2 Timothy 1:1-10, Countdown #50: 2 Timothy 1:7 (5/16/12)
When was the last time that we mentioned to a stranger that we are Christians? More importantly, what were we doing that the subject happened to come up?
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but if you are going to let people know that you are a Christian (which is recommended), you need to behave like a Christian at all times. You need to love God at all times. You need to act lovingly toward your neighbor at all times. There’s nothing that hurts the faith more than Christians who are making big ugly headlines.
Our Countdown Verse #50, “God’s Spirit doesn't make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control,” is a two-edged sword. Yes – we should be bold and powerful about sharing our faith with others, but if we aren’t acting with love and self-control, what are they going to think? How can we persuade them that the Gospel is good news if we generate bad news? Let’s try to be a mirror that reflects the good news of Jesus Christ into the darkness.
Acts 1:1-14, Countdown #49: Acts 1:8 (5/17/12)
All students of the Bible agree that the book of Acts
is important because it’s the only book that documents the beginning and very early history of the Church. After that, agreement gets a little harder to come by. What is Acts
about? Here are a few ideas:
- It’s about the acts of the apostles, mainly Peter, John, and Paul, but also the rest of the Eleven.
- It’s about acts of apostles, that is, about the kinds of things that apostles do, as exemplified by Peter, John, Stephen, Phillip, James, Barnabas, Paul, etc.
- It’s a legal brief for use at Paul’s trial.
- It’s a justification of the spread of the Gospel among the Gentiles – starting with the Ethiopian eunuch and ending with Paul’s preaching in Rome. (This is my Greek teacher’s idea, and therefore I take it very seriously.)
- It’s about the spread of the Gospel from an itty bitty band of Christians in Jerusalem to all of us today.
This latter idea has good support from Countdown Verse #49, “But the Holy Spirit will come upon you and give you power. Then you will tell everyone about me in Jerusalem, in all Judea, in Samaria, and everywhere in the world.”
John 16:16-33, Countdown #48: John 16:33 (5/18/12)
How do you talk to someone about a totally new topic? Not only are they unfamiliar with what you are saying, but there might not even be any words that exactly describe the situation. Jesus was about to do something that no one had ever done before: die and then come back
. The Jews (and many Gentiles) had heard of “resurrection,” but it didn’t occur to the disciples that it might happen either soon or here. So they are confused.
Jesus says, “Don’t worry about it – I know this is confusing, and that’s why I’ve had to use a paroymia
proverb/veiled language/figure of speech/figurative language/example, so that you would have some hope of understanding it before it happens.” Our Countdown Verse #48 says, “I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer up! I have defeated the world.” He is telling the disciples to leave the problem to him, because he’s got it covered. Good advice for us, too.
Isaiah 41:8-16, Countdown #45: Isaiah 41:10 (5/21/12)
The NET Bible
is both a new English translation and a translation done for use on the Internet. See how you like it here in Isaiah 41
Our Countdown Verse #45 says,
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you!
Don’t be frightened, for I am your God!
I strengthen you –
yes, I help you –
yes, I uphold you with my saving right hand!”
(NET Bible, used by permission)
One thing I already like about the NET Bible is that you can tell from the layout of the verses on the page when you are reading poetry and when you are reading prose. You recall that another way to tell when you are reading poetry in the Old Testament is that lines repeat each other, like this:
“Look, all who were angry at you will be ashamed and humiliated;
your adversaries will be reduced to nothing and perish.”
Most of Isaiah is poetry.
Romans 10:5-21, Countdown #44, 76: Romans 10:9, 10:17 (5/22/12)
Have I mentioned lately that you need a good, modern translation of the Bible, with study notes? Sometimes study notes are built into the text, for example, as when the King James Version uses italics to designate English words that are not in the original Greek or Hebrew. Other translations follow other conventions, so it’s a good idea to read the introduction to your translation to see what it is doing. The NET Bible uses bold italics to designate quotations from the Old Testament, as you see here in Romans 10
Our passage contains two countdown verses. Countdown Verse #76, “Consequently faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the preached word of Christ,” should remind us of the importance of spreading the word of God through preaching and evangelism. Notice that Countdown Verse #44, “because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” does not
say, “you will be saved if you believe exactly the same way I do.” It should remind us that while we are preaching and evangelizing, we are to be inclusive, not exclusive, about who we recognize as Christians.
Notice the order of events in vss. 9 – 15.
1. Someone is sent in verse 15b. (That would be us.)
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is coming soon.
2. Those who are sent, preach, in verse 15a.
3. Someone hears the preaching, verse 14c,...
4. …And believes, verse 14b,
5. …And calls on the name of the Lord, verse 13 and 14a.
6. …And is saved through this process of believing and confessing, vss. 9 – 13 + 17.
Countdown Verses #100 - #95
Countdown Verses #91 - #82
Countdown Verses #75 - #70
Countdown Verses #69 - #63
Countdown Verses #60 - #53
Countdown Verses #50 - #44
Countdown Verses #43 - #39
Countdown Verses #38 - #33
Countdown Verses #32 - #23
Countdown Verses #21 - #15
Countdown Verses #14 - #8
Countdown Verses #6 - #3
Countdown Verses #2 - #1a
Countdown Verse #1
Copyright 2012 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
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Bible-study participants. Thanks to the
Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers
for their support and enthusiasm. All
errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
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are held monthly on the second Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. St. John’s feels especially called to the worship of God and to the service of our neighbors through our music program
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