Categories
Bible

What is the Bible?

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

The Bible is reported to be the best-selling book of all time, even though sales records cover a far shorter time frame than the actual availability of the Bible. It is also considered to be among the classics in literature and yet it is far more than a really well written book. Most significantly, the Bible has been the source of inspiration, comfort and guidance to millions who have read and listened to it. But what exactly is the Bible?

Categories
New Testament

Matthew 5:13-16

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

I would like us to consider this text from the fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, verses 13-16. Jesus said…

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)

The ESV and NIV translations label this section simply, “Salt and Light.” The NASB title is, “Disciples and the World.” The NKJV identifies this section as “Believers are Salt and Light.”

Categories
Old Testament Soteriology

You are Chosen

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, my family and those whom God loves:

Whenever picking teams, someone must first be chosen to be captain. It is the captain who then picks the team.

To be chosen for a team or for an award is to be designated as special. Although some of us may not enjoy the “fame” that goes along with being chosen in these cases, very few of us would reject the opportunities that go along with being selected.

Even so, people find ways to turn this whole process around. “I wasn’t chosen. I decided to play for them or work for them.” Sounds kind of silly, but people do find ways to put the emphasis on the wrong syl-LABLE.

Categories
New Testament

Matthew 23:34-39 – Commentary

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This Generation will Bear All the Righteous Blood

34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Lament over Jerusalem

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (ESV)

Commentary

Although the subject headings, like the chapter and verse divisions in Bibles, are not part of the original text, they do provide a summary of what is being cover. In this case, the text overlaps two ESV section headings: Matthew 23:1-36 – “Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees” and Matthew 23:37-39 – “Lament over Jerusalem.” The Concordia Commentary has sectioned off Matthew 23:34-36 and I am using its title: “This Generation will Bear All the Righteous Blood.”

Earlier in chapter 10 (13-33) Jesus taught the Twelve about the mission he was preparing them for. They would proclaim that (10:7), ‘The kingdom/reign of heaven is at hand.’ It would not be an easy mission (10:16): “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves and at times, they would be persecuted and have to flee (10:23). This would not only be the mission of the Twelve, but of generations to follow them.