1 Corinthians 16:1-24; Acts 19:21-20:6; Romans 1:1-32
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First Corinthians: We wrap up Paul's first letter to the Corinthians today! What an amazing book! I have been blessed immensely by it this year. I hope you have too? I like Paul's instructions to the church in Corinth in chapter 16 verses 1 through 3 today: "Now about the money being collected for the Christians in Jerusalem: You should follow the same procedures I gave to the churches in Galatia. On every Lord's Day, each of you should put aside some amount of money in relation to what you have earned and save it for this offering. Don't wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once." I love this last sentence! It made me smile. Paul knows how us humans are - back then and now - we like to procrastinate! We like to do things at the last minute if we can. Well, I concur with Paul that our giving to our churches should be a regular thing. With each pay check we should "put aside some amount of money in relation to what you have earned." Really, as I think about it, giving of money to our churches with each paycheck is an act of worship. We are worshiping God with our finances. Let us not wait to give to our churches. Let us give faithfully and regularly with each paycheck God blesses us with!
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in First Corinthians titled "Paul's Closing Words" is at this link. Below is a great image and message from First Corinthians 16:14 -
Romans: Today we begin the book of Romans! What a great book we have coming up! Some commentaries say that the book of Romans is a “Bible within the Bible.” And others: “The most profound book in existence.” Personally, I think we need to obviously consider all 66 books of the Bible to be the Bible and the entirety of the Bible to be the most profound book in existence. But, yes, Romans is a profound book of the Bible no doubt! Martin Luther said this about Romans: “It is worthy not only that every Christian should know it word for word, by heart, but occupy himself with it every day, as the daily bread of the soul. It can never be read or pondered too much, and the more it is dealt with, the more precious it becomes.” Not a bad quote for us to jump into the book of Romans today! Let’s go!
Date: A.D. 57/58
Content: Paul was in Corinth on his third missionary journey and was planning to go to Rome, but had never been there before. This letter was written to introduce himself to the church and to summarize his theological teachings. For the latter reason, it is the most systematically organized letter of Paul. He begins by showing the universal sin of man. Neither Gentile nor Jew has any legitimate claim upon God because sin has invalidated any appeal. But God in his mercy stepped in, while we were still sinners, and opened the way back to himself (Romans 5:8). From this may come a victorious Christian life. Paul then deals with the place of the Jews in God’s plan (Romans 9-11), concluding with a series of ethical exhortations.
Theme: The righteousness of God, his righteous dealings with the world, and the righteous plan of salvation are the focus of this book. God is seen to be the great and holy God of the universe who cannot relax his laws because they are based upon his nature. But consistent with those laws, he devised a plan of salvation for Jews and Gentiles alike that sent his Son down from heaven to die for the sins of the world. Now anyone who trusts in Jesus will be saved (Romans 10:9) and be given the power of God over sin in his life. From God and his love nothing can separate the believer. (Romans 8:38-39) (Above commentary is from Tyndale Publishers “The One Year Bible Companion” p. 24)
More commentary on Romans is at these 3 links –
Bob Deffinbaugh says at this link directly above – “If you can reason your way through Romans, you will have the Gospel under your belt. . . . As you begin this study, I would challenge you to review the Book of Romans often in your mind, seeking to trace its argument from the very first chapter to wherever your study has brought you. It is my hope that you will then seek to apply what you have learned in your own life, and to share the message of the Gospel it contains with those who are lost and without hope, apart from the faith this Epistle describes and defines. May God bless you in your study of this portion of His Word.”
How powerfully strong are Paul's words in Romans chapter 1 verses 16 & 17 today! In fact, the NIV Study Bible's commentary says that these two verses are the theme of the entire book of Romans: "For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes--Jews first and also Gentiles. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, "It is through faith that a righteous person has life."" Do you believe these two verses to be true? Are you not ashamed of the Good News about Jesus Christ? Do you believe that God makes us right in his sight by faith?
Bible.org's commentary on today's Romans Chapter 1 readings is at this link.
Wow... Paul's writings today in Romans are such a true and stern warning about the dangers of sin. I really can't imagine how sin can be written about much more truthfully. Verse 21 is a strong warning: "Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. The result was that their minds became dark and confused." I do believe that this is such an accurate description of what sin does to our minds - it makes our minds dark and confused! Things can get so fuzzy and hazy in our mind due to unchecked sin that we can even get to the point of where we do not realize we are sinning. How sad to live life knowing God, but not worshiping him or even giving him thanks. And then to come up with wacky ideas of what God is like.... ever hear any wacky ideas about God out there? :) The result is that people's minds become dark and confused because of sin... sad. Let us live our lives so that we share the Light of the Gospel of Jesus in the dark places in the world.
Today's readings in Romans chapter 1 verses 18 through 32 consist of Paul describing the sin of the Gentiles, which is probably most of us. In chapters 2 & 3 Paul will describe the sin of the Jews. So, these chapters set the stage that all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God - Gentile and Jew alike. Yep, that covers each of us. An interesting thing to note from today's readings is that Paul writes about "general" revelation - meaning, God is revealed to all people in all times generally through nature. In addition to general revelation, there is also "specific" revelation - God is specifically revealed to us through his Word and his son Jesus. But, as Paul writes today, general revelation is enough for all people to not have any excuse to not believe in God and to continue on in our sin. And yet, sin we do... Thank God for sending us the specific revelation each of us knows about - and hopefully we each personally know - God's own son Jesus!
Bible.org's commentary on today's Romans readings titled "No Excuse for the Heathen" is at this link.
Worship God: Today's readings in Romans remind me of Matt Maher's song "Christ is Risen:"
Do you believe that Christ is risen? Click here to meet the Risen Lord!
Please join us in memorizing and meditating on a verse of Scripture today: "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile." Romans 1:16 TNIV
Prayer Point: Pray that you are not ashamed of the Gospel in any way, shape or form. Pray that you proclaim the Gospel throughout your life in every way. Pray that you fully know and believe that the Gospel is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.
Comments from You: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!