John’s second letter is much less complicated than his first—perhaps because it’s a personal and private letter. In it John mentioned “truth” five times and “love” four times. And both are key to understanding 2 John. John’s desire was for “the chosen lady” who received this letter to maintain a balanced perspective on life: love and truth…practice and doctrine…walking and standing…accepting and rejecting. A balance we need to maintain today.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote that “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Christians from the apostles until now have, like Paul, regarded Scripture as central to the life and growth of the Church.
But even though we know its importance to our lives, too often our knowledge and application of Scripture remain minimal. Why? Perhaps sitting down to study the Bible might seem intimidating, or it could just be difficult to carve out some devotional time. Maybe you have questions about the Bible, but you aren’t sure where to look for answers.
Let these tools, articles, audio sermons, and resources help you incorporate the Scriptures more fully into your life.
In this study, we will look at a five-chapter letter appearing simple and uncomplicated yet, in reality, is both profound and complex. In the epistle of 1 John, he emphasized the nature of that life as possessed by God’s children.
In 2 Peter, the Apostle dealt with the internal enemies—false prophets and other subtle adversaries—who twisted the truth. Of special interest to Peter were false teachings regarding the return of the Lord as well as our life of service and purity prior to the event. The tone of 2 Peter is that of an urgent warning, urging all readers to beware…to be ready.
A quick glance at the first few verses of 1 Peter is enough to give us an understanding of Peter’s message to his readers: hope for the hurting. According to verse 1, the hurting were those residing as aliens, scattered throughout vast regions of the Roman Empire. These Christians were objects of social ostracism, slander, mistreatment, and threats. They needed encouragement.
Don’t be fooled by its size. The letter of James may be small, but it’s strong. It refuses to let the reader hide behind the walls of theological theory or intellectual faith. True faith produces authenticity. “No authenticity…no faith”—that’s James’s conclusion on the matter. James’s letter may make us squirm, but it also makes us tear down our facades.
Profound, mysterious, deep, and sometimes difficult to understand, this book deserves our time and attention. Rich in Jewish history and filled with quotations from and allusions to the Old Testament, the study of Hebrews requires concentration plus a fairly firm grasp of how God revealed Himself to His people in ancient times.
All of us need heroes to inspire and challenge us to live authentic lives of integrity. Centuries ago, one such hero of integrity kept himself afloat in the swamps of ethical compromise. His name was Daniel, and he serves as an example of authenticity for us to become heroes in our own generation. A life well lived not only inspires others but also results in great rewards both in this world and in the world to come.
A silent battle rages in every one of us: the conflict between the sin of pride and the virtue of humility—the desire for significance versus the goal to be Christ-like. We should not be surprised that when God led the prophet Micah to tell us what He expects of us, He included “Walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8). Contrary to popular opinion, humility—not self-promotion—marks the path of a life well lived.
Micah 6:8 reveals the second character quality of a life well lived: kindness—a quality often expressed in mercy or forgiveness. Few things catch the attention or remain in the memory more than acts of unmerited kindness, but it sometimes seems that everything around us works to block those acts. Of all the biblical examples of amazing acts of kindness, Joseph's treatment of his brothers may shine the brightest.
In Micah 6:8, the bold prophet answered the question many people wonder about today: What does the Lord expect of us? Micah's answer is comprehensive: to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God. The first of these three expectations means to do what is right, regardless of the consequences. This kind of courageous obedience is illustrated for us in the lives of the first-century apostles.