Monday, July 29, 2013

The One Year Bible- July 29th


Can you believe that July is almost over?  Where has the summer gone?  I hope the busy summer had not got the best of you and your time with God’s Word.  Don’t worry if it has.  Like I have said before, when you get behind (and you will get behind) just try to read two days worth each day until you catch up, or if you would like, you can just pick up the readings on the day you begin again and try to catch the readings you missed next time.  Either way, it is important not to beat yourself up over missing the readings or to get so frustrated that you give up.  Keep up the hard work and let me know how I can help.  On to the study…

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
This section of 2 Chronicles spent a lot of time listing the various kings, how long they reigned, what they did, etc.. Some kings were good and some were bad. One character that is important in this section is Isaiah. We will be spending quite a bit of time with Isaiah a bit later in the year but try to remember that this is his context: near the end of the kingdom of Judah. We will see some of these stories again when we are in Isaiah. One king to focus on is Hezekiah. He was only 25 when he started his reign and he immediately went to work. The first thing he did was to reopen the Temple. The Temple had become a place for various idols and the worship of false God’s. By reading this section, it is obvious that the Temple was a mess. It took 7 guys 16 days to clean it. If it takes me more than two days to clean my garage, I get a bit upset. At least there was some good motivation for getting the job done. After the job of restoring the Temple was done, it was time to celebrate. For the first time in a while, the people celebrated Passover. Hezekiah did a good job of getting the people back on track. Some Bible scholars think that God was getting his people ready for the exile that was to come soon. With the work of Hezekiah, the remnant would be prepared to return and rebuild the temple. There will be one great story of grace and mercy coming up on August 2nd.  In that reading we heard that king Manasseh did evil in the eyes of the LORD. God even audibly spoke to him but he did not listen. The Assyrian army took Manasseh prisoner, pierced his nose (to mark him as a slave), bound him in chains, and took him to Babylon. While in Babylon, Manasseh realized that he was in trouble and he prayed to YAHWEH, who was moved by his prayer and had mercy on him. Manasseh was brought back to Jerusalem because of God’s mercy. “Then Manasseh knew that the LORD is God.” (2 Chronicles 33:13b NIV).  God’s mercy sure is awesome! 

The New Testament
In our readings from Romans we read these wonderful words from Paul, "
How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!(Romans 10:15b NIV) Paul continues a few verses later by saying that “Faith comes from hearing”. It is not any action that we do, or any magic pill. Faith is a gift of God. It comes in hearing the message of Salvation from Jesus Christ. I had a seminary professor who told us that when his kids were born, the first thing he did was to whisper into their ears that Jesus loved them. I had never thought of doing this before. We also read about one of the great analogies about being in the family of faith. Paul says that the Gentiles (which includes me) have been grafted into the family and now receive all the benefits of being part of the whole. We are now full partners in the blessings of Abraham as we live connected to God’s special olive tree. Paul then moves on to talk about being living sacrifices. This seems contradictory but in view of God’s mercy we offer everything we have to God as an offering to him. This becomes a part of our worship life. Paul then moves to the body analogy. It is not the only place Paul uses this but the point is that we are all part of one body. We are all connected in Christ.
Psalms
Psalm 22 is known as a Messianic Psalm. Jesus quotes from this Psalm when he is on the cross. Go back and read verses 14 to 18 and think about the story of Jesus on the cross.  We also read the 23rd Psalm which is one of the most well known of all the psalms.  I really like the NLT translation of verse 6, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life.”  What a great image, the love of God pursues us!  It does not just follow us, but is actively seeking us out, even in our sinfulness.

Bits and Pieces

The Old Testament
We will finish the book of 2 Chronicles this week and start the book of Ezra. A lot of time will have passed between these two books. We will see the downfall of Judah and their exile to Babylon. If you are dying to know what happens there you can read the book of Daniel. Ezra begins the story of the return of the exiles back to the promised land. This promised “remnant” will provide the opportunity for the fulfillment of Messianic prophecy with the birth of Jesus. Here are the vital stats for the book of Ezra:

PURPOSE: To show the Judeans how God controls the nations of the earth for His saving purposes.
AUTHOR: Not stated but probably Ezra
DATE WRITTEN: Around 450 B.C. recording events from about 538-450 B.C.
SETTING: Ezra follows 2 Chronicles as a history of the Jewish people, recording their return to the land after the captivity.
KEY VERSES: “So the Israelites who had returned from exile ate it [the Passover], together with all who had separated themselves from the unclean practices of their Gentile neighbors in order to seek the LORD, the God of Israel. For seven days they celebrated with joy, the feast of unleavened bread, because the LORD had filled them with joy by changing the attitude of the king of Assyria, so that he assisted them in the work on the house of God, the God of Israel.” Ezra 6:21-22
LAW THEMES: Exile due to sin, persecution, broken faith by illegal marriages
GOSPEL THEMES: God fulfills His promise of mercy, God providence in restoring the temple and its sacrifices of atonement, the hand of God guides history for the sake of His people, the remnant restored.
KEY PEOPLE: Cyrus, Zerubbabel, Haggai, Zechariah, Darius, Artaxerxes I, Ezra
KEY PLACES: Babylon, Jerusalem
SPECIAL FEATURES: Ezra and Nehemiah were one book in the Hebrew Bible, and, with Esther, they comprise the post-captivity historical books. The post-captivity prophetic books are Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Haggai and Zechariah both prophesy during the period of the reconstruction.


The New Testament
The book of Romans comes to a close this week with some greetings to some people in Rome. Our journey with Paul will continue with the letters to the Corinthians. Along with Romans, these letters give a good taste of Paul’s theology. Paul wrote these letters to a church that was having some problems. We will spend time with these issues because many are the same that we face today. Here are the vital stats for the book:

PURPOSE: To identify problems in the Corinthian church, to offer solutions, and to teach the believers how to live for Christ in a corrupt society.
AUTHOR: Paul
TO WHOM WRITTEN: The church in Corinth and Christians everywhere
DATE WRITTEN: About A.D. 55, near the end of Paul’s three year ministry in Ephesus, during his third missionary journey.
KEY VERSE: “ I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” 1 Corinthians 1:10
LAW THEMES: Rebukes against divisions, foolish human wisdom, struggles with sexual immorality, idolatry, and spiritual pride; the Lord’s Supper abused; doubting the resurrection.
GOSPEL THEMES: Saved by Christ crucified; God’s wisdom in Christ; the Spirit’s work; Gospel ministry through the apostles; sanctified through Baptism; God’s unity; the Lord’s Supper; resurrection hope.
KEY PEOPLE: Paul, Timothy, members of Chloe’s household.
KEY PLACES: Worship meetings in Corinth
SPECIAL FEATURES: This is a strong, straightforward letter.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Bethany Bullet - July 23, 2013

  1. St. Paul’s first letter we read this summer in Galatians had the primary purpose of declaring, “What we as Christians believe.” 
  2. His second letter we will read this summer in Colossians has the primary purpose of revealing, “How we Christians will know live.” 

In the former book we used several equations such as:
Jesus + Nothing = Everything and Everything – Jesus = Nothing

In this later work, the word HOPE serves as an acrostic for understanding the content of the epistle. 

HOPE
  • means we can Hold On Past the Evil
  • because the Holy One has Provided Expiation
  • and so Holy Ones are Personally Engaged 

We as God’s people are personally engaged in lives of humility, mercy, compassion and forbearance and through such God’s love is experienced in the world.

-Pastor Kevin Kritzer

Monday, July 22, 2013

The One Year Bible- July 22nd


There have been times in my life where I can just feel the presence of God.  At times I can hear his call and he seems close.  But there are also times when God seems distant and far removed from my daily life.  Have you ever felt this way?  Remember that it is all just a matter of perspective.  In reality in our sinfulness we are the ones that drift away.  Sin takes us far from God and in our own minds we try to blame God for leaving us.  Some times I would like God to give me a big sign in the sky to tell me his plan or that he is right there.  The people of the Old Testament got a visual show.  When God’s presence came to earth, the people would see it in the form of a thick cloud.  God revealed himself to his people visually so they could believe.  He did the same when he sent his son Jesus.  Jesus became the walking temple for all of us to see.  Today we can see him every time we partake in the Lord’s Supper, every time we read His Word, and every time he calls another child his own in baptism.  When you think that God is distant, remember that he is right here, closer than you think.  On to the study…

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
Some good stories this week in the Old Testament. Most of the counting and lists are done with and the narrative picks up in earnest. You may not have even been aware that we started 2 Chronicles this week. Solomon continues to build the Temple for the LORD. It was an impressive structure! There was so much gold used it could not be counted. Silver meant nothing and bronze was almost worthless. It is interesting to note that the curtain of the temple is mentioned. It is what separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place. This is the curtain that tore in two (in a different temple mind you) when Jesus died. Jesus’ death brings Holy God and sinful man back into a relationship again. It must have been an awesome sight to see the thick cloud of YAHWEH filling the temple. This was the first time in a while that there had been a physical manifestation of God on earth. Solomon’s prayer was a good one and got the people back on track. God’s response to Solomon was also quite amazing. All was good during the life of Solomon but soon he would be buried with his fathers and his son Rehoboam would become king. Rehoboam did not fare to well. He did not listen to his father’s advisors and soon the kingdom was split. Civil war then raged and the Northern Kingdom went on a road to destruction as they worshiped idols and bowed down to other Gods. King Asa tried to get things right with God but it did not last. Jehoshaphat tried to do what was right but we will soon find out that he has troubles as well. Here are the vital stats for the book of 2 Chronicles:

PURPOSE: To unify the nation around true worship of God by showing his standard for judging kings. The righteous kings of Judah and the religious revivals under their rule are highlighted, and the sins of the evil kings are exposed.
AUTHOR: Ezra, according to Jewish tradition
TO WHOM WRITTEN: All Israel
DATE WRITTEN: Approximately 430 B.C., recording the events for the beginning of Solomon’s reign (970 B.C.) to the beginning of the Babylonian captivity (586 B.C.)
SETTING: Second Chronicles parallels 1 and 2 Kings and serves as their commentary. Originally 1 and 2 Chronicles were one book. It was written after the exile from a priestly perspective, highlighting the importance of the temple and the religious revivals in Judah. The northern kingdom, Israel, is virtually ignored in this history.
KEY VERSE: “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).
KEY PEOPLE: Solomon, the queen of Sheba, Rehoboam, Asa, Jehoshephat, Jehoram, Joash, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Josiah
KEY PLACES: Jerusalem, the temple
SPECIAL FEATURES: Includes a detailed record of the temple’s construction

The New Testament
Paul really gets on a roll in this weeks readings. If you were not convinced you were a sinner before, I bet you are now. Romans six deals with the idea that those who have been united with Christ have been united with him in his death and more importantly in his resurrection. This is great news because now those who are “in Christ” (one of Paul’s favorite phrases) will receive all the benefits of God. Those who are in Christ are dead to sin and alive in Christ. We do not have the freedom to just continue sinning. We are no longer slaves to sin. But then Paul brings up a good point. This is a confusing passage (especially in the NIV) but the NLT (New Living Translation) is a bit clearer for me. “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead I do what I hate...I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it” (Romans 7:15,18b-20 NLT). Paul realizes that in this world, we are so interwoven with sin that it is impossible to extract ourselves. We are in dire straights! We cry with Paul. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24 NIV). In the end it is all about Jesus. He is the only one that can free us from this problem. His death and resurrection make it possible for us to leave the sin of this world behind and live for Him in all we do. We now live our lives by the Spirit of God and we have been adopted into his family. And we can call him Daddy (Abba, Father). This relationship cannot be broken. It holds firm even when sin attacks. Therefore do not worry about your status in the world. The important thing is that we are part of the family of God. On the 27th we will read that being a member of this family is easy, “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.” (Romans 10:9 ESV). Good news indeed!!!  Now this verse has been used by many Christians to support a view that human beings must do something in order to become a Christian.  This is not a new idea.  Now days we call it “decision theology” but this has been with the Faith for a long time.  To use a $2 word it is called syncretism.  This means that in some way we have to cooperate with God in some way shape or form for our salvation.  When we make some sort of an effort towards God then he will have mercy on us.  The point of view goes something like this:  We encounter the message of salvation and then we need to make a decision to accept this good news.  The power of God does not begin in our lives until we make a conscious choice to follow him.  Until then we are lost.  This point of view is prevalent in many Christian circles.  Those who hold this view are big believers in altar calls and praying the “sinners prayer” in order to become a believer in Jesus.   There are two passages that help me understand that this is not how God operates.  Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3 NIV)  Paul also says in Romans 8, The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” (Romans 8:7-8 NIV)  When we confess with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, is cannot be an act of a sinful person, because this pleases God.  There must be something that was working in us before we could even do this.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit.  He works in us before we even know who Jesus is.  He comes to us in the waters of baptism before we can even talk.  He starts working on our sinfulness even before we know.  There is no way we can cooperate with God.  Salvation is his action and his action alone.  I could go on and on with this one but I think you get the idea.  Please let me know if you have any more questions about this.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Bethany Bullet - July 16, 2013

The Cross + Nothing = Everything we need to stand with confidence before God in heaven.

The Cross + Nothing = Everything we need to speak with conviction about God in the world.

These are the final equations of St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians. 

In Paul’s world the cross was not universally recognizable as a common symbol.  In Paul’s world unspeakable horror and loathing arose at the very mention or thought of a cross. “Crux” was unmentionable in polite Roman society.  Cicero records that even when one was being condemned to death by crucifixion the sentence used an archaic formula which served as a euphemism: “arbori infelici suspendito”, which means “hung on the unlucky tree.”

It would have been understandable therefore if the early Christians, knowing that the crucifixion of Jesus was an undeniable fact, had admitted it reluctantly when they were compelled to do so.  Yet for Paul, the cross is the basis not only for his personal hopes but also for his public boasts.

Why is the content of his crowing the cross?  For through it, or more precisely through the One who hung on it in our place (the perfect, holy Son of God who did fulfill the law purely and yet suffered the indignity to the unlucky tree), we who believe have been delivered from the most unspeakable horror of all, being loathsome to God forever. 


-Pastor Kevin Kritzer

Monday, July 15, 2013

The One Year Bible- July 15th


Summer is usually a time of rest and relaxation. But sometimes summer can be just as busy if not more so than the school year. During the school year there is a set rhythm to the days and weeks and months, but summer seems to be a flurry of activity. I need a VACATION!! It reminds me of our life in Christ. We all are looking forward to the day when we can rest in the presence of Jesus. It seems like that day will never come. And as we wait we have been given the task of doing God’s will here on earth. Some days it seems like we will never get it all done, but even when we fail (and we will!), God is right there to forgive us and point us in the right direction again. I hope that through your daily reading of Scripture the Lord speaks to you to not only remind you of the rest that awaits, but His love for you as we carry out His will. On to the study....

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
I will admit that this weeks readings were not too interesting for me, mostly a bunch of lists and numbers. A few things did jump out at me. Fist of all was the repeated mention of the Davidic Covenant that YAHWEH had made with the family of David. This was to last forever but it came to an earthly end. But remember that Jesus is the fulfillment of that covenant and Jesus still sits on the throne that was promise so many years ago. I also thought that it was cool to read about the six-fingered man. It is not too often you hear about them. One last thing that jumped out was the fact that David was the one who made the plans for the temple and gave them to his son Solomon. I am not sure if this is idealized history but it is in the Bible and I believe it.

The New Testament
WOW!! Where to begin? There are many, many books written about Romans and I do not intend to add to the list by using this blog. But I would be remiss if I did not touch on the big theological themes in the book. First of all it is important to remember that Romans reads like a legal court document. Paul is serving as the lawyer who representing faith in Jesus and he is defending his beliefs to a particular group of people at a particular time in history. I do not believe, as others do, that this book contains all that is needed to be a Christian. (i.e. there is no mention of holy communion just to name one). But I do believe that this book contains some of the most important insights into the Faith. First of all, Paul sets up his case by setting out the argument that everyone is a sinner. There is no one who does right. We are all scum, even those who think they are doing what is right (those who follow Jewish Law). God is also a God who shows no favoritism. He hates all sin no matter who does it. Paul brings up the character of Abraham because he is one of the biggies to the Jews. He is like a superhero to them. If anyone deserved to be saved it was Abraham, right? But what does Paul say that makes Abraham a righteous man? Was it is accomplishments, or his attitude, or the fact that he was circumcised? NO! In fact Abraham is declared righteous in Genesis 15 and he is then circumcised in Genesis 17. Abraham was justified by faith, apart from works of the law. We too are justified the same way. We do not magically become Christians by being baptized. We become Christians by faith!! Don't get me wrong here, baptism is important and is powerful, but it is not some pill that is taken or hoop to jump through in order to get "in". That was Paul's point. There is nothing that we do! When we try to earn our own way, or believe that we have some part in this process we get it all mucked up and we forget that this is an action of God and not us. Because we are in this great dilemma, God sent Jesus to us to be a sacrifice for us so we could be saved. It is all passive (by the way almost all of the Greek verbs that describe what we do or become of us are in the passive case). Paul says it way better than I, "For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous." (Romans 5:19 NIV).

Psalms
One quick thing here. On the 16th of this month we will read from Romans 3 that quotes from Psalm 14 and then we read Psalm 14 on the 18th? How cool is that!!!

I hope your summer is not too busy and that you get some time for some earthly rest. Have a great week, let me know if you have any questions and I will see you all soon.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bethany Bullet - July 10, 2013

Jesus + Nothing = Everything is the Galatians equation that we’ve been working with.  God and God Alone Saves!  Now there were those who said, Jesus + Something (obedience to the Mosaic covenant) = Everything. In Galatians chapter 2 we find that they had impacted Peter’s behavior on one occasion. 

Please read Galatians 2 (click HERE to go to reading) and then return to this Bethany Bullet.
 
Practically Hypocrisy is what Peter is accused of.  Yet, said hypocrisy could lead some to embrace a heresy, the heresy of works righteousness. The notion of a salvation in which we play a role can only leave you in doubt about your standing before God or in denial about the person standing before you in the mirror.  This is why Paul corrects Peter.

It wasn’t however the first time Paul met Peter. You read that story as well in chapter two. That first meeting between Paul and Peter, James and John introduced a corollary equation: Everything – Jesus = Nothing.

You could have influence beyond measure (replace EF Hutton with your name), you could have wealth beyond comprehension (makes Warren Buffett look like a pauper), you could have looks that make George Clooney or Heidi Klum jealous, you could have name recognition that would cause Bill Gates to get bumped to the table by the kitchen – but if you don’t have Jesus you don’t have anything!

You could live in the greatest nation on the face of the earth of all time. Where residents dwell in complete safety, where leaders guide in total humility, in which people live with absolute purity but if you are not a citizen of another country, a heavenly one, you really have nothing!

You could belong to a congregation that worships tens of thousands, the preacher has the voice of an angel and the wisdom of Solomon, and a budget to make Solomon blush, but if in the long run that ministry has added something to Jesus for salvation – even without intention, be it decision, emotion, obligation, you have or risk having – NOTHING.

You can have all the world, you can have all the world, but without Jesus you got nothing.

Click HERE to watch YouTube clip, Give me Jesus.
*If unable to open link; copy/paste this into your browser: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rZ8k9m2hwo


-Pastor Kevin Kritzer

Monday, July 08, 2013

The One Year Bible, July 8th


It has been a pretty crazy couple of weeks for me.  We wrapped up Vacation Bible School at Bethany a few weeks ago, I just returned from the National Youth Gathering, this week I am working for the district summer camp program and getting ready for our annual mission trip to Alaska and boy am I tired.  Getting ready for ministry like this is filled with long hours and a lot of stress.  In many ways it is a microcosm of life.  Jesus didn’t say the following him would be easy, in fact he said it would be filled with difficulties.  But they are all worth it when you see the face of a child who is hearing about Jesus for the first time.  So I encourage you to stay in the Word and know that God is with you every step of the way.  On to the study…

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament
As you have seen, the book of 1 Chronicles starts out with just a bunch of lists and numbers. It is not easy reading (and I will admit that I have skimmed a bit) but it is setting the stage for the story to come. In his book called “A Theology as Big as the City” Ray Bakke gives some insight to 1 and 2 Chronicles:

“I believe the books called Chronicles emerged from documents compiled by folks combing through the ruins of destroyed cities after the captive and exile in Babylon. The events depicted in Chronicles are from the same period as Samuel and Kings, but they represent a theological perspective not originating in the palace. In Chronicles, Israel is viewed as a theocracy. David and Solomon are idealized, and the message is: Here’s how the Lord meets all needs, both material and spiritual.”

Bakke gives me some perspective when reading this book. A few insights from the readings, first the readings are a bit random at first and hard to understand but don’t let that bug you. Don’t worry if you don’t know all the names and even if you skip through some of it. Second, as you read, try to remember the stories as they were written in Samuel or Kings. How are they different? Chronicles does not give all the details but is like the “Readers Digest” version of the story.

The New Testament
We finished up the book of Acts this week with Paul in Rome having survived a shipwreck on the island of Malta. Paul was sent to Rome to have a trial by Caesar even though Felix, Festus and Agrippa all could find no reason to keep him. Felix did hope that Paul would bribe him but Paul didn’t and that is one of the reasons he probably stayed in Caesarea so long. During the hearings, Paul takes the opportunity to share his own testimony and to witness about Jesus Christ. Paul shares his conversion experience again (the third time in Acts) and gives glory to God in all he does. Paul summarizes his doctrine by saying, “But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:22-23 NIV). We will see this doctrine again and again as we read through Paul’s letters. A few interesting things at the end of the book, first off, Paul gets bit by a snake and lives! That is pretty cool. The people first thought it was “karma” that a prisoner would get bit by a snake, but when he did not die they all though he was a god. I would like to have known how Paul responded to this, but Luke moves on in the story. We learn that Paul is under house arrest in Rome but many people come to hear him talk and he shares the message of Jesus with them. One thing of note here is that Paul had already sent his letter to the Romans before he even arrived, so there were already believers in the city. An apostle did not start the church in Rome; Jews who were converted in Jerusalem at Pentecost most likely started it. The end of the book is a bit strange. Why do we not know the outcome of the trial with Caesar? How long did Paul stay in Rome? Where did he go after? How did he die? These are all good questions but they don’t all have good answers from scripture. We can piece together the end of Paul’s life from other sources but it is a bit blurry. Some theologians believe that Luke intended to write a third volume to the story. If he did, it has been lost to history. We will have to ask Luke when we get to heaven why the end is so abrupt.

Bits and Pieces
We will start the book of Romans this week. I love this book but I will try to limit my discussions of the text since I could teach a semester class with all the things that we can find in this letter. I will share the big ones with you. Here are the vital stats of the book:

PURPOSE: To introduce Paul to the Romans and to give a sample of his message before he arrives in Rome.
AUTHOR: Paul
TO WHOM WRITTEN: The Christians in Rome and believers everywhere
DATE WRITTEN: About A.D. 57, from Corinth as Paul was preparing for his visit to Jerusalem.
SETTING: Apparently Paul had finished his work in the east, and he planned to visit Rome on his way to Spain after first bringing a collection to Jerusalem for the poor Christians there. The Roman church was mostly Jewish but also contained a number of Gentiles.
KEY VERSES: “The righteous will live by faith” (1:17b) “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (5:1)
KEY PEOPLE: Paul, Phoebe
KEY PLACE: Rome
SPECIAL FEATURES: Paul wrote Romans as an organized and carefully presented statement of his faith—it does not have the form of a typical letter. He does, however, spend considerable time greeting people in Rome at the end of the letter.
Have a great week!!


Free Hit Counter