Day 340 (Dec. 6): Paul and shipwrecked passengers on Malta, Paul unharmed by poisonous snake, Paul heals sick on Malta, ship arrives in Rome, Paul preaches under guard, Paul says salvation offered to Gentiles, Paul writes to Ephesus church, Paul prays for spiritual wisdom for Ephesus, we are saved through Christ (God’s gift of grace) alone, believers united as Christ’s body

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

Acts 28

Ephesians 1-2

Questions & Observations

Intriguing read today, eh?

Q. (Acts 28:25): Paul is talking to Romans here.  Did Romans come from Israelite ancestry?

A. No, but there was a sizable population of Jews living in Rome at this time.  That’s whom he is meeting with.

Q. (Ephesians 1:5): Why did God want us anyway?  He created us so we could share his kingdom with Him?

A. God was certainly under no obligation to work out salvation on our behalf, but did so out of His great love for each and every one of us — that’s the central message of John 3:16.

Q. (1:14): I still have trouble with not knowing why God seeks praise.  The only thing I can think of is that it keeps us focused on Him.  Also, if we are created in God’s image and He seeks praise, that tells us where we get it from?

A. As I mentioned in the previous question, God’s love and desire for relationship with humanity is a the heart of the Gospel, and part of that relationship is worship.  In times when we rightly see God for who He truly is (the central aim of true worship), we rightly praise Him for His mighty deeds for both His chosen people (Israel) and for each of us who are Gentiles.  God desires our focus, and I think that this is one of the central ways that we can grow closer to Him.  That is why I believe God requires our worship.

Q. (1:23): The church can mean a group of people who meet to worship Him and do His work, or it can mean the group of all believers as a whole, right? I think here it means the latter?

A. It means both (we sometimes use the big “C” when we refer to the eternal Church).  1:23 refers to the eternal entity of the Body of Christ — the Church for all time in every age.

Q. (2:5-10): Some revelations here!!!  It says it well and gives me some internal light that God’s willingness to let His most beloved pay for our sins and that he purchased us through is love that we could be sitting with Jesus beside God, our Father.  Grace (both Rob and I have girls named Grace) is the ultimate gift!  There is no greater!  I never thought too about salvation being something that is not to be boasted about.  It was a gift from God, we have nothing to do with it.

A. That’s not quite right: we have a role to play: we must believe.  The part that Paul wants to be clear is that we can’t brag about OUR role in the actions that brought about salvation to the world.

Q. (2:18): This verse is proof of the Trinity: 3 separate beings/spirits, but working as one.

A. Yes, each Person of the Godhead has their own role to play, and it is amazing to see them work in tandem to complete the task of salvation.

Day 203 (July 22): Hezekiah’s sickness and God’s healing him, God is displeased with Hezekiah’s pride

Welcome to BibleBum where we are exploring the entire Bible in one year to better learn how to follow God’s instructions and discover the purpose for our lives.  The BibleBum blog uses The One Year Chronological Bible, the New Living Translation version.  At the end of each day’s reading, Rob, a cultural history aficionado and seminary graduate, answers questions from Leigh An, the blogger host, about the daily scripture.  To start from the beginning, click on “Index” and select Day 1.

2 Kings 20:1-11

Isaiah 38:1-8

2 Chronicles 32:24-31

Isaiah 38:9-22

2 Kings 20:12-19

Isaiah 39:1-8

Questions & Observations

Q. (2 Chronicles 32:25): Wealth is such a double-edged sword.  Here Hezekiah prayed that this illness would not kill Him.  God appreciated his humbleness and rewarded him greatly.  But, as his wealth was building, it seems that his pride was growing.  Wealth and power can really belittle me, and likewise, empower the wealthy.  If I’m around power or wealth, I feel inferior and on the flip side, I think the wealthy and powerful feed off of that superiority feeling. Here, Hezekiah clearly got his wealth and power from God, yet he still flaunted it.

A. Wealth and power have a near irresistible ability to corrupt us.  We must truly tread carefully around them.  It becomes so easy to forget the source of all good things when we have so much ability to control our lives and the lives of others around us via money or power.  It is a repeated warning in the Bible that we must avoid the corrupting power of riches.

Q. (32:31): I would say that most people would keep God in their hearts once He’s there.  So, why does God continuously test us?  I understand that some people do stray.  But, doesn’t God know the ones who are truly humble and faithful to Him?

A. Of course He does, but we don’t.  In 1 Peter 1:3-7, Peter describes the riches that are stored up for us in Heaven as a result of our faith in Christ.  But, he says, for the moment, you must go through various trials.  The reason?  That your faith may be proven genuine — to the community and to ourselves.  But the verses also point to another objective: the trials are a refining process that purifies us, and in the end, God is glorified by the transformation that takes place as a result of our overcoming the trials and staying faithful.  In the end, trials such as these are about learning the genuineness of our own faith, and providing glory to the One who has redeemed us.

Q. (Isaiah 38:16-17): A couple verses that tell us that discipline is used as a measure to keep us on God’s path.  Interesting.  So many folks who have had bad things happen to them come out saying that if it wouldn’t have happened, then this other good news wouldn’t have happened.

A. The great message of faith in Jesus Christ is that God is capable of bringing good out of evil — the central message of the crucifixion.  Without the crucifixion, along with the mockery, the lashings, the humiliation; without all the great suffering, there is no resurrection on Sunday.  Without Jesus’ death, there is nothing to celebrate when He rises.  So we are called to look upon Christ’s passion and resurrection and trust that if God can do it at the most crucial moment in history, He can do it for us as well.  God is capable of bringing light out of the greatest darkness of our lives — whether it is our own doing or the work of someone else.  But it is only to the one who does not give up, who perseveres through the trials, that is given the privilege of seeing the ways that God chooses to do so.

Q. (2 Kings 20:13): Why on earth would a king show a neighboring — and often enemy nation — all of his treasures?  That is a death sentence foremost and not to mention just gloating.  I guess Hezekiah is showing his pride again?  He needs to have a better memory!  I would have thought he would have learned his lesson after being healed, prospering and then being prideful of his status.

A. Babylon is a rival with Assyria (thought not as powerful as Egypt … yet), and the two nations have been at war for some times.  It is very likely that Hezekiah is “showing off” to gain an ally against Assyria.  But this will backfire on him, in the same manner that reaching out to Egypt did.  But, I certainly agree with your assessment about his need for a better memory!