Skip to main content

bible reading mar 31--apr 1



Bible reading for weekend March 31 -- April 1

Mar 31 -- Proverbs 18 and Colossians 1

Apr 1 -- Proverbs 19 and Colossians 2

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits." (Proverbs 18:21)

THE POWER OF LANGUAGE. One of the most remarkable gifts that God gave us in creation was the gift of communication. With our thoughts and mouths we can communicate not only concrete realities but also abstract ideas.  This is part of the image of God in man, since our God communicates (and creates) by spoken language. Truth itself is spoken reality. The tongue is an amazing organ, or tool, for both good and evil (Jas 3:1-10). An important part of wisdom is knowing when to speak and when to be silent, to whom to speak, and what to say and how to say it (Jas 1:19-20). Wisdom is not merely a matter of being silent, because some things really need to be said (see Psalms 32:3; 39:1-2). Words can bring death, but words are needed to bring life, as well. Jesus Christ himself is called "the Word" (John 1:1-14).  At one point in Jesus' ministry, when many stopped following him because they found it difficult to accept his teaching (John 6:60-71), Jesus asked his disciples if they wanted to leave, too. Peter answered truthfully and wisely, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life..." (John 6:68). Our Lord's words -- received and believed -- change us forever. God's communication to us, the Bible, changes our consciousness daily as we read it, that is, it increases our understanding, insight, encouragement, and hope. "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Rom 10:17). 

REFLECT. There are several broad themes in these chapters, including the need for companionship and the importance of work. But I counted about sixteen references to speaking or listening in these two chapters. So, as you read these proverbs, observe and make a list of what is being said about wisdom in speech. Here's the question: how can our speaking, as well as our listening and our silence, do good for others and bring glory to God?

================   

"He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell..." (Colossians 1:18-19)

THE PRE-EMINENCE OF CHRIST (ch 1). Colossians is another of Paul's prison epistles, written from Rome (Acts 28:30) around AD 60-61. The opening prayer (vv 3-12) is an excellent example of what we can pray for one another. The theme of this epistle revolves around the pre-eminence of Christ. Being "firstborn" means he has first place in the universe (not that he was born, vv 15, 18). He is fully God, and the salvation he accomplished is completely sufficient for us. The words, "all, whole, every, full, fully, fullness" appear over 30 times in the first two chapters. We will need to grow in his grace, and mature in him, but we need no other Savior or Lord. We are complete in him (vv 13-14; 2:9-10). In Christ we have everything we need, and Christ in us is "the hope (sure expectation) of glory" (v 27)

THE COLOSSIAN HERESY (ch 2). The false teaching circulating among the Christians in Colossae was a mix of Jewish legalism and mysticism. Paul calls it a "self-made religion" (v 23), that combined asceticism, visions, and angel-worship. The implication of this teaching was that Jesus was not enough. Paul reiterates that in Christ are "hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (v 3). All our sins are forgiven, and we are made alive in Christ, and filled with God. The Old Testament was a preparation, or the shadow of Christ, who is the reality and substance of our faith (vv 16-17).  We do not need to climb some mystical ladder to the next angel, or avatar, or sensei, or master, or lord, but rather, we keep walking by faith in him: "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving" (vv 6-7). 

JESUS OUR ALL-IN-ALL. All through the history of the church, there have been teachers (and movements) who taught, either plainly or by implication, that having Jesus was not enough. "You believe in Jesus, and that's good as far as it goes, but here's what else you need..." We do indeed grow in grace, and mature in Christ, but we do not go beyond Jesus. His salvation is complete, fully sufficient, and he himself is all we need. By faith we are complete in him. He is not only the way, but also our destination. Charles Spurgeon once wrote, "To be with Christ is to be in heaven, and to be in heaven is to be with Christ." He is all we need and want. Older evangelicals often used the term, "All-in-all", to describe Christ. To trust him completely is to find Jesus to be our All-in-all. Is he that to you? 


About this newsletter: I post three times a week on my Bible reading, following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Another resource I recommend is the NET Bible with its excellent notes at netbible.org.  


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

bible reading nov 1-2

  Bible reading for weekend Nov 1 -- 2 Nov 1 -- Hosea 7 and Psalms 120-122 Nov 2 -- Hosea 8 and Psalms 123-125 ================   "Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing." (Hosea 8:12) THE RESULTS OF SIN (ch 7-8). Notice the words and metaphors to describe Israel's sinful condition: they are surrounded with, and proud of, their evil (7:1-3); like adulterers in the heat of passion (7:4-5); their anger is like a hot oven (7:6-7); they are like a half-cooked (one side only) cake (7:8); their strength is gone (7:9); they are like silly doves easily trapped (7:11-12); they are undependable like a warped bow (7:16). In spite of all of this they are so proud of themselves! (We might say they have a strong self-esteem.) They have spurned what is good (8:3); they sow to the wind and have no real fruit (8:7); they are a useless vessel (8:8) and a wild donkey wandering alone (8:9); they regard God's law as a strange thing

bible reading dec 3-5

  Bible reading for weekend December 3 -- 5  Dec 3 -- Nahum 1 and Luke 17 Dec 4 -- Nahum 2 and Luke 18 Dec 5 -- Nahum 3 and Luke 19 ================ "The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. But with an overflowing flood he will make a complete end of the adversaries, and will pursue his enemies into darkness." (Nahum 1:7-8)  TIME'S UP FOR NINEVEH (Nah 1-3). The prophecy of Nahum is God's word to the people of Nineveh, part two. Jonah was part one, chronicling a city-wide repentance of Assyrians in the capital about a hundred years earlier. The closing bookend is Nahum, and the Assyrian empire is big, powerful, and aggressive. Notice the references to chariots (2:3-4, 13; 3:2). The Assyrians were a militarily advanced culture, and cruel in their warfare. Whatever spiritual receptivity they had at the time of Jonah was gone by the time of Nahum. Nahum may not have actually visited Nineveh, for it seems the book was w

bible reading dec 13-14

Bible reading for December 13 -- 14  Dec 13 -- Haggai 2 and John 3 Dec 14 -- Zechariah 1 and John 4 ================ "Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts..." (Haggai 2:4) THE LATTER GLORY (Haggai 2). The Jews, having returned from Babylonian exile, must get to work and finish rebuilding the temple. For this reason, the post-exilic period is called the "second temple" period. King Herod would later enlarge and add many embellishments to the site. But the beginnings in Haggai are so modest compared to the temple originally built by Solomon, and the people were discouraged. The Lord asks, "Is it not as nothing in your eyes?" (v 3) He tells them that they are to be strong and to keep working, for he is with them, no matter how humble the project may seem. This principle applies to us, as well (Matt 28:20; Eph 6:10). We should not become disheartened at the smallness of the return on our