NT July 5-9

July 5 — Romans 15 — Incorporating Gentiles.  Paul had been called by God “to be a minister … to the Gentiles” (v. 16) in order “to bring the Gentiles to obedience” (v. 18).  I love the progressive way the Gentiles are said to be included in the family of God as Paul shares three Old Testament quotes.  The first is aimed at the Jews who would praise God “among the Gentiles” (v. 9)—Jews making contact with Gentiles.  The second is addressed to the Gentiles who are challenged to rejoice “with his people” (v. 10)—Gentiles joining to worship with Jews.  Then, the Gentiles are encouraged to “Praise the Lord”—Gentiles on their own praising God without dependence on the Jews.  Most of us are Gentiles who worship God on our own but we still have the need and opportunity to progress.  It is “through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (4).  We are growing gradually in order to be self-motivated to read the Bible and pray privately on our own, although we also do it collectively with other believers, as we “with one voice glorify” God (v. 6).

July 6 — Romans 16 — The Saints.  Paul named 35 people in this chapter as he wrote a temporary farewell to these Christians in Rome.  He began with the names of 27 people whom he knew in Rome—a place he had not yet visited.  What a wide impact he had made on the early church!  He had encountered and worked with all of these people in other places and other churches.  The first name, Phoebe, was a trusted lady who apparently carried this letter to Rome (v. 1).  Prisca and Aquila (v. 3) were the husband-wife team Paul met and worked with in Corinth.  They, along with other Jews had been kicked out of Rome by the Emperor (Acts 18:2).   Each of these people had a story.  Paul then named eight people who were with him as he dictated his letter to Tertius (v. 22).  They were friends and fellow workers in ministry, people known by many of the 27 people mentioned earlier.  They, like you, had life stories that were important to the rest of the church and that made a difference in the lives of others.

July 7 — 1 Corinthians 1 — The Corinthian Mirror.  Paul established a church in Corinth on his second missionary journey, staying there for 18 months.  He wrote this letter to them several years later from Ephesus near the end of his third missionary journey.  He knew them well in a positive way as being “sanctified” and “called to be saints” (v. 2).  They were “enriched … in all speech and all knowledge” (v. 5) and were “not lacking in any gift” (v. 7).  But he later learned that among other things, they now were lacking unity (v. 10) and were slipping into worldly thinking based on human wisdom.  Much of this letter seeks to correct the ways they had deviated from the path of right-thinking and acting.  We should look for ourselves in the mirror of this letter and heed Paul’s instructions.

July 8 — 1 Corinthians 2 — True Wisdom.  Eight times in chapter 1 and seven times in this chapter, Paul speaks of wisdom, contrasting the human wisdom of this world (vv. 3, 6, 13) with the true wisdom of God (vv. 5, 7, 13).  Human wisdom is our default.  Our sinful nature causes us to focus on ourselves—on what we think.  The culture around us also influences us in the same direction.  But God offers us superior wisdom—His divine and perfect wisdom.  The world without Christ doesn’t recognize the true value of wisdom (v. 14) but knowing Christ opens the door to His superior wisdom.  We are drawing upon it right now as we read and reflect on His Word.  We are gradually being taught the ultimate, true wisdom.

July 9 — 1 Corinthians 3 — From Toddler to Temple.  We Christians are in the process of becoming something.  We started out as infants with our initial commitment to Christ and we began growing by feeding on spiritual milk (v. 2).  That is not bad because that is where we all should start.  Peter wrote that ‘Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 Pet. 2:2).  We are drinking this milk by reading through the New Testament this year.  But part of our growth involves not only taking in what is good but also throwing out what is bad.  Paul mentions “jealousy and strife” (v. 3) and “the wisdom of this world” (v. 19) as examples of what needs to be discarded.  That is the way we grow into spiritual adulthood.  There is another way that we grow as Christians, however, and that is collectively, as the Church of Christ, which Paul describes as a temple (v. 16).  An ESV footnote points out that all of the words for “you” in verses 16 and 17 are plural.  “God’s temple” is the collection of people that come together to help each other grow.  Let’s make growth a lifelong endeavor.

Published by abibleread

This website honors the Bible as the inspired Word of God through which God speaks to us as we read and study it.

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