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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Paul and the Man of Sin

The man of sin or man of lawlessness seems to have been a figure in Paul’s day, because the mystery of lawlessness was already at work (2Thessalonians 2:7). If his work was already present in the first century CE, then we must consider the possibility that he also lived at that time and would be revealed to us in the pages of history by means of his labor that would not be according to law. Admittedly, most scholars would not support this possibility, because their interpretation is dependent upon a yet future work against the people of God. However, and we need to consider this possibility, did Paul believe that, and if not, do we consider ourselves more knowledgeable than he about those things he wrote? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2013 in Gospel, Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey

 

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Trouble in Thessalonica

Paul was deeply concerned over the condition of the believing community he left at Thessalonica. He and Silas had to leave in a hurry; indeed, they were expelled from the city by its ruling politarchs, who required Jason, whose home provided the necessary shelter for Paul and Silas, to post bond on their behalf to insure the peace of the city. Neither Paul nor Silas were legally able to return to the city as long as these same politarchs held office, which seems to be an annual term. However, the same magistrates could hold this office for more than one term,[1] which would keep the evangelists out of the city even longer. Nevertheless, it seems probable that the security would have been returned to Jason, if no ruckus had taken place over a single term of office. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2013 in Gospel, Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey

 

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A Plan Sensitive to the Spirit of God

I often wonder if Biblical scholars actually believe Jesus is Lord of anything or, for that matter, Lord of anyone. I suppose, since many Biblical scholars don’t even believe in God, it is not surprising that these otherwise dedicated men and women see so many contradictions between Paul’s letters and Luke’s Acts. Nevertheless, I agree with the contemporary wisdom of a seldom quoted man—at least not in scholarly circles: “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”[1] Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2013 in Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey, Textual Criticism

 

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Off the Beaten Track to Beroea

Although Beroea was the capital of one of the districts of Macedonia, it was on a lesser road off the Via Egnatia and about 50 miles southwest of Thessalonica. Did Paul intend to continue to evangelize the Grecian peninsula, or did he intend to travel further westward on the Via Egnatia and eventually to the Adriatic port of Dyrracium and sail to Brindisi, Italy, and from there to Rome? Of course, we don’t know and Luke doesn’t give us any clear indication of the plans of the missionary team at this point, but later Paul would say in his letter to the Romans that he did intend to visit them on previous occasions but was hindered (Romans 1:13; 15:20-23).[1] Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Gospel, Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey

 

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Opposition to the Gospel at Thessalonica

The Jews who opposed the Gospel (Acts 17:5) were probably the synagogue rulers, for Paul says that he preached the Gospel there through much contention (1Thessalonians 2:2). Since the opposition he endured came from the Jews (Acts 17:5) and not from gentiles, as was the case in Philippi (1Thessalonians 2:2), no doubt he was opposed from the very beginning when he shared Christ with the Thessalonians on three Sabbath days (Acts 17:3-4). Moreover, in view of the fact that the majority of the Jews did not receive the Gospel, it becomes even more persuasive that the synagogue rulers or leaders openly opposed Paul’s arguments (Acts 17:5) in the synagogue. Had the leaders received the Gospel, most Jews in Thessalonica would no doubt have gone along with their leaders. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2013 in Gospel, Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey

 

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Paul’s Debate in Thessalonica

When Paul and company arrived at Thessalonica and settled in they entered the synagogue, whereupon Paul began reasoning with the local Jews and God-fearing gentiles according to the Scriptures. Paul’s argument took the form of a logical analysis concerning the identity of the Messiah. Luke states two of Paul’s probably three premises concluding that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Gospel, Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey

 

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Paul Visits Thessalonica

After being asked to leave Philippi by the city magistrates (Acts 16:39), Paul visited Lydia’s home, which had become the first house-church in the city and comforted and encouraged the believing community there. His delay in obeying the city authorities expresses the advantage of his Roman citizenship, which honor had been vindicated through the magistrates’ apology concerning their illegal behavior. Paul left on the Via Egnatia, the main Roman highway connecting Rome with her eastern provinces. The missionary team was probably on horseback and reached Thessalonica in approximately three days with overnight stops at Amphipolis and Apollonia (Acts 17:1), roughly 30 miles per day. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2013 in Gospel, Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey

 

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Imprisonment at Philippi

Philippi was a Roman colony as was Pisidian Antioch, where Paul visited earlier (Acts 13). Roman colonies were settled by Roman citizens, usually military men and their families, and they were governed and treated as though they were the cities in Italy. Roman citizens there were very influential and were often among the very wealthy land owners. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 11, 2013 in Gospel, Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey

 

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The Gospel Goes to Europe

Did the Gospel make a huge leap forward in its quest to reach all nations by going to Europe? Well that is a question others wiser than I will have to answer, for it is true both sides of the Aegean Sea shared many similarities, including a common language, similar political governments and religious traditions. Nevertheless Paul and company were called through a vision to specifically preach the Gospel to Macedonia (Acts 16:9-10). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Gospel, Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey

 

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Prevented by the Spirit?

As often as I read Acts 16:6, I have wondered just how the Holy Spirit stopped Paul and company from preaching in the province of Asia. Then when they decided to evangelize the province of Bithynia along the Black Sea (verse-7), the Spirit of Jesus again prevented their preaching efforts there. Why and how was this done? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2013 in Gospel, Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey

 

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Paul Returns to Galatia

As noted in a previous blog, Barnabas and Paul split up. Barnabas took Mark and sailed off to Cyprus where he and Paul originally began the first leg of what turned out to be a Galatian evangelistic effort. Paul took Silas and went to Galatia over land by way of Cilicia and the Taurus mountains. Whether or not they intended to meet in one of the Galatian cities is not mentioned in the text, but since Luke never mentions Paul returning to Cyprus to strengthen the churches there, Barnabas and he probably decided to cover different territories. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in circumcision, Paul's 2nd Missionary Journey

 

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