Monday, September 28, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of September 27, 2020



Link to Worship Video for 9/27/20 – HERE

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*Direct link to Vimeo:



Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 9/27/20 – HERE

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Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 9/27/20 – HERE

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Sermon Message:

Text: Philippians 2:1-11


I wanted to begin this time together with a very deep and intense theological question. It is the same question I’ve begun, just about, every Sunday morning’s message during the pandemic, and the question is this…  


What jumps out at you in this text? What word(s), phrase(s), or idea(s) jump out at you as you hear/read the text?  


I believe that, as we read Scripture as a community, the Holy Spirit works inside each of us and points us to what we need to hear in the text. So, I would love to hear what the Holy Spirit is drawing your attention to. I am also fully aware that this is not the usual practice at Bethany, to holler out what you’re drawn to in the text, but I would still love to hear what just jumped out at you at we read through the Philippians text this morning.  If you would rather just talk to the people around you, feel free to tell your neighbor what jumped out at you in the text. I’ll give you a few moments to do this. I am going to ask that you don’t get into a big debate about what should or shouldn’t jump out for others. Rather, just listen to what jumps out to each other.


Do you want to know what jumped out at me in this text? It wasn’t so much a word or phrase that was in the text, but it was an idea from the text. The idea was…THIS JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE!  


Let’s be honest we live in a very “me” centered culture today. We place a very high value on individualism and self-sufficiency in our country, I’ve even heard someone say that we live in a “dog eat dog world.” Have you ever heard that expression?  All the ads we see on TV focus on what you need to succeed, to look good, to be in style, to be happy, or to feel like you have your life together. If you listen to people talk, it’s about my rights, my way of life, my beliefs, my political party, the way that I interpret Scripture, my Jesus, my comfort, my safety, I think you get the point.  When you watch political ads, and there are plenty to go around right now, the focus is on how much of a sleaze ball the other person is, or how you should fear what the other person is going to do if they win. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard an add that went like this, “Though so and so is a good candidate, with a good track record, I believe I would be a better candidate because I have proven myself by doing ‘X’.”  


So, when I read verses 3 and 4, “Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves. Don’t be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others” My initial reaction is, “Yeah, right!? Doesn’t God know the world we live in? Doesn’t he know how countercultural and rebellious it would be to live with a humble attitude and seek to serve others, especially people that I very much disagree with?  


Yet, isn’t that the point? If everyone one of us lived this way, what would you think would happen? Do you think there would be riots in the streets still?  Maybe, but I also think things would be a lot different in this world. I think there would be a lot more unity if we all lived with humility. So, how’s that working out for you?   


Did you know that Paul wrote these verses to a group of people that were probably persecuted and looked down upon by their neighbors? If you notice, in Philippi, Paul didn’t go to the synagogue first, as was his custom, probably become there wasn’t one. That would mean there weren’t enough Jewish men in Philippi to necessitate one, meaning that there were less than 10 Jewish men in the city.  My guess, is that there weren’t a lot of Jewish men in the city of Philippi because they weren’t welcome. The Jews weren’t the top rung of society. As a result, they were looked down upon and persecuted in some places, and Christianity, until the fall of the temple in 70AD, were seen as associated with Jews. This book was probably written in the early 50’s AD. So, Paul is writing to a group of Christians who are being looked down upon by their neighbors and saying that you should think of them as better than yourselves. How would you do with that one?   


So, how do we begin to change? The answer is actually in the text and it is the other thing that doesn’t make sense to me. The answer is also reflected in 1 John 4:19, where it says, “We love because God loved us first.” The answer is We because He.  


The answer comes from reading Scripture, and then living it out, in proper order. Here’s what I want you to do. Take just a few seconds, maybe up to a minute, and go back through the text to answer this question: What does the text say about who God is and what He has done? Before we can talk about ourselves, about things that need to shift and change in our lives, we need to first talk about what God has done. You see, God is the hero of the Bible. This book is really all about Him, and we simply live in response to the work that He has done, and is doing, in our lives. So, what does this text say about God?  


Well, if you look at verses 6 and 7 again, you see that the King of the Universe, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. The one who is equal with God. The one who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, who was there before the world was created, Jesus Christ. He chose to empty himself, taking the form of a servant, and dwelt among us.  


In a few months, were going to celebrate Christmas, don’t flip out, we’re not there yet. When we get there, we are going to talk about the lowly conditions in which Christ was born in: a young couple, not yet married, yet she was still a virgin, being born in a stable because no-one wanted them in the home or didn’t have room, and to be announced to, and visited by, shepherds, who were some of the lowliest people of that day. The King of the Universe, Jesus Christ, didn’t come as some conquering king in an earthly sense. Rather, He came “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  


The text goes on in verse 8 to say that “He humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, death on a cross.” The creator of the world, the King of the Universe, the one who has all power, and glory, and honor humbled himself; and he subjected himself to one of the most painful and tortuous ways to die, for you. Why? Because He loves us. Because he wanted our broken relationship with God the Father, and ultimately each other as a result, to be reconciled and restored. Because we can’t do that, no matter how hard we try.  


Jesus did for us what we could not do for ourselves.   


You see, when God created the earth, He created Adam and Eve, and He set a rule in place but they broke that rule. As a result, sin entered the world, and that sin separates us from God. We see the effects of that sin all around us, and even in our own lives.  


Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father. Through Him, our sins are forgiven, we are made new, and we are set free. Jesus did what we could not: He lived a perfect and sinless life, He went to the cross to suffer the punishment for your sins and mine, and he rose on Easter morning, proving his victory over sin. He redeems us, changes us, restores us, and makes us new through faith in Him.  


“This is why God has given him an exceptional honor—the name honored above all other names—so that at the name of Jesus everyone in heaven, on earth, and in the world below will kneel and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”


“In ancient times, people were given names to describe them. The name of Jesus describes the essence of who He is: “salvation is of the Lord.” There is no other savior or means of salvation.”1 It is only Jesus that saves. It is only Jesus that restores, and it is only Jesus that deserves all honor, praise, and glory.  


Now, one day, everyone is going to realize this, either on this side of heaven or the other. My prayer is that it ends up being this side. ;-)   


Until that time, you and I are called to live in response to what Christ has done in our lives. To have “the same attitude and the same love, living in harmony, and keeping one purpose in mind.” To not, “act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.” To not “be concerned only about your own interests, but also be concerned about the interests of others.” To “have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.”  

Let me go back to a question I asked earlier, “How is that working out for you?”


  • What would change in our world if, as a result of our faith in Christ, we truly did “nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but humbly considered others better than ourselves”?  
  • What would change if in our relationships with the people under our own roof if we lived out of our identity in Christ, who God says we are and calls us to be, than out of our own selfish ambition?
  • What would change in our relationships with those in our community?
  • What would change in our nation and world if every Christian, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, lived this way?


Honestly, I believe a lot would change.


  • If I’m being honest, I still have a lot of growing to do in this area. It’s really easy for me to be much more concerned with my own interests rather than the interests of others.
  • If I’m being honest, I probably need to spend more time confessing where I have fallen short, where I have given into the culture, than I do pointing out where I feel others are wrong.


Could you imagine how different social media would be, how different our world would be right now, if we were all more concerned with understanding the “other,” than we were about being right? If we sought to love people more than we do to demean them?


  • What would happen if when we came across someone that we disagreed with politically, or even personally, we would invite them over to our home, or out for coffee, and just sit with them for a while, listen to their story, listen to how they came to believe or value the thing they do, and then ask them how we could best serve them? Oh and there was a rule that, unless asked, we wouldn’t share with them our own opinion. (BTW eventually, I guarantee, someone would ask what you think.)
  • What would happen if, when we did speak truth to people, we did it with a lot more grace then we typically do? If, before we responded, we stopped to think about how much grace God shows us before we interacted with others?


How would things change if you knew that God would think of us, speak to us, or treat us the way you think, speak of, and treat others…especially online? Thank goodness He doesn’t, right?


We are going through a lot right now as an individual, as a family, as a church, as a community, and as a nation; and it is not always easy. There have been many times I have found myself out of step with Christ and with others during this time. There have been several times where I find myself, like Paul, saying, “What a miserable person I am! Who will rescue me from my dying body?” Yet, “I thank God that our Lord Jesus Christ rescues me!”2


I thank God that, in the midst of it all, He still loves us for the sake of Jesus. That he continually forgives us, and that, even when we mess it up royally, he still calls us His own. I thank God that, through the power of the Spirit, He continually grows us through what we go through. Amen


Let’s pray… Dear Jesus, I confess that I have been concerned with myself more than I have others. I confess that I have been quick to fight for my own interests and slow to concern myself with the interest of others. Forgive me, change me, and lead me to reflect the love, grace, and mercy that you constantly show me in my relationship with others. Fill me with joy and cause me to have the same attitude and the same love as you. Then I will be able to live in unity with my brothers and sisters, and with others as well. Lord, bring healing to our homes, churches, communities, and nation; and may you get all honor, praise, and glory as you grow us through what we go through today and every day. Amen.

- Pastor Kyle Blake


1 Edward A. Engelbrecht, The Lutheran Study Bible (St. Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 1 2009), 2035.

2 Romans 7:24-25


Worship Resources for Sunday, October 4th

will be up on Bethany’s website 

by midday Saturday, October 3rd.


The One Year Bible- September 28th

It’s almost October, and in most years, nothing says October like the Major League Baseball playoffs or Sunday Football. Maybe it’s dusty corners that turn into pumpkin patch carnivals. But ask any of the readers of “The One Year Bible” and they will tell you October is for the book of Jeremiah. Beginning October 3rd and going all the way until the 28th, Jeremiah holds its spot as the most days spent on any book (other than Psalms and Proverbs which we read every day). So settle in and get comfortable. Get your hot cider and your blanket because it is time to cuddle up with Jeremiah (that is a joke, if you don’t get it, you will soon). On to the study for today...


Where We Have Been


The Old Testament
I said last week I would spend some time talking about the book of Isaiah. I continue to be fascinated with this book every time I read it. There has been much debate on whether Isaiah actually wrote the entire thing. Most of this controversy is not worthy of mention here. In my mind, the arguments are not very convincing. For me, the one thing that really glues the whole book together is the continued mention of “The Holy One of Israel”. We talked about this a bit a few weeks ago. This phrase occurs 26 times in the book and only 6 times outside of the book. The overarching theme of the book to me is one that unveils the full dimensions of God’s judgment and salvation. God is “The Holy One” who must punish his rebellious people, but will afterward redeem them. This not only came to pass with the remnants return to Jerusalem under Ezra and Nehemiah, but also came to pass with the coming of Immanuel, God with us, in the person of the Christ child born in Bethlehem. The parallels are striking. The book of Isaiah refers to the people as evil, wicked, prostitutes, selfish, and [place your own adjective here]. Sounds a bit like the circumstances when Jesus arrived, not to mention today. Isaiah, like no other book, spells out the wonderful plan of salvation in the promised Messiah. Not only was salvation found in the remnant returning, it also was found in the person, work, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This same salvation can be found today through the power of Jesus Christ, in His word, and through what he left behind, namely baptism and communion. I don’t want to get too philosophical or theological on you, but just stop for a moment and sit in the majesty of God who, in his perfect plan, provided a way for you, a lowly sinner, to be made right with him. How awesome is that. Other main themes in the book include holiness, and hope. God is the one true God, who is holy and desires us to be holy too. There is a wonderful sense of hope in the book as well. Because of the promises from God, we have hope in salvation and hope of eternal life with him forever. Please know I am pouring in some meaning from other parts of the Bible that bring these themes out for me, but that does not change the fact that I believe that Isaiah was talking about them as well.


We will start Jeremiah this week and we will spend quite a while chewing on the topics in this book in the weeks to come. It may sound like Jeremiah keeps repeating himself, and that is true, but only because the people are not listening to the message. They just don’t get it. Look for the following mega-themes to come out in your reading and in our studies: Sin & Punishment (similar to Isaiah), God is Lord of All, New hearts, Faithful service. We will spend some more time on these themes in the weeks to come.


The New Testament
We finished off the book of Ephesians this week with the armor of God. I always thought this was great original imagery from Paul, then I read from Isaiah one day later,
He put on righteousness as his breastplate, and the helmet of salvation on his head” (Isaiah 59:17 NIV) I guess Paul really knew his Old Testament well!! The idea of the Armor of God is great concrete imagery that can be quite useful in teaching about the faith.


We did get to experience this week one of my favorite things about reading the Bible this way. We got to read an entire book (even though it was a small one) in just a few days. This is cool now but when we get a bunch of small books in a row coming up it will be hard to keep it all straight. The one thing to say about the book of Philippians is, rejoice! It seems to be a recurring theme with Paul in this letter. Paul rejoices for the people in Philippi and he instructs them to rejoice always and in everything. One amazing passage jumped out at me this week, For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.” (Philippians 1:21-24 NIV) What a great vision Paul has. Sometimes we get the “poor is me” attitude and it gets us down. Paul takes it the other way and says, “I don’t care what you throw at me, I still know that God will be honored.” I pray I can have that attitude every day. Philippians chapter two has one of the most amazing descriptions of who Jesus is. This is a great passage to share with someone who is just starting the journey of the Christian life. Paul gives us some great words of comfort and of hope in this letter. Two last quotes, But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13b-14 NIV)I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  (Philippians 4:13 NIV) I can’t say it much better than that. I like to go to this book whenever I need a pick me up. It is full of great phrases and encouragement.


Bits and Pieces


The Old Testament
Get ready for a steady stream of warnings from Jeremiah about destruction from the North and to repent and turn back to God. We will see this play out over and over again in the next few weeks.


The New Testament
We will finish up the book of Colossians and get into 1 Thessalonians this week. Here are the vital stats for the book:


PURPOSE: To strengthen the Thessalonian Christians in their faith, and give them assurance of Christ’s return


TO WHOM WRITTEN: The church at Thessalonica and all believers everywhere

DATE WRITTEN: About A.D. 51 from Corinth; one of Paul’s earliest letters

SETTING: The church at Thessalonica was very young, having been established only two or three years before this letter was written. The Thessalonian Christians needed to mature in their faith. In addition, there was a misunderstanding concerning Christ’s second coming—some thought Christ would return immediately, and thus they were confused when their loved ones died because they expected Christ to return beforehand. Also, believers were being persecuted.

KEY VERSE: “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” (4:14)

LAW THEMES: Imitation; affliction; parental care; God’s Word at work; God’s wrath; idleness.

GOSPEL THEMES: Deliverance; God’s Word at work; resurrection of the dead; salvation; complete sanctification; God’s faithfulness

KEY PEOPLE: Paul, Timothy, Silas

KEY PLACE: Thessalonica

SPECIAL FEATURES: Paul received from Timothy a favorable report about the Thessalonians. However, Paul wrote this letter to correct their misconceptions about the resurrection and the second coming of Christ. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

The Bethany Bullet Sermon Message - Week of September 20, 2020





Link to Worship Video for 9/20/20 – HERE

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*Direct link to Vimeo:





Link for printing Sunday’s Bulletin for 9/20/20 – HERE

*If unable to open link copy/paste this into your browser:




Link to Bible Discovery Resources for 9/20/20 – HERE

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Sermon Message: “Standing Firm”

Text: Philippians 1:21-30


Inspired by the Spirit, Paul writes the Philippians (and we Californians) in anticipation that we will “Grow Through That Which We Go Through.”  In the 27th verse of the 1st chapter Paul says, “Whatever happens conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the Gospel.” 


“Whatever” is pretty wide ranging!  Housing market collapse, stock market collapse, a positive test result returned from a doctor or a negative test result returned from a teacher, whatever is pretty wide ranging. 


We’ve lived through tons of “whatever’s” these past 6 months.  There are several whatever’s that await us in the weeks to come.  Whatever will we do as our Minister of Music relocates?  Whatever will we do as ministry on 3 campuses grows and expands?  Whatever will we do if our preachers keep wearing shorts on Sundays long after we left outdoors and returned to the sanctuary?  The answer to these and many other question is the same, we will “conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the a Gospel!”


We will do this confident that God will, through “whatever” we face, advance the Gospel and thus we shall grow through that which we go through.  This truth flows from that which the author of the epistle previously (vs 12) established, “I want you to know that what has happened to me (whatever) serves to advance the Gospel.” 


That is certainly true for us as well.  Paul was confined to his house, and we’ve spent some time these days confined to our homes.  Paul was chained, we’ve been masked.  The apostle could not go to visit the Philippian church, we’ve been unable to worship in our sanctuary.  Yet, through it all God has advanced the Gospel; and one primary way has been through our conduct (words and deeds, conversations and actions) done in a manner worthy of the Gospel. 


Such conduct enables many to Grow Through Whatever They Go Through.


- Pastor Kevin Kritzer




Worship Resources for Sunday, September 27th will be up on Bethany’s website by midday Saturday, September 26th.

The One Year Bible- September 21st

A number of years ago I was introduced to a form of devotion and reading called Lectio Divina. In short it is a tool to use when you are reading God’s word. Here is a quick definition: Lectio Divina is Latin for divine reading, spiritual reading, or "holy reading," and represents a method of prayer and scriptural reading intended to promote communion with God and to provide special spiritual insights. It is a way of praying with Scripture that calls one to study, ponder, listen and, finally, pray from God's Word. The past few weeks I have used this tool to stop and spend some time just chewing on God’s word and praying through what we have been reading. I have stopped in various places including parts of Isaiah, Ephesians and especially Psalms. I encourage you to give it a try. One thing you have been doing without even knowing it is something called Lectio Continua which is Latin for continuous reading. It is the discipline of reading the entire Bible without omitting anything. Both Lectio Continua and Lectio Divina can bring some depth as well as breadth to the study of God’s Word. On to the study...

Seth’s Thoughts

The Old Testament

I think I could write a novel on what we found in Isaiah this week. I think I told you that I am putting a star in the margin of my Bible each time I read “The Holy One Of Israel”. Remember that this is a term that points to the coming Messiah, Jesus. One thing to keep in mind is that you need to remember who the “I” is in some of these passages. Sometimes it is Yahweh, other times it is Isaiah. Make sure you know who is talking. This will go far in helping you understand some of the significance of the passage. Some general thoughts; we have entered the second part of the book of Isaiah and we will start to see much more of a prophetic message. Isaiah’s audience has changed from the people living in the Promised Land, to the exiles living in captivity. Here we see a message of hope and promise. Chapter 40 begins the new section with such a message, “Comfort, comfort my people says your God” (Isaiah 40:1 NIV). The people are in need of comfort because of what has happened. The people have been exiled. They are living in a foreign land and they need to hear the comforting words of their God. Chapter 40 gives a hope filled message and ends with a verse near and dear to my heart, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 NIV). This verse is my confirmation verse given to me by my father. It has been a source of comfort and hope for me for most of my life. I know that God is right there beside me giving me the strength I need to do his will. He promises to be with me when all other things seem to go wrong. Chapter 41 continues this same theme. Some of the most controversial parts of the book of Isaiah come from the sections where he mentions a character named Cyrus. He is called a shepherd, and one who will fulfill the purpose of God. He is also called an ally of God. Some translations use the Hebrew word Messiah to describe him. Cyrus was not a follower of Yahweh, he was the king of Persia, and a Gentile. He was used by God to bring the remnant back to the Jerusalem. Many believe that this name was inserted in later years to make Isaiah look good. There is no proof of this, and we should be careful to say that God was not the one who inspired Isaiah to write about this king. Many years later it would come to pass that King Cyrus would issue a decree that would allow many Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and more importantly the temple. Isaiah also spends much time on the topic of monotheism. There are so many references to the Messiah in Isaiah it is hard to mention them all. Keep on looking for things that seem familiar to the life of Christ. I will post some of the connections in an upcoming post.


The New Testament

We finished up Galatians and now are in Ephesians. One of the main themes in Ephesians is “The Body of Christ” and the church. One key idea to keep in your mind while reading is one of Paul’s presuppositions of the book, namely that we are “In Christ” and apart from Christ we can do nothing. We are part of Christ by what he did on the cross and by claiming us as his own in baptism. We have been adopted into the family and now we can celebrate with all the rights and privileges as heirs of salvation. This is an amazing gift of God. This idea of “gift” is huge in Ephesians. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV). What a wonderful message. It is not up to us. If it were, I know I would be in trouble! I think I could just give quote after quote from Paul for this post. I have underlined so much in my Bible this week. Here are some of the best in my mind. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13 ESV). “For he himself is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14 ESV). “So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19 ESV). “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6 ESV). “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 ESV). I could go on and on, but you get the point. This book is a deep rich read, filled with so many good things. Don’t just skim over these things. Meditate on them, let them sink in, roll them around you head for a while. You will be blessed by doing so.

Bits and Pieces


The Old Testament

We will finish up Isaiah this week. I will have a lot to say next week about it. This week we will start the book of Jeremiah. Here are the vital stats:


PURPOSE: To urge God’s people to turn from their sins and back to God

AUTHOR: Jeremiah

TO WHOM WRITTEN: Judah (the southern kingdom) and its capital city Jerusalem

DATE WRITTEN: During Jeremiah’s ministry approx. 627-586 B.C.

SETTING: Jeremiah ministered under Judah’s last five kings—Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah. The nation was sliding quickly toward destruction and was eventually conquered by Babylon in 586 B.C. (see 2 Kings 21-25). The prophet Zephaniah preceded Jeremiah, and Habakkuk was Jeremiah’s contemporary.

KEY VERSE: “’Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and relize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me,’ declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty” (2:19).

KEY PEOPLE: Judah’s kings (see list above), Baruch, Ebed-Melech, King Nebuchadnezzar, the Recabites

KEY PLACES: Anathoth, Jerusalem, Ramah, Egypt

SPECIAL FEATURES: This book is a combination of history, poetry, and biography. Jeremiah often used symbolism to communicate his message.



The New Testament

We will finish up Ephesians, read Philippians and start on Colossians this week. Here are the vital stats for Philippians:


PURPOSE: To thank the Philippians for the gift they had sent Paul and to strengthen these believers by showing them that true joy comes from Jesus Christ alone.


TO WHOM WRITTEN: All the Christians at Philippi and all believers everywhere

DATE WRITTEN: About A.D. 61, from Rome during Paul’s imprisonment there

SETTING: Paul and his companions began the church at Philippi on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:11-40). This was the first church established on the European continent. The Philippian church had sent a gift with Epaphroditus (one of their members) to be delivered to Paul (4:18). Paul was in a Roman prison at the time. He wrote this letter to thank them for their gift and to encourage them in their faith.

KEY VERSE: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (4:4)

KEY PEOPLE: Paul, Timothy, Epaphroditus, Euadia, and Syntyche

KEY PLACE: Philippi


Here are the vital stats for the book of Colossians:


PURPOSE: To combat errors in the church and to show that believers have everything they need in Christ.


TO WHOM WRITTEN: The church at Colosse, a city in Asia Minor, and all believers everywhere

DATE WRITTEN: About A.D. 60 during Paul’s imprisonment in Rome

SETTING: Paul had never visited Colosse—evidently the church had been founded by Epaphras and other converts form Paul’s missionary travels. The church, however, had been infiltrated by religious relativism, with some believers attempting to combine elements of paganism and secular philosophy with Christian doctrine. Paul confronts these false teachings and affirms the sufficiency of Christ.

KEY VERSES: “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority” (2:9-10).

KEY PEOPLE: Paul, Timothy, Tychicuys, Onesimus, Aristarchus, Mark, Epaphras

KEY PLACES: Colosse, Laodicea

SPECIAL FEATURES: Christ is presented as having absolute supremacy and sole sufficiency. Colossians has similarities to Ephesians, probably because it was written at about the same time, but it has a different emphasis.

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