Posts from April 2014

Thoughts on: Titus 2

In Titus 1, we read that Titus was a fellow worker with Paul. He had been left in Crete by Paul to set about appointing elders in the churches there. Here in chapter 2, Paul writes to encourage Titus to promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. I love that. Wholesome teaching is one thing, living it out is something else. It’s easy to preach (and be preached at) about the need to be imitators of Christ and…

Thoughts on: 1 Timothy 4

At the close of 1 Timothy 3, Paul wrote these words: Without question, this is the great mystery of our faith: Christ was revealed in a human body and vindicated by the Spirit. He was seen by angels and announced to the nations. He was believed in throughout the world and taken to heaven in glory. In just a few short words, Paul has summarised the gospel for us. Jesus Christ was revealed in a human body. He died –…

Thoughts on: 1 Timothy 3

1 Timothy 3 is the “go-to-text” when it comes to considering the appointment of deacons and elders in the local church. There are some interesting questions to be asked of this passage. Does Paul not mention female elders simply because of the culture in which he lived, or is it simply that elders must be male because of the role that they undertake in the church? Also, does Paul refer to male and female deacons, or merely to male deacons…

Thoughts on: 2 Thessalonians 3

“Pray for us,” writes Paul in 2 Thessalonians 3, “that the Lord’s message will spread rapidly and be honoured wherever it goes, and that we will be rescued from wicked and evil people.” Sometimes I forget that for most of his life as a Christian, Paul faced persecution for trusting in Jesus.In virtually ever city, there were – and are – wicked and evil people. Why? Because not everyone is a believer! Wicked and evil people don’t, perhaps, look like…

Thoughts on: 2 Thessalonians 2

In 1 Thessalonians 5, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about why we as Christians need not grieve over dead Christians the way non-Christians grieve over their dead: Christ is returning. When he comes, all those who are his – whether alive or dead at the time – shall meet him in the air and live with him for ever more. Here in 2 Thessalonians, Paul finds that he has to give some clarification as to the when of all this.…

Thoughts on: 2 Thessalonians 1

Paul, Silas and Timothy were seriously proud of the church in Thessalonica. As we saw in 1 Thessalonians, this was a church which suffered many trials and persecutions from their countrymen because of their trust in our Lord Jesus. But despite all that they suffered, this was a church that refused to give up on the gospel. Instead, they had a reputation for being Christians: showing love, waiting with hope for the return of our Lord. As Paul writes to…

Thoughts on: 1 Thessalonians 5

Jesus is coming back! Yesterday in 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul reminded us that when Christ returns, we will all be caught up to be with him forever – the dead first and then those who are still alive when Christ returns. And so we need not fear death – for our risen Jesus has already conquered it. The Christian hope is the hope of life eternal with God. But the question then, of course, is when Jesus will return. There…

Thoughts on: 1 Thessalonians 4

As Paul approaches the end of this letter, he returns to one of the most common themes in his letters: encouraging Christians to live in such a way so as to please God. Yes, the Thessalonians were already living such lives – but Paul urges that they do so even more. This side of eternity, no Christian can ever say honestly that they are living the perfect Christian life. If we were, we would be Jesus – which I certainly…

Thoughts on: 1 Thessalonians 3

Paul really loved the Thessalonian church. But he was also very worried about them. They were going through a very tough time; their trust in Jesus was being challenged by the community in which they lived; they were suffering for the sake of following Jesus. And Paul – separated from them as he was – found himself fretting constantly for them. He was worried that “the tempter had gotten the best” of them; that the work he and his co-workers…

Thoughts on: 1 Thessalonians 2

Continuing from yesterday, Paul here in 1 Thessalonians 2 reminds this ancient church that Paul’s visit to them hadn’t been a failure. Yes – the missionaries had arrived in town feeling perhaps somewhat down. They’d just been in Philippi – and had suffered greatly at the hands of the people there. But even Philippi hadn’t been a failure: there was a nascent church in the city when the missionaries left. The Thessalonians knew what had gone on in Philippi. And…

Thoughts on: 1 Thessalonians 1

I would have loved to visit the early church in Thessalonica! They seem at least on some level to have been a church full of the joy of following Jesus. They were faithful workers for Christ – sharing in the commission given to us by Jesus to make disciples of all nations. Their love for God (and from God) found plentiful expression in loving deeds: this was a place where love was more than just a word – it had…

Thoughts on: Colossians 3

As a follower of Jesus Christ, I have died with him and have been raised to life with him. As Paul says elsewhere, It is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me. But, as he writes here in Colossians 3, if I have been raised to new life with Christ, that has to change how I live life now. Rather than focusing on “things of earth”, Christians are called to think about things of heaven –…

Thoughts on: Colossians 2

I can be something of a worry-wart. I worry about myself, and I worry about my loved ones. But I’m certain – much to my dismay! – that I do not know the depth of agony for others that Paul experienced. I have my moments – but I pray to God that he would instil more of that sort of agony in my life. You see, Paul agonised not only for Christians he knew, but also for Christians in general.…