"Now these [Berean] Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so" (Acts 17:11 ESV).
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The Perfect Letter: Paul's Epistle to the Colossians
Pretentious, isn’t it? Perfect is an exceptional claim about Paul’s book of Colossians. Although, it’s a good example of an excellent letter. This is true considering its purpose to strengthen and encourage the Colossians. Why is it perfect? We can start by saying the epistle is a part of God's Word.
What is perfection? Is it faultless or without equal? Is it possible? Some view it as something impossible to achieve. Today, the word has become overused. Paul’s organization, choice of words, and life lessons make the Colossian letter relevant. It’s been so for two–thousand years. It remains so today. Yes, with the help of the Holy Spirit, Paul met the requirements of perfect writing, and Colossians is The Perfect Letter.
I love Scripture and want to warn you. If you are reluctant to read the Bible, then this book is not for you. I sincerely believe that we should use Scripture to interpret Scripture. Although, I use quotations from commentaries and other sources, including many references to early church writers, my ultimate goal is to teach with Scripture. The Perfect Letter abounds with Bible verse quotes and references. I would rather use Scripture to make the point than write an extensive parallel narrative.
As you read The Perfect Letter — open your mind to Scripture and keep a check on your emotions! If you do, you’ll feel challenged, even encouraged. Maybe delighted and surprised. The historical viewpoints of Paul’s teachings might trouble you. They might even offend. The intended purpose is to teach the Word of Truth. And, to show the reality of the gospel. As you learn the historical perspectives, they’ll dispel errant religious teachings.
If you’re grounded in the truth, you’ll remain pleased and encouraged by Scripture’s reliability. If not, possibly The Perfect Letter will provoke more study of Scripture.
The Joyful Letter: Paul's Epistle to the Philippians
“All people should praise God for the remarkable beauty and effectiveness of this priceless personal letter preserved through so many dangers and centuries to bless the saints of all ages.”
— Burton Coffman
The apostle Paul says, contentment doesn’t come to us naturally. He gives us the key when he writes, “I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content" (Philippians 4:11). We can conclude from this that contentment is a learned state. Unfortunately, we do have to learn from our experience. We desperately pursue what we think will satisfy us. Finding disappointment, we move from one thing to the next just as soon as we realize the satisfaction is but temporary. Sometimes, it requires we experience the thing we most fear in order to realize true joy.
Paul tells us the secret to true contentment in his Philippian epistle. He explains joy and contentment begins in prayer and supplication having an attitude of thanksgiving. Then later, he writes," I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:12-13).
Paul has given us a reality that society doesn’t teach. As we lift up our needs and longings, we experience unexplainable peace shown in the depths of Christ’s power, beauty, and grace.
Of course, we can find our faith by delving into the Word of God. There we find Jesus Christ and the revelation that He is God. The reality is that we find Christ with the Word. When we use the precepts and principles given to us by Scriptures, we gain an insight and grow spiritually. The author of Psalm 119 gives us the benefits of living by the precepts of God’s Word. In the NLT, Psalm 119:1 succinctly says, “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD.”
“If you want to be happy for a day, go golfing. If you want to be happy for a month, buy a car. If you want to be happy for a year, win the lottery. If you want to be happy for a lifetime, put your faith in Jesus Christ.”
— Coach Lou Holtz
Old Glory: Long May She Wave
Many people today do not acknowledge our country's founding principles. These include freedom of speech and religion, the right to bear arms, and the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Such rights we find granted by the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Even so, these privileges remain enshrined in our governing documents of the United States, while some people turn them upside down. In the past, they were embedded deep in the soul of Americans. Rights and privileges granted by our founding principles remain under attack to an extent not experienced before. Today, Christians find themselves mocked, silenced, and sometimes forced to act against their consciences by our legal system.
All men are created equal is the principle at the heart of our crisis today. Unfortunately, the right to life is a joke in the United States in our society. Many deny babies are divinely created beings. Where are the rights of unborn children? U.S. history continues a systemic removal from the public school curriculum. Founding principles of freedom, honor, patriotism, and courage, since they are no longer taught to students, eliminate any true understanding. Consequently, liberty dies in the darkness of forced ignorance.
In recent months many have attacked businesses and homes in several cities, and authorities have stood back and let the chaos rule, refusing to allow the federally offered help. Will these attacks on our freedoms continue? Or will they fade like so many in the past? Presidential Executive Orders and constitutionally unlawful congressional bills can be ignored and overturned. We can protect our borders, and by state-initiated constitutional amendment, overrule any congressional voting rights bill. As Rudyard Kipling wrote, “For all we have and are, for all our children's fate, stand up.”
Liberty in Christ: Paul's Epistle to the Galatians
Biblical concepts and principles are just as crucial for everyday life today as when first written. The Galatian epistle is no different and it is an inspiring book although the content is notably different from other Pauline epistles. Thus, scholars have called the Galatian letter, The Great Charter of Religious Freedom or The Christian Declaration of Independence. Thus, its general theme is Liberty in Christ.
Sin oozes into every crevice of the human heart generating evil and encompassing the globe. Does that leave you dumbfounded? Is it unbelievable? Do you even care? Ok, so you don’t think about it much— right? You are not alone, and I doubt most people give sin even modest consideration. Such is the nature of mankind. Scriptures tell us about the problem with mankind and it is no surprise sin rules. The Bible lays out God’s profound and extraordinary solution through Christ.
The solution is freely available as Paul sums up the gospel by saying that Christ gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age (Galatians 1:4). As a result, the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:14). Thus, the blessing of Abraham has come and enriches all the world.
It is imperative to understand all Scriptures are God-Breathed and today they are still a guide. The Hebrew writer says, For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).
Does this verse evoke inspiration or reflection about God’s Word in any way? Can you imagine the overwhelming potency of God’s Word? If we do, why don’t we give it the attention it deserves? After all, eternal life is at stake. The Bible holds the key to salvation and instructs us if opened and diligently read. The source of faith is Jesus Christ. Scriptures teach how to strengthen our faith; for faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:16).
About the Author
Howard D. Chaney, the author of the books shown above , lives with his wife, Rita, in rural East Texas. He enjoys retirement, Biblical studies, and learning to read the Koine Greek language, preferring in-depth and intensive research. Previously, he managed construction for an Engineering firm specializing in Petrochemical and Oil Refining projects.
Howard, born in Rogers Arkansas in 1946, yet grew up in far West Texas in the small town of Plains. He completed high school in Rogers Arkansas, and also the International's Brotherhood of Electrical Workers/National Electrical Contractors Joint Apprenticeship School in Muskogee Oklahoma. He also attended the University of Texas at Arlington, several other Technical and Engineering schools, and advanced Management coursework through the years. He completed graduate work in Construction Contract Law in Houston. His work in Construction Management has taken him worldwide on a variety of projects.
His love of Bible, Bible study and research, as well as writing of Biblical subjects is the reason for his published books.