Author: Jim Cantelon

Read Colossians 4

Key Verse: Colossians 4 “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” Paul had a very strong view on prayer. The Greek verb he uses here was also used by an historian (Polybius) in describing the stubborn persistence of a siege. This powerful imagery is not an overstatement — it is merely consistent with the high view scripture has of prayer: “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (Jas.5:16). But it’s to be something else too. Prayer is to be the communication of someone who is “vigilant” (or, “watchful”)...

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Read Colossians 3

Key Verse: Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” These are two ways of interpreting “the word of Christ”. The first is fairly straightforward: the word(s) which Christ spoke — His teaching. The other is a bit more complicated but no less probable: the “word” is the prevalent Greek concept “logos”, which referred to the divine essence imminent in the universe and present in the individual...

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March 31, 2021

Alms, Prayer, & Fasting 6:1-18 The Quid pro Quo of Forgiveness vv. 14 & 15 I’ve already referenced these verses commenting on v. 12. But to emphasize the point, take a look at Jesus’ hyperbolic parable of the unmerciful servant in ch. 18:23-35. Here’s a guy who owes the king ten thousand (!!) bags of gold. The king wants to settle accounts, but his servant can’t repay. Under threat of being sold into slavery he throws himself on the king’s mercy and the king cancels the debt. Then, even as he’s leaving the king’s presence, he sees a fellow servant...

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Read Colossians 2

Key Verse: Colossians 2:8 “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” In chapter two, Paul confronts the heresy spoken of in the introduction. Its most fundamental flaw is its dependence upon “human tradition” and “basic principles of this world” (NIV) rather than on the finished work of Christ. The “human tradition” referred to, among other things, the rite of circumcision (v. 1), borrowed by the Gnostics from...

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Read Colossians 1

Key Verse: Colossians 1:19, 20 “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness, should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.” Take a good long look at verses 15-23. It is a lesson in Christology. Verses 15-18 tells us Jesus is. Verses 19-23 tell its what God the Father has done for sinful mankind through God the Son. These are nine verses worth memorizing. Who is Jesus? Relative to God the Father, He is “the image of the invisible God” (15a);...

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Read Philippians 4

Key Verse: Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.” This key verse occurs in the context of verses 4-9, which my Day Unto Day New Open Bible has entitle, “Peace with the Lord”. Paul is again addressing the attitude, or the “mind”, that should characterize Christians. And, as was the case in chapter 2,...

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Read Philippians 3

Key Verse: Philippians 3:13 & 14 “…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goals for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul had powerful motivation. It was rooted in his belief in Jesus, and its energy was derived from his hope of “the upward call of God.” Paul was a man with a dream, a man who was going somewhere — and he knew who was taking him there. But Paul was also methodical. He very effectively contributed to the upward call by determined effort. Here...

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March 24, 2021

Alms, Prayer, & Fasting 6:1-18 Temptation and The Evil One v. 13 Let’s be clear right off the top. God never entices us to do evil. Biblically and historically (until about the 17th century) “tempt” meant “test”. In the Old Testament scriptures we see God testing men and (a non-starter) men testing God. A test was meant to bring out the best (or reveal the evil if there was no best). The temptation Jesus was talking about was probably the enticement to deny God in response to persecution. If we were to paraphrase we might pray, “Lord, keep us from the...

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Read Philippians 1

Key Verse: Philippians 1:9 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment…” There is a remarkable observation made by Paul in Romans 10:2. He is talking about his fellow Israelites when he says, “For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge.” They were zealous but poorly informed; this sounds like a lot of present-day Christians. We’re not talking about baby Christians here, but about Christians who’ve been believers for years but insist on staying...

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Read Ephesians 6

Key Verse: Ephesians 6:11 “Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Jesus didn’t come to make people nice: He came to make them new. Mind you, people who are new in Christ also tend to be nice, but niceness is no antidote for the galloping disease of sin. Only new life will do. Why? Because we are in a “struggle…agains the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (v.12 NIV). We are in a fight “against the...

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