Bible Study Tool: Parallel Gospels

When studying the Bible, it’s often helpful to compare different accounts of the same event across the different Gospels. In this way, we can find out what particular kind of details were of interest to each Evangelist. I recently came across this tool on Bible Hub which allows you to do just that:

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My time with the Catholic Five

Last weekend I was a guest on The Catholic Five and had a blast. Here’s the section of the show where I got to talk about the book I’m currently writing:

Ephesians Questions

Ephesians

For my final month in San Diego, my Bible Study Group is going to be going through the epistles of St. John (1 John, 2 John, 3 John). However, this last week we reviewed our study of Ephesians. Here are the review questions the group came up with:

68. When was Ephesians written?
This letter is one of the “captivity epistles” and therefore was probably written during Paul’s Roman captivity in the early 60s.

69. What is significant about the destination of this epistle?
Mention of Ephesus in verse 1 is not found in the earliest manuscripts. It is therefore possible that this was a circular letter written to a number of congregations, one of which was Ephesus.

70. What was Paul’s relationship with Ephesian Church?
Christianity was present in Ephesus prior to Paul’s arrival. Paul used Ephesus as his base of operations for several years.

71. What does Paul write about in Ephesians?
Paul devotes most of the document to putting forth a vision of God’s redemptive work, brought about through Christ and manifested in the Church.

The Ephesians were mostly newly baptized Pagans and, because of this, some have referred to Ephesians as mystagogical catechesis.

Paul spends quite some time talking about “mystery”. This relates to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross which draws man, both Jew and Gentile, back into relationship with God. This relationship is communicated through the Church, which has Christ as her head.

1-16 | 17-27 | 27-42 | 43-52 | 53-57 | 58-67 | 68-71 | 72-81
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The Epistle of Joy – Episode #17 (Video)

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Continuing on with Chapter 4, Paul discusses “contentment”

I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me; you were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:10-13

Here’s what I had to say:

For an audio-only version of this video, please click here.

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The Epistle of Joy – Episode #16 (Video)

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We continue through Chapter 4 today:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you. – Philippians 4:4-9

Here are my thoughts on today’s text:

For an audio-only version of this video, please click here.

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The Epistle of Joy – Episode #15 (Video)

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Today we begin the final chapter of Philippians, Chapter 4:

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!

I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life. – Philippians 4:1-3

Here are my thoughts on today’s text:

For an audio-only version of this video, please click here.

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Colossian Questions

Colossians

As I mentioned before, I’m currently updating the New Testament questions and answers which I run through at the beginning of every Bible study. Today I’d like to cover the questions surrounding Colossians:

58. What was Paul’s situation when writing Colossians?
The evidence seems to point to the same situation as the other captivity epistles (Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon and Philippians). He is in Rome under house arrest in approximately AD 62.

59. Had Paul ever been to Colossae?
No, but he had stayed in nearby Ephesus for three years.

60. Who founded the Church at Colossae?
A Colossian native called “Epaphras” appears to have been converted through Paul’s ministry and first taken the gospel to Colossae.

61. So why did Paul write to the Colossians?
It seems Epaphras visited Paul in Rome and asked him to write to this nascent congregation to speak to the various heresies attacking the Church in Colossae.

62. What were the heresies with which the Colossians struggled?
They appear to be several, but they included issues surrounding circumcision, asceticism, the person of Christ, secret knowledge and human wisdom.

63. Who are the opponents in Colossae?
This very much depends on how one interprets the heresies described, but scholars suggest either Jews, Pagans or early Gnostics.

64. What is noticeable about the way in which Paul speaks about Jesus in this letter?
We call it “High Christology”, since Jesus is described as “the image of the invisible God”, “the firstborn of all Creation”, “in him the fullness of deity dwells bodily” etc.

65. What does Paul say about suffering in this letter?
He describes himself as “complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions”.

66. During the letter Paul speaks about a hidden “mystery”. What is it?
That Jesus came for us…all of us, both Jew and Gentile

67. What Sacrament does Paul speak about in this letter and in what terms does he describe it?
He speaks about baptism, describing it both in terms of circumcision and death.

1-16 | 17-27 | 27-42 | 43-52 | 53-57 | 58-67 | 68-71 | 72-81
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