Last week I mentioned that I would post the “main idea” of each book of the Bible as I study through God’s Word, and that I would describe the “timeless truths” (TT) that impact me the most. This is really just a sliver of the work that we are doing as we go through the Bible. If you would like more information as to the “historical background” of the books, I highly recommend the website studylight.org/ (unless of course you have your own library of Biblical dictionaries handy)! If you want to learn more about what each book of the Bible has to say, study it for yourself! No matter how many commentaries you read or how many teachings you listen to (or how many blogs you subscribe to!), there is no substitute for reading and studying God’s Word for yourself. If you are reading through the Bible with me, read Galatians, Mark, and Luke over the next couple of weeks – it should take less than half an hour of reading a day to go through these books!
Main Idea: Paul wants Philemon to forgive Onesimus, take him back, and accept him as a brother in Christ, not only as a slave. Because Onesimus has become a believer, Paul asks Philemon (a home church leader) to not only forgive Onesimus of his wrongdoing (running away from his master, Philemon), but to reconcile with him as a fellow believer.
Reason Written: Onesimus, a slave, has run away from his master, Philemon. He became a believer after he ran away and is returning to Philemon. Paul appeals to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus, as Philemon would be within his legal rights to severely punish Onesimus.
TT: Believers are called to extend forgiveness to others. (Philemon 1:15-16)
Main Idea: All have been saved by grace and are therefore called to live godly lives and be prepared for good works.
Reason Written: The church at Crete is struggling with the false teaching of the circumcision party and the ungodly lifestyle of the Cretans, who are described as “liars, evil beasts, and lazy gluttons” (1:12). Paul writes the book to Titus to instruct him to put the church at Crete into order by appointing elders (1:5), teaching sound doctrine (2:1), and encouraging believers to be prepared for good works (3:8).
TT: God’s grace brings salvation for all people; believers are called to live a “self-controlled, upright and godly” lifestyle and participate in good works, as they belong to God. (Titus 2:11-14)
Main Idea: Paul urges the church at Ephesus to remember that they are saved by grace, are called to be one unified body, and are to walk in love for each other. Now that the Gentiles have received the gospel, the church is to accept them as part of the body, as they have also experienced new life in Christ. The Ephesians are to adopt a lifestyle of love for each other, and to stay strong in the Lord.
Reason Written: There may have been controversy in the church at Ephesus with regards to the inclusion of the Gentiles. Jews would have seen the Gentiles as separate from themselves, but Paul urges all to walk in love, which includes recognizing that all are saved by grace and are therefore one.
TT: Believers are to stand together in the strength of God against the schemes of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:10-11)