choice, taken from the darkness of ignorance and sin and brought into the Kingdom of His Son. Christ used darkness in the same context in Luke 22: 53.

    The end result of our already being given this title is that we have redemption, which is the forgiveness of sins. Redemption was a term often applied to deliverance from bondage. This had already been allotted to us. There was no need for any further revelation to bring it about.
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4
    Sunday School lesson 10/17/04 (continued)

    Luke 7:11-17 The Widow's Son

    The town of Nain, mentioned only here in the New Testament, still exists today. It is located a few miles south of Nazareth but more significantly it is quite near Shumen where Elisha had raised a widow's son from death more than eight centuries earlier. The entourage accompanying Jesus is divided into two parts: the Disciples and the crowd. This is a literary characteristic that we will see repeated often in the Gospel.

    Prior to reaching the gates of Nain, Jesus, the Disciples and the crowd encounter a funeral procession. The plight of the mother is obvious to all who are familiar with the ancient culture. Being a widow and losing her only son would leave her at the mercy of the society at large. Widowed women with no male heirs had no legal standing and were thus quite defenseless in a political sense. That the woman's son was a "young man" indicates that this woman also was relatively young. Recognizing her plight, Jesus took compassion on her.

    Jesus touching the bier was a very unorthodox thing to do. Such an action made one unclean (Numbers 19:11). The procession stops at this act and Jesus commands the corpse to arise. In response, the widow's son sat up and began speaking. That Christ is reported to have given the son back to the mother also carries great significance in that this same phrase is used in 1Kings 17:23 when Elijah reanimated the son of the widow in Zaraphath.

    The proximity of Elisha's miracle and the words from Elijah's would not have been overlooked by the witnesses. Immediately word went out that there was a prophet once again among the people. This incident sets the stage for the next passage.
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2001
    Messages:
    7,739
    Likes Received:
    4

Share This Page

Loading...