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Archive for the ‘General Epistles’ Category

Some days everything’s coming up roses, but often it’s hard to move forward, maybe even to get out of bed. For times when what faces us seems to be dominating us, God has provided in anchors for the soul to hold us and keep us from slipping. Colossians 1:13 is such an anchors.

For He [Adonai] has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son [Jesus] (Amplified version)

He has rescued us. This speaks of a completed work. It requires nothing further to be complete. It can’t be undone. It won’t unravel.

We were rescued from imminent danger-the danger of death and the unavoidable wrath of God because it is the fate of man to die once and then face God’s judgment. What an amazing rescue! Without anything else that would be mind-blowing. But Paul goes on.

He has drawn us to Himself. This is the very heart of God–closeness with us, intimate relationship with us. He knows that we are surrounded by darkness–the dominion of darkness. That which has dominion over us rules us, governs us, dominates us. Our necks were under the heel of the boot of the enemy of our souls. God saved us from that. And not leaving us there, He gave us a new destination–a new Sovereign. He transferred us to the kingdom of His Son–a kingdom in which all sin has been paid for and its power eliminated. In the Kingdom of His Son, I am an adopted child, I’m grafted into a rich history with God and the people of God.

Hallelujah! What a Savior! That’s good news (gospel).

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I don’t know about you, but I have plenty to say most of the time.  When I think that quiet will forever escape me, I am reminded that God calls me to be quiet in my spirit.

In 1Peter 3:1-4, we are exhorted as wives to “be submissive to [our] own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe [our] chaste conduct accompanied by fear. “

He goes on to say, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel– rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.”

So I learn that God likes me to be quiet in my spirit, to work on my inner beauty and to seek to have beauty that doesn’t call attention to itself.

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Faith as it is used in the vernacular is “confidence or trust in a person or thing.”  [Dictionary.com]  This is far from what the Bible considers faith.  In Hebrews 11, Paul defines faith as ” the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  He goes on to add that “by it the elders obtained a good testimony” and “by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” [Hebrews 11:1-3]
Biblical faith can be understood in part by looking at what it is not:
  • It is not mere hopefulness
  • It is not mere optimism
  • It is not merely a hunch
  • It is not merely an emotional sentiment
Biblical faith is so much more . . .
  • Biblical faith makes the future present
  • Biblical faith makes the invisible seen
  • Biblical faith can grow
  • Biblical faith has God as its object
  • Biblical faith has God’s Word as its assurance
  • Biblical faith gives evidence for what can’t be seen
  • Biblical faith is a gift from God, not based on experience or works
  • Biblical faith has a certainty – being sure of what we hope for:
    • Forgiveness of sins
    • Acceptance into heaven
    • Rewards for faithful service
    • Living with settled conviction of His promises
    • Taking God at His word
  • Biblical faith takes hold of the future and lives based on the future now

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The following is a collection of the recent posts in the Bible Basics series which focused on books of the New Testament:

Bible Basics – New Testament Overview

Bible Basics – Gospels and Early Church History

Bible Basics – Paul’s Epistles (Part 1)

Bible Basics – Paul’s Epistles (Part 2)

Bible Basics – General Epistles and Revelation

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The Bible, as we have discussed is divided into two parts:  Old Testament and New Testament.  There are 66 books in the Bible with 40 different authors, but one consistent message – God’s plan to save sinful man.  In the New Testament, there are 27 books which are divided into the following sections:  Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), Early Church History (Acts), Letters from Paul (Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon), General Epistles (Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1, 2, & 3 John and Jude), and Revelation.

The Epistles are listed below each with a brief description or its content or focus.

Hebrews (Illustrates the superiority of Christ over the old covenant.  The author of Hebrews is unknown, but many believe it was Paul.  The audience was the Hebrew  believers.)

James (Anyone who has studied the book of James knows that it pulls no punches.  In this epistle to the Jewish believers, James lays out clearly what it means to live a life of faith and to evaluate one’s own faith honestly in light of scripture.)

1 Peter (Letter from Peter to all Christians that discusses the issues of holiness, submission and suffering.)

2 Peter (Letter from Peter to all Christians to warn against the danger of false teachers and exhorts the believers to grow in the true knowledge of Christ.)

1 John (Letter from John to all Christians.  The key themes found in this book are love in Christ and fellowship with God.)

2 John (Letter from John to the Elect Lady while John was in Ephesus.  The letter reminds the reader to walk in love and beware of false teachers.)

3 John (Letter from John to Gaius.  The letter thanks Gaius for his support of the gospel and criticizes Diotrephes for his pride.)

Jude (The final letter in the General Epistles written by Jude to all Christians.  The letter warns against heresy and false teachers and exhorts believers to contend earnestly for the faith.)

The final book of the Bible is the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

Revelation (This books includes things which have been, which are and which are yet to be.  It gives hope to those who suffer persecution and provides a vision of Christ’s return.  It also gives good insights and images of what it is like in heaven.)

2Tim 3:14-17 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,
and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Psalm 119:11 Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!

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