Acts: Introduction – Acts 1

Read the Passage: Acts 1

Authorship & Date – While this book is technically an anonymous work, nearly all scholars agree that Luke is the author of the book of Acts. If Luke did write Acts, this book can be viewed as a follow-up volume to the Gospel of Luke, which is also technically anonymous. Evidence for Luke’s authorship of this book include: (1) The nearly unanimous testimony of the early church; (2) the fact that both Luke and Acts are written to “Theophilus,” who was likely a royal official—cf. Luke 1:3; Acts 1:1; Continue reading Acts: Introduction – Acts 1

Liberty and the Law – Galatians 5

Read the Passage: Galatians 5

Liberty and the Law (5:1–6)

After having illustrated the difference between works- and faith-based righteousness in Gal. 4:21–31, in Gal. 5:1 Paul exhorts the Galatian believers to hold fast to the gospel of justification by faith alone. Here Paul reminded the believers in Galatia that the law is an entangling “yoke of bondage.” As he continues in Gal. 5:2, using circumcision as a metaphor for legalism, Paul noted that attempts at salvation thought law-keeping actually undermine the work of Christ, and in so doing, pervert the gospel. Continue reading Liberty and the Law – Galatians 5

Sons, Heirs, and Adoption – Galatians 4

Read the passage: Galatians 4

Paul’s Rebuke (4:1–7)

In Gal. 3:24–26 Paul discussed the convictional use of the law, as he described its use as “a tutor to bring us to Christ” (Gal. 3:24). Yet, he noted that as believers, “We are no longer under a tutor . . . . [We] are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:25–26). Further, Paul had described believers as “heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). In Gal. 4:1–3 Paul continues this illustration writing that even though we are chosen heirs (cf. Eph. 1:4–6), before our adoption, we were the same as slaves. Continue reading Sons, Heirs, and Adoption – Galatians 4

The Law and the Gospel – Galatians 3

Read the Passage: Galatians 3

Gospel and the Law (3:1–9)

As a means of combating the works-based salvation and law-based sanctification message of the Judaizers, as well as confirming the validity of his own message, in Gal. 3:1–9 Paul begins to marshal additional evidence for the gospel of salvation by faith alone. In Gal. 3:1–4 Paul first appeals to the Galatians’ own experience of salvation. As Paul alludes to, the Galatians were saved “by the hearing of faith” (Gal. 3:2). Indeed, the fact that the Galatians were saved by God’s grace, and not by works, made their entertaining of a works-based salvation scheme “foolish” (Gal. 3:1, 3). Continue reading The Law and the Gospel – Galatians 3

Paul’s Personal Defense – Galatians 2

Read the Passage: Galatians 2

Travel to Jerusalem (2:1–10)

In Gal 1:11–24 Paul had emphasized the divine origination of the gospel message, as well as God’s sovereign administration of the gospel in the lives of believers (cf. Gal. 1:12, 15–16). Perhaps in an attempt to keep his readers from concluding that the Christian life is one of passivity, in Gal. 2:1–10 Paul recounted the events from his trip to Jerusalem to attend the first church council, which is recorded in Acts 15:1–22. Continue reading Paul’s Personal Defense – Galatians 2

Introduction to Galatians – Galatians 1

Read the Passage: Galatians 1

Authorship and Date – As the very first word of the book of Galatians testifies, this epistle was written by the apostle Paul (cf. Gal. 1:1; 5:2). Pauline authorship was unanimously affirmed by the early church and has not been challenged, for the most part, by even the most liberal literary critics. Dating of this epistle is difficult, as the exact recipients of Paul’s letter are not identified. From the book’s title, however, it is sure that Paul wrote to the Galatians (1:2); yet the identity of the Galatians has been hotly debated by scholars. Continue reading Introduction to Galatians – Galatians 1

The End Times – Daniel 12

Read the Text: Daniel 12

Prophecy (12:1–3)

As we noted in the previous chapter, Daniel’s vision that began in chapter 10 of this book has dual fulfillment. While the vision largely concerns events that would transpire before the end of the Old Testament era, as the vision progresses it becomes increasingly about events that are in the future, even today. The last section of this vision, which is recorded in Dan. 12:1–3, seems to be entirely prophecy about the future. In this passage we learn that in the end times, when evil appears to overthrow all good, the angel Michael will be sent to deliver God’s people—specifically, those whose names are “found written in the book” (Dan. 12:1). Continue reading The End Times – Daniel 12

Vision and Prophecies – Daniel 10–11

Read the Passage: Daniel 10-11

The Glorious Man (10:1–9)

This chapter begins in “the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia” (Dan. 10:1), which was 536 BC. Chronologically, this is three years after the prayer and prophesy recorded in Dan. 9. Two years had passed since Cyrus’ decree to let Israel return to Palestine (cf. Ezra 1:1). As Ezra 1–6 and Neh. 7:4–73 reports, Zerubbabel had already led a group of roughly 50,000 Israelites back to the Promised Land. Here in Dan. 10:1–3 we learn that Daniel had not returned with the exiles. Continue reading Vision and Prophecies – Daniel 10–11

Prayer and Prophecy – Daniel 9

Read the Passage: Daniel 9

Confession of Sin (9:1–15)

Daniel’s prayer in this chapter was in “the first year of Darius,” which would have been around 539 BC. This means the events recorded here occurred roughly twelve years after chapter 7, nine years after chapter 8, but at the same time as the events of chapter 6. The revelation Daniel received came from a study of the book of Jeremiah (the only time Jeremiah is mentioned by name in this book and the last time he is explicitly cited in the Old Testament). Jeremiah had actually twice prophesied about the restoration of Jerusalem (cf. Jer. 25:8–12; 29:10–14). Continue reading Prayer and Prophecy – Daniel 9

The Ram and the Goat – Daniel 8

Read the Passage: Daniel 8

Vision (8:1-14)

In this chapter, which begins the Hebrew portion of this book, we read of a second vision given to Daniel, two years after the vision recorded in Dan. 7. This vision is similar to Daniel’s previous vision, as well as the dream of Nebuchadnezzar recorded in Dan. 2. A notable difference in this chapter is that Daniel’s vision came in the day, whereas his earlier vision, as well as that of Nebuchadnezzar, were at night. Perhaps it is more accurate to call the earlier visions dreams. Continue reading The Ram and the Goat – Daniel 8