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Jesus’ Circumcision

CircumcisionWhen he was eight days old, Jesus underwent the ceremony of circumcision (Luke 2:21). The ritual was first instituted in the days of Abraham (Genesis 17:9-14) and was commanded by God (Genesis 17:10). Its purpose was to define who was related to God as far as the promises were concerned. Those who were circumcised were called the people of God, while those who were not were cut off from God’s people and rejected. That is, the promises wouldn’t apply to them. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2016 in Gospel of Luke

 

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The Birth of John the Baptist

John the Baptist - Birth

from Google Images

John the Baptist was one of the seven people God named before they were born.[1] He was six months older than Jesus, because Elizabeth was pregnant with him in her sixth month when Mary conceived. John would later be killed by Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee, because John had been critical of him for marrying Herodias, his brother’s (Herod Philip’s) wife. Jesus said there was no greater prophet than John the Baptist, yet only Luke mentions the details surrounding his birth. Josephus tells us that about eight years after John’s death: Antipas was at war with King Aretas, his former father-in-law, whose daughter Herod had divorced in order to marry Herodias. Antipas lost that war taking heavy casualties and losing his authority and presence in key areas where his land bordered that of King Aretas. The Jewish people were convinced Herod’s defeat was punishment from God for killing John the Baptist. What can we know of John? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2016 in Gospel of Luke

 

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What about Doctor Luke?

Gospel of Luke - 4

from Google Images

Many scholars refer to Colossians 4:14, saying Luke, the beloved physician, was the author of both Luke and Acts. Moreover, the many medical terms used in both theses seem to support the idea that they were penned by someone with at least some knowledge of medical science of the first century AD. However, tradition tells us Paul lists this Luke with a number of gentiles, implying he was not a Jew. Yet, it is almost certain Lucius of Cyrene is a Hellenistic Jew, and, as I pointed out in my previous blogpost, he seems to be an excellent candidate for Luke, the writer of the third Gospel and Acts. What can be said about the placement of Luke’s name in Colossians 4:14? Is he is a gentile? Does Paul really list a number of Jews ministering to him, while he was in prison, over against a number of gentiles, and is it possible to prove the conclusion? Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2016 in Gospel of Luke

 

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The Authentic Boast

from Google Images

from Google Images

“Before concluding his letter Paul returns once more to the antithesis of cross and circumcision, setting them forth this time as representing respectively the true and the false ground of boasting, and thus carrying a stage further his polemic against the Judaizers and their way of legal observance (Galatians 5:2-12).”[1] Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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The Battle for the Good News

from Google Images

from Google Images

The question at this point is: why is circumcision (or anything we do) unable to make us right with God (Galatians 5:6; cf. 3:10, 21)? Just as the wages we earn have nothing to do with being a gift we receive, so circumcision or anything we do can have nothing to do with making us right before God, because righteousness is imputed (i.e. it is a gift), and what we do looks for a wage (reward for services rendered). It is Christ who makes us righteous (through grace, a gift), and we can only trust it is so, just as we trust that any gift we receive is entirely a gift—no strings attached. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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It Is God’s Presence in Us

from Google Images

from Google Images

Paul continues to build up his first theological argument by questioning the Galatians how they are sanctified or brought to spiritual perfection (Galatians 3:3). His question is rhetorical. The obvious answer is that we are being brought to maturity through faith. We grow in Christ not by works but through our trusting him to guide us in our new life. It is obvious that the works of the Law are fleshy matters in that anything that requires effort on our part is innately physical and therefore a matter of the flesh. On the other hand, trusting Christ is a spiritual matter Faith is not a physical exercise, because it is accomplished by waiting not working. Faith is completely dependent upon someone else to act. Activity is something done by another, not the one who trusts for the thing to be done. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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Paul’s Second Argument with Peter

from Google Images

from Google Images

Obviously, we cannot know who the men from James really were, but in another blog[1] I wrote some time ago I argue that they were probably very notable men, perhaps powerful Jews who worshiped with the brethren at Jerusalem. It is unlikely that either Peter or Barnabas would have been seduced doctrinally. That may have been a problem at Galatia with the new believers, as well as the new gentile believers at Antioch, but Peter and Barnabas were teachers of the word of God. Their seduction came by way of pleasing men. In other words, they were intimidated in the presence of men from James. They changed their behavior, not their doctrinal understanding. They acted hypocritically, that is, not according to what they knew to be correct. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2015 in Epistle to the Galatians, Paul

 

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