Today's Devotions

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Showcase: Christmas

  • Christmas all over the world by Julie Moore +

    See how Christmas-y we are? In our house we loooove Christmas. You know those houses you pass that are covered Read More
  • 'Zat, you Christmas? by Julie Moore +

    I guess, as a Christian, I am supposed to be going around pointing out to everyone that Jesus is "the Read More
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Don  Carson

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/2-samuel/21.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/galatians/1.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/ezekiel/28.html

http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/psalms/77.html

2 Samuel 21; Galatians 1; Ezekiel 28; Psalm 77

THE OPENING LINES OF Paul's letters are usually crafted with great care.

The simplest form of letters in the ancient Greek world was: "From me, to you, Greetings"—often followed by some statement of thanks, and then the body of the letter. But Paul's customary practice is to "tweak" every component to anticipate what is coming in the rest of his letter. Thus a study of his letter as a whole enriches our understanding of his opening lines—and vice versa (Gal. 1:1–5).

(1) Paul does not always introduce himself as "an apostle." Sometimes he uses no designation (e.g., 1 and 2 Thess.); sometimes he refers to himself as a "servant" (Rom. 1:1). Here he is "Paul, an apostle" because some people were troubling the Galatian Christians with a "different gospel" that was "really no gospel at all" (1:6–7), and to do so they had to undermine Paul's authority and dismiss him as, at best, a derivative apostle.

(2) Not so, Paul says: not only is he an apostle, but he was "sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father" (1:1). His apostleship was not mediated, as if he had been commissioned by the Jerusalem church, or by some individual first-class apostle there. Rather, he was sent "by Jesus Christ," based on his Damascus Road experience of seeing the risen and exalted Jesus himself, and by God the Father.

(3) Paul further designates God the Father as the one who raised Jesus from the dead. Paul had seen the raised Jesus, the resurrected Jesus. In his years as a devout Pharisee, he had dismissed Jesus as an evil pretender, a malefactor, cursed by God as was clear from the manner of his death. Seeing the resurrected Jesus for himself made Paul rethink everything. Jesus was vindicated by God himself, and the good news of which Paul was an apostle is grounded in Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.

(4) However much he insists on his apostolic status and authority, Paul wisely associates himself and his teaching with "all the brothers" with him (1:2). If the Galatians angle off toward this "different gospel," they must know that they are not only turning away from Paul, but from the countless believers who agree with Paul.

(5) Instead of the traditional greeting Chairein, Paul uses the Christian word grace (charis) and the Jewish greeting peace (shalom in Hebrew) and grounds these blessings in the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus (1:3–5)—not on any particular relationship to the Law of Moses.

(6) Astonishingly, Paul leaves out the "thanks" section, and immediately drives toward his astonished rebuke of the impending defection of his readers (1:6–10). However rare, there are times when a rebuke will not wait.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/loveofgod/

Reflections to Consider

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Publications

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Music

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Audio & Video

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Favorites

  • Mysterious and Unknown: Our Great God Fernando Ortega +

    Eternal God, unchanging Mysterious and unknown Your boundless love unfailing In grace and mercy shown Bright seraphim in ceaseless flight Read More
  • Our Great God by Fernando Ortega +

    Eternal God, unchangingMysterious, and unknownYour boundless love, unfailingIn grace and mercy shownBright seraphim in endless flightAround Your glorious throneThey raise Read More
  • This is my Father's world by Fernando Ortega +

    This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears all nature sings, and round me rings the music of Read More
  • Praise to the Lord, the Almighty by Fernando Ortega +

    Praise to the Lord, the AlmightyThe King of creationO my soul, praise HimFor He is thy health and salvationAll ye Read More
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Hidden Blessings

  • The Inerrancy of Scriptures by Dr. Wayne Grudem (Systematic Theology, ch5) +

    Below is an outline from Dr. Grudem's teaching on inerrancy; at the end of the outline is a link to Read More
  • The Joy of the Lord: God's Promise in Scriptures +

    Neh 8:10b For the joy of the Lord is your strength. Ps 5:11 But let all those that put their Read More
  • God Hears Us--Scriptures to Meditate On +

      For they cried to the God in the battle, and He was entreated of them; because they put their Read More
  • God's Favor and Sufficiency--Scriptures to Mediate On +

    Deut 7:9 Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy Read More
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