Sunday, January 15, 2006

Am I My Brother's Keeper? Part One

This is part one of my sermon for today.


Am I My Brother's Keeper?

O.T. Lesson: Genesis 4:9 - Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" And he said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"

2 Corinthians 8:1-5; 12-15;
2 Corinthians 9:6-15
(Read later - but first, some background while you’re looking it up)

I recently became aware of just how much about Paul’s travels that I didn’t know, so I began reading and studying, first of all, the book of Acts. Along with Acts, I was reading “The Acts of the Apostles” by William Barclay. Now, I’m not a big fan of Barclay’s theology - in fact I strongly disagree with him on several points, but “historically, chronologically, and geographically” speaking, he is very good. And that’s what I wanted at this point - “just the facts, m’am!”

When my Daddy went into the hospital in November, this was the book I took with me. Then as I finished this, I had an intense desire to read all of Paul’s letters, and what I found utterly fascinated me. If you read Acts first, then start reading Paul’s letters, you’ll begin seeing how they all tie together. You’ll see references made to places and people, and get a real feel for Paul, the man, and the times and places and issues of the First Century Church.

Now, there are several ways of studying the Bible (and by the way, “reading” the Bible and “studying” the Bible are two entirely different things, but that’s another sermon…)

But there are several ways of studying the Bible - you’ve heard me say before that (in my opinion) there are 3 main ways to understand a Bible passage
What it is saying “historically”
What it is saying to me - here and now
And, what it is saying “Spiritually.”
Sometimes these overlap, and sometimes they are completely separate. (Maybe I should teach a Bible study on “Bible Study” sometime.)

As I was studying these letters strictly “historically, chronologically, and geographically” I began to see how these “First century churches” were, first of all, so very much like our churches today, and second, I began to see how much we could learn from them.

Next time - what I learned from Paul’s second recorded letter to the Corinthians…


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