Violence, Division, and the Kingdom of God

Violence, Division, and the Kingdom of God

On the last Sunday in June I preached a sermon on Matthew 10:24-39. That passage came to my mind again as I read about the events in Charlottesville last weekend. In part of that passage Jesus says the following: 34 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her…

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Romans 16: Who was Junia?

Romans 16: Who was Junia?

This post is the last of a four part series. To read the previous posts, click here for part one, here for part two, and here for part three. The last stop in our tour of the women of Romans 16 is verse 7: 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was. Unfortunately, this intriguing little verse is all the information…

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Romans 16: Who Was Prisca?

Romans 16: Who Was Prisca?

This post is part three of a four part series. To read part one, click here. To read part two, click here. Our next stop in chapter 16 of Paul’s letter to the Romans is verses 3-5. 3 Greet Prisca and Aquila, who work with me in Christ Jesus, 4 and who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 5 Greet also the church in their…

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Romans 16: Who was Phoebe?

Romans 16: Who was Phoebe?

In my last post I wrote about the insight that Romans chapter 16 gives us into the diverse and vibrant community of the early church. If you missed it, you can click here to read it. In this post I’m going to introduce one of the many woman mentioned in Romans 16. Most of the names in this chapter are members of the Roman church that Paul is sending greetings to. Phoebe, however, was not a member of the Roman…

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Romans 16: A glimpse into the ministry of women in Pauline churches

Romans 16: A glimpse into the ministry of women in Pauline churches

Reading Paul’s letter to the Romans is no small undertaking. Paul makes some complex arguments that take some effort to work through, especially for those of us who are removed from the original context of the words by thousands of years. So, once you get to the last chapter and see there a long list of names, you might be tempted to skip that chapter and call yourself done. However, those who skip Romans 16 skip the opportunity to glimpse…

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The Story of Nicodemus

The Story of Nicodemus

Biblical authors did not write in the style of modern novels. As a result, biblical characters can sometimes seem a bit flat to us, their lives lacking the kind of detail we are used to seeing in stories. But despite this lack of detail and characterization, there are certain Bible characters who seem to leap off the page and express their personalities to us across two thousand years or more. For me, Nicodemus is one of these characters. The Gospel…

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Unity and Wisdom in 1 Corinthians

Unity and Wisdom in 1 Corinthians

If you attend a church that uses the Revised Common Lectionary, chances are you heard these words read aloud last Sunday: 10 Now I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in agreement and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same purpose. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there are…

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Christmas According to Matthew

Christmas According to Matthew

In an online essay, New Testament scholar James Boyce makes the following statement as he reflects on the Christmas story as it is told in the Gospel of Matthew: “If we do not anticipate the Christmas event both with hope and with just a bit of anxious fear, then we are not sufficiently tuned to the implications of God’s presence among us.” This might strike us as a bit odd. “Hope” we are okay with, but why would he say…

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A Thank You Note to a 5th Century Scribe

A Thank You Note to a 5th Century Scribe

If you open a Bible to the beginning of John chapter 8, you will find a story about the scribes and Pharisees bringing a woman to Jesus—a woman whom they said was caught in the act of adultery. However, depending on what version you are reading, you may also see brackets around this story and/or a footnote indicating that most ancient manuscripts of the Gospel of John do not contain this story. [2 Early in the morning he came again…

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The Persistent Widow

The Persistent Widow

A number of years ago I was doing some research online to get ideas for a children’s sermon on the parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge. Here’s the story from Luke chapter 18 if you’re not familiar with it: 1 Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. 2 He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people….

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