Category Archives: Bible in a Year

Bible in a Year, Week 10: 1, 2 Thessalonians

This is the tenth weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is 1 & 2 Thessalonians. It should only take about 5 minutes a day, or about 1-2 chapters a day to complete the assignment.

Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read 1 & 2 Thessalonians:

Background: Thessalonica was a leading city in Macedonia at the time of Paul. It was a crossroads by land and by city. It was a center for commerce, business, and the Roman military. At that time it had a population of about 200,000. Paul had visited the city on his second missionary journey around 51 A.D. It seems that he wrote 1 Thessalonians shortly after in late 51 or early 52 A.D from the city of Corinth.

1 Thessalonians 1: Paul opens this letter in standard form consisting of three parts: A) Author, B) Recipients, C) Greeting. Following this Paul states his thanks for the Thessalonian Christians. Of course, thanks is given to God for his work in them. His Word powerfully worked in their hearts as they heard the good news about Jesus from Paul. As they joyfully responded to the gospel, they continued to welcome Paul with much hospitality. Even after that they continued in their faith despite much opposition that resulted in many sufferings. Paul was thankful though that they were remaining in the faith. Read the rest of this entry

Bible in a Year, Week 9: Philippians, Colossians

This is the ninth weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is Philippians and Colossians. It should only take about 5 minutes a day, or about 1-2 chapters a day to complete the assignment.

Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read Philippians and Colossians:

Background: Philippi had become an important city under King Philip (its namesake) and his son Alexander the Great. As world powers shifted, it also became an important city under the rule of the Roman Empire. Philippi was made a Roman colony and many Roman soldiers retired to that city.

Paul first visited Philippi on his second missionary journey. Acts 16 tells us of the amazing events that took place there, and the great work that God accomplished. He also visited twice on his third missionary journey. It is very clear that Paul was writing this letter while imprisoned. It seems as though he wrote this while under house arrest between 61-63 A.D. He wrote to encourage them to remain steadfast in their faith, and to share with them the great joy that all believes have in their Savior Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1: Paul opens again with the standard form for his letters. Three parts can be identified: 1) Author, 2) Audience, 3) Greeting/Blessing. As a theme for the book of Philippians is joy and rejoicing, Paul had much joy as he considered his brothers and sisters at Philippi. He was very thankful for them, their faith, and their partnership in the work of sharing the good news about Jesus. Now it was his prayer that they would keep it up! Read the rest of this entry

Bible in a Year, Week 7: 1-2 Corinthians

This is the seventh weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians. It should only take about 12 minutes a day, or about 3-4 chapters a day to complete the assignment.

Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read 1 & 2 Corinthians.

Background: Corinth was a city much like many modern metropolises in the United States. Today that is not the case. But back in Paul’s time, it had an estimated 200,000 residents. It had a booming economy. And the residents surely enjoyed “worldly” living. We might imagine that living in Corinth back then was akin to a Christian living in New York City, Miami, or San Francisco today.

Paul founded the Corinthian congregation on his second missionary journey. He went to Corinth after his stop in Athens. From there he went to Ephesus. While in Ephesus he learned of troubles in the congregation. It appears from the context that 1 Corinthians is actually the second letter that he wrote to the congregation. Much of it is very pointed, addressing certain issues specifically and directly.

Shortly after Paul wrote 2 Corinthians from Macedonia, perhaps around 56 A.D. From this third letter it appears that the second letter had affect and the congregation was changing. We can only pray that God works in our hearts through the wonderful message of these two letters in such a powerful way!

1 Corinthians 1: Paul begins this letter in the typical format for his letters. There are three parts to this opening: 1) Author, 2) Audience/Recipients, 3) Greeting. Though Paul has some harsh words for the Corinthians coming in the following chapters, he begins by thanking God for them and for their faith. But then he gets right into it. Immediately he appeals to these fellow Christians to be perfectly united in mind and thought. What a travesty it is in our churches when we experience what the Corinthians did–rifts, factions, fights, and quarrels! Read the rest of this entry

Bible in a Year, Week 6: Romans

This is the sixth weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is the book of Romans. It should only take about 10 minutes a day, or about 2-3 chapters a day to complete the assignment.

Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read Romans.

Background: It is obvious that the apostle Paul wrote Romans because of the very first word and introduction of the letter. It seems from chapter 15 that he wrote this on his third missionary journey as he was about to return to Jerusalem, which would have been between 53-57 A.D. Other evidence may indicate more specifically that he wrote the letter around 57 A.D. from the city of Corinth at the end of that journey.

Paul wrote the letter to them because he was not able to visit them. The dominant theme and central concept of the letter is righteousness. Paul addresses how it has been lost by all people who are sinners, how it is received through faith in Jesus alone, and how it changes our lives to live for Christ. Thus, it could be said that the theme of Romans is Righteousness from God.

Romans 1: Paul begins this letter in typical fashion. It was a common opening for letters of this time, as it was also for Paul’s letters. There are three parts to the opening A) Identification of the author, B) Identification of the recipients, C) Greeting. Paul greets them appropriately in grace–God’s undeserved love–and in peace–God’s free gift through Jesus.

Paul then expresses his great desire to be with the Roman Christians. How he longed to share more with them about the gospel–the good news that Jesus Christ is Savior. That news of free and full forgiveness is a message that Paul was determined to share with all. He was not ashamed at all to share that great news with anyone and everyone. What a joy to know and to share that righteousness comes from God through faith and not through our works.

Paul continues in chapter one by showing the need for the gospel. All people in the world are sinners. All are and continue to act in a corrupt and sinful way. All deserve God’s wrath and punishment.

As a number of sins are mentioned here in this opening chapter, it should be noted that homosexuality is also mentioned. God is very clear in these words that homosexuality is indeed sinful and against his will. Gays and lesbians come up with all kinds of reasons to continue in their lifestyles: “I was born this way,” “It feels good,” “Times have changed,” “This is real love,” “God’s Word doesn’t apply any more,” and so on. Yet none of those reasons (or excuses) are valid. It is against God’s will. Even the “I was born this way” excuse is not valid. While that issue won’t be discussed here, even if a person were born that way, it doesn’t matter. All people are born sinful. Does that mean they should sin? If a person is born with a predisposition to hate (which we all are because we all are sinners), does that mean it is permissible to murder? It is not our opinions or thoughts or feelings that matter on such issues. God’s Word and his decrees are what matter. We must follow his commands and not our own desires. Read the rest of this entry

Bible in a Year, Week 5: Acts

This is the fifth weekly reading in the plan for reading your Bible in one year. The assignment for this week is the book of Acts. It should only take about 15 minutes a day, or about 4 chapters a day to complete the assignment.

Here are some comments to help you grow in knowledge and faith as you read Acts.

Background: Luke wrote the book of Acts. Luke was not one of the 12 disciples, but he was an apostle. This letter to Theophilus is a continuation of where he left off with his detailed account in his gospel. Luke the doctor investigated carefully everything that Jesus said and did for his gospel account. But for Acts, Luke was a witness of many of the events himself. There are several “we” sections in Acts that indicate Luke was with Paul on these journeys. These “we” sections are: 16:10-17; 20:5-15; 21:1-18; 27:1-28:16.

Some think of Acts as a record of “the Acts of the Apostles.” This could be appropriate and fitting. Perhaps a better view might be to see this book as “the Acts of the Holy Spirit.” Acts is an amazing testimony to the power of the Spirit who worked in great and mighty ways through the preaching of the gospel.

As we read Acts, it can only be our prayer that God would use us to spread his Word in such bold and courageous ways, and that God would bless our work as he blessed the work of these first believers! Read the rest of this entry