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Showing posts from February 26, 2014

Widows in the Early Church

Widows in the Early Church Excerpt ‎In the early church, widows were cared for and steps were taken to ensure equal distribution of food (Acts 6:1-6). The writer of the pastoral Letter 1 Timothy urged a just and cost-efficient plan for the use of limited funds, so that ‘real widows’ (those in abject poverty and truly alone) could be provided for (5:3-16). To this end, families were charged to care for their own (5:3-4, 16), and rules of eligibility for the enrollment of widows were prescribed (5:9-15). This enrollment probably implies the existence of an order of widows who devoted themselves to intercessory prayer and to rendering special services to the church. According to the second-century writers Ignatius (Smyrnaeans 13:1) and Polycarp (Philippians 4:3), such an order or ministry existed in their time. This order of widows later merged with that of church deaconesses.
Achtemeier, Paul J., Harper & Row and Society of Biblical Literature. Harper’s Bible Dictionary 1985 : 1132…

Disease and Healing in the First Century

Disease and Healing in the First CenturyActs 4:9 Excerpt ‎In the early Christian period illness may be caused by numerous demonic entities who are not always acting at Yahweh’s command (Matt. 15:22; Luke 11:14), and not necessarily by the violation of covenant stipulations (John 9:2). Illnesses mentioned include fevers (Mark 1:30), hemorrhages (Matt. 9:20), and what has been identified by some scholars as epilepsy (Mark 9:14–29). The cure for illness may be found in this world, and not simply in some utopian future.
‎Christianity also may have attracted patients who were too poor to afford fees charged in many Greco-Roman traditions (cf. Matt. 10:8). Some Greco-Roman traditions insisted that travel to a shrine was necessary for healing, but Christianity, with its emphasis on the value of faith alone, in effect announced that travel to a shrine was not required (Matt. 8:8). Likewise, Christianity resisted temporal restrictions on when healing could be administered (Mark 3:2–5). Nonethe…

Herod the Tetrarch

Herod the TetrarchActs 13:1
Excerpt ‎During Christ’s ministry Rome installed the tetrarch, Herod Antipas (Mt 14:1; Lk 23:5–7) to rule the territory. He was appointed to office when 17 years old. Sepphoris was his first capital, and about a.d. 22 he built Tiberias on the shore of the Sea of Galilee as his new capital, in honor of the emperor.
Elwell, Walter A., and Barry J. Beitzel. Baker encyclopedia of the Bible 1988 : 836. Print.

Addresses and Salutations

Addresses and Salutations Excerpt ‎Paul opens his letter to the Philippian church in his usual fashion, by adapting the standard Hellenistic letter format in a distinctively Christian way. Where modern letters would address the recipient at the beginning (‘Dear Jane’) and name the sender only at the end (‘Yours, John’), ancient letters normally began by naming first the sender and then the recipient, and then adding a greeting. A good example of this is Acts 23:26: ‘Claudius Lysias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greetings [Gk. chairein].’ We have many other examples of this in the Bible (Ezra 7:12; Dan. 4:1) and elsewhere (note 2 Macc. 1:10; 2 Bar. 78.2 and see J.L. White 1986 and Stowers 1986). (Letters then might often end, as does Acts 23:30 in variants, with ‘Good health/farewell’ (errôsthai)).
‎Paul and other apostolic writers altered this form in a variety of ways, thereby considerably lengthening the letter prescript. Paul typically modifies both the sender and the addr…

Knowing the Fear of the Lord

Knowing the Fear of the Lord The fear of the Lord has a familiar, weakened sense, in which it means little more than piety (e.g. Job 28:28; Prov. 9:10); the context forbids this weakened sense here. So far as we are to be judged by our deeds we may well be afraid of what is to come. It is in this fear that we persuade (conative, perhaps: we try to persuade) men. Compare Gal. 1:10, Are we now persuading men or God? This verse suggests that Paul may have been accused of persuading men in a bad sense, that is, of winning them over to his side in an unscrupulous way that would bear examination neither before God nor at the bar of the human conscience. 
Barrett, C. K. The Second Epistle to the Corinthians. London: Continuum, 1973. Print. Black’s New Testament Commentary.

Paul's Concern for His Own People

Paul's Concern for His Own People
‎It is obvious that, while Paul was writing to these believers in Rome, he at the same time continually displays a great concern for his own wayward people, the people of the nation of Israel. It is clear that he also writes to help them to overcome some of their errant ideas about how a man may become righteous before God. These are ideas which actually are keeping them from receiving the righteousness which God Himself would provide. As a result, the reader can observe two elements in the book. The initial theme of the book, which continues to show up throughout the book, is directed through these saints in Rome who have believed. It concerns their own ministry which they should have among the Jews who were depending upon their own devices for salvation. …
Northrup, Bernard E. . 1997. Print.

Today's Verse of the Day

Today's Verse of the Day is From Exodus 3:13 KJV Translation: And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? NKJV Translation: And Moses said to God, Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and shall say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say to them? Explore Thomas Nelson's King James Bibles and take your Bible reading further. © Copyright Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Connect the Testaments: A Daily Devotional

February 26
Patiently WaitingLeviticus 20:1–22:33; John 9:35–41; Song of Solomon 8:1–5
Delayed gratification is a foreign concept to our natural instincts. Our culture doesn’t encourage patience or contentment; we would prefer to have our desires met the moment they arise.

The woman in Song of Solomon tells us that she is delighted in her beloved. She praises his attributes and tells of the wonders of their love. But throughout the poem, at seemingly random moments, she also warns the daughters of Jerusalem about love: “I adjure you … do not arouse or awaken love until it pleases!” (Song 8:4).

This is not the first time she has “adjured” them to wait and have patience: the same refrain is found elsewhere in the poem, and it acts like an oath (Song 2:7; 3:5). Although the elevated poetry glories in love, delight, and fulfillment, it also warns about immediate gratification. The woman urges us not to force love. It is something that must be anticipated and protected, not enjoyed before i…