Tag Archives: Teaching

The A), B), C)s of Faith

Here’s an  interesting commentary explanation about Epaphroditus’s illness that is worth sharing: ( Philippians 2:25-30 )

“There is a word in this passage which later had a famous usage. The King James Version speaks of Epaphroditus not regarding his life; the Revised Standard Version uses risking his life; we have translated it hazarding his life. The word is the verb paraboleuesthai ( G3851); it is a gambler’s word and means to stake everything on a turn of the dice. Paul is saying that for the sake of Jesus Christ Epaphroditus gambled his life. In the days of the Early Church there was an association of men and women called the parabolani, the gamblers. It was their aim to visit the prisoners and the sick, especially those who were ill with dangerous and infectious diseases. In A.D. 252 plague broke out in Carthage; the heathen threw out the bodies of their dead and fled in terror. Cyprian, the Christian bishop, gathered his congregation together and set them to burying the dead and nursing the sick in that plague-stricken city; and by so doing they saved the city, at the risk of their lives, from destruction and desolation.” a

That insight into Epaphroditus is an interesting commentary because of the information about his risk, life and faith.  I share it because it’s worth to me is the one Greek verb the Bible mentions associated with gamblers.  Faith is a definite gamble.  There’s a risk involved with believing a) there is a God, b) Jesus as God walked the earth as a man with a specific purpose —  to reveal His truth about dealing with the risks of life and finally c) at the end of His earthly life God/Jesus left an internal helper for those who believe; the Holy Spirit. The main evidence we have to support those risky truths is the Bible, but there is risk there too.  What if some, of many, translators got their words wrong?  You might gamble and be wrong…but are you willing to the risk your life on betting God couldn’t get it right? 

Everything about mitigating that risk depends on learning the truth about a) accepting, b) believing and c) confirming truth for yourself.  It’s a calculated risk.  No one else’s investigating really matters.  It really is all about you!  God/Jesus/Holy Spirit does not demand — He reveals Himself to those willing to risk investigating.  When that revelation happens you begin to understand the risk/benefits of personal faith.  Read on!  If you read/hear something from your investigation once, it’s information.  If you read/hear the echo of that truth again, it’s confirmation and finally if you read/hear it a third time, it’s affirmation that you’ve just experienced the Holy Spirit, personally!  God really is teaching you!  May it be so!

a William Barclay


The Authority of Humility

Mark 6:7b Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. 7 Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. 8 These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. 9 Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. 10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. 11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”
12 They went out and preached that people should repent. 13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Need is a two sided coin. In fact if you look at Jesus’s own beatitudes [Matthew 5] you find need is the coin of the realm for blessing. As I struggled to organize my thoughts for today’s post I was surprised to discover just how important need was for both the village people and the disciples in this story.

Jesus sent his disciples to enter a town equipped with only the barest of essentials to preach repentance to the needy. The disciples had been given the power they needed. Authority was only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin was humiliy. It’s much harder to tell someone they’re in need from a position of power. Jesus gave his disciples the authority of humility to enter a village and “meet a need with a need” so both those who spoke and those who heard could be blessed.

Expect God

Hosea 12:6 Oh, come back to God. Live by the principles of love and justice, and always be expecting much from him, your God.

Hosea 13:4 “I alone am God, your Lord, and have been ever since I brought you out from Egypt. You have no God but me, for there is no other Savior. 5 I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land.

Hosea 14:9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things. Whoever is intelligent, let him listen. For the paths of the Lord are true and right, and good men walk along them. But sinners trying them will fail.

Here’s the very abbreviated version of the last three chapters of Hosea.

Come back to a place where you independently depend on God to do for you to what he has done for others. Expect that he will be at work in your life. Be wise so you understand what it is God is trying to teach you. Be smart and listen carefully. The path of the Lord is easier than the tangle of the woods and the company’s better.