Tag Archives: Apostle Paul

Stop and Think about the Bible

torahImPaul wrote to the church in Corinth when it was all in an uproar about celebrity preachers.

    Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. 1 Corinthians 1:13-17

The members were saying things similar to things we hear in our own churches. “I wish our preacher were more like Joel Osteen,” or “I get so bored on the days Pastor Bill preaches.” What does Paul consider to be the central thing in church?

The word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 1 Corinthians 1:18

When you meet people who claim to be atheists or agnostics, what do they say about the cross? What about Hindus or Buddhists? Do you have Christian friends who think you are untutored because your faith is simple? How do you respond?

 It is written,

 “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:19-21

 “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise.” Who is speaking in this sentence?

There are many people who believe they can find God through disputation till they see the truth, and many believe that through disputation, they have proved that God does not exist.  How would you answer such a hypothesis?

How did you meet Christ? How do you introduce people to Christ?

If you could know who would be present at your deathbed, and if you could plan what to say, what would you say?

By Katherine Harms, author of Oceans of Love available for Kindle at Amazon.com.

Image:Torah Scroll http://library.duke.edu/exhibits/hebrewbible/torah.html
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

 

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Stop and Think about the Bible

torahThe god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:4-6

  • The most important element of this passage written by the apostle Paul to the church at Corinth is the statement that his message is not about him but about Christ. When someone campaigns for public office, who does the person campaigning talk about? What does that person want? When Paul spoke to the people at Corinth, who did he talk about? What did he want?
  • When asked to teach a suicide prevention training session, an Army chaplain included his own experience including matters of faith and quotations from the Bible. He created a teaching aid in the form of handout that listed military resources for helping soldiers at risk for suicide on one side of the page and spiritual resources which he had personally found helpful on the other side. Afterward the chaplain received an official reprimand from his commanding officer for including his faith experience in the class.Where in your own daily experience do you see evidence today that the god of this world is still blinding people’s minds to the gospel of Christ?
  • I sat down at a table in a crowded airport food court beside a woman who eventually told me that she was traveling home for the holidays, but she dreaded the experience due to ongoing family issues surrounding the death of her father. When I shared my experience receiving help through prayer about family issues, she said, “That may work for you, but I don’t believe that stuff.” How would you have responded?
  • Do you believe that God did create the universe by saying, “Let there be light?” Do you believe that God shines the light of Christ into your heart? How do you let that light shine into the dark lives of people you meet? How will you get past an accusation that you are promoting a silly myth in order to make yourself look better than other people?

A Verse for Meditation

Torah ScrollGod is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:9 ESV

This verse is part of a greeting written by the apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. Read the verses that precede this verse in order to see the context of this statement:

I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge—even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:4-8 ESV

  • For what does Paul give thanks when he thinks of the Corinthians?
  • What has grown out of their relationship with Christ as they learn the truth of God’s good news in Christ?
  • What does Paul think the Corinthian Christians are waiting for?
  • How does today’s verse support their expectations?
  • Some commentators say, “God is faithful; mankind is unfaithful. How does that understanding explain the importance of the promise Paul sends to this new church?
  • How does your own experience as a Christian compare to the experience of the church members at Corinth? In what way does today’s verse support your own needs and expectations as a Christian?

A Verse for Meditation

If we have died with him, we will also live with him. 2 Timothy 2:11

Paul wrote from prison to Timothy, a young pastor. Read what the experienced missionary said in verses leading up to this statement:

8 Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. 2 Timothy 2:8-10

  • What two things are key to Paul’s teaching about Christ in this passage? Are these things important to your faith? How important is it that God kept his promise to Abraham and to David?
  • What is Paul’s situation? How does he explain his own ministry in this adverse situation? Have you personally experienced suffering or chains, or have you endured misery or pain for the sake of the gospel? Do you know anyone who has suffered for the faith?
  • What is one of the important reasons Paul endures and stands fast in the faith?
  • When Paul says, “we have died with him,” to what is he referring?
  • How will we live if we have died?

12    if we endure,
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
13    if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:12-13 

  • Today’s verse is the first of a list of promises. Read the promises. What happens to Christ’s work if we are faithful? What happens to Christ’s work if we disown him? What happens to Christ’s work if we are faithless? Who loses if we fail him and disown him rather than persevere and testify faithfully?

A Verse for Meditation

Torah ScrollIf we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. Galatians 5:25

  • What does Paul mean when he says, “live by the Spirit?”
  • Secular thinkers believe that only time and space exist. How would you explain “guided by the Spirit” to someone who feels that way?
  • Faithful Muslims believe they must serve and obey God, but they don’t expect to be able to know him. How would you explain “guided by the Spirit” to a Muslim?
  • Do you believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding you in any way today? What will you do today because the Holy Spirit is guiding you?