For God Alone My Soul in Silence Waits

Text: Psalm 62 Reflection and Question: This is such a wonderful expression of rock-solid trust in God. Every believer in God in Christ can take up this fervent prayer. The psalmist touches upon the division between the rich and the poor, who both can clothe themselves in the faith of this psalm. The vast array […]

Judgment Belongs to God Alone

Text: Romans 14:7-12 Reflection and Question: When Paul speaks to the church in Rome, he is addressing real tensions between the Christians rooted in the Jewish tradition and those rooted just as deeply in the other religions common to that time. Paul comments, “For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God… So, […]

Paul Preaches to the Greeks in Athens

Text:Acts 17:16-34 Reflection and Question: This section of Acts preserves for us an example of how Paul proceeded when he entered a new place to preach and build a following from which to begin a church. He surveyed the scene and then sought out a public forum where he could engage in discussion. Paul does […]

David Is Anointed King and Takes Jerusalem

Text: 2 Samuel 5:1-12 Reflection and Question: Here is the account of the people of Israel pledging allegiance to David and anointing him king over them, and of David conquering the city of Jerusalem and claiming it as his city. God is not mentioned in these human endeavors until the writer comments, “David steadily grew […]

Jesus’ Approach to the Law

Text: Mark 7:1-23 Reflection and Question: Jesus makes two crucial distinctions in this encounter with a group of devout Pharisees. First, He exclaims, “How well you set aside the commandment of God in order to maintain your tradition!” Many in the church continue to fail in love by holding fast to tradition. Second, Jesus distinguishes […]

Trouble Comes to Paul and Silas in Philippi

Text: Acts 16:16-24 Reflection and Question: This girl who made money for others through her fortune-telling was just telling the truth when she followed Paul and Silas around shouting, “These men are servants of the Supreme God, and are declaring a way of salvation.” When Paul stopped her, the girl’s handlers had him and Silas […]

God Reigns

Text: Psalm 99 Reflection and Question: It is hard for us to conceive what the role of a king meant in Biblical times because royalty now is so wholly ceremonial. One significant principle of the Protestant Reformation was the insistence that God alone rules and that, with holy inspiration, people faithful to God as Sovereign […]

Herod’s Beheading of John the Baptist

Text: Mark 6:14-29 Reflection and Question: It is hard to comprehend the immense and capricious power wielded by people like Herod in Jesus’ time. Herod actually liked John the Baptist and enjoyed being challenged by his preaching. But when Herodias prompted her daughter to ask, in the midst of Herod’s guests, for John’s head, Herod’s […]

David’s Lament Over Saul and Jonathan

Text: 2 Samuel 1:17-27 Reflection and Question: We enter a brutal world here as David orders his men to kill the messenger who comes to tell him of Saul and Jonathan’s death. And David’s lament for Saul and Jonathan has its warrior side to it. Yet, David’s poetry also conveys his steadfast love for Saul […]

The Message to the Gentile Believers

Text: Acts 15:22-35 Reflection and Question: The church in Jerusalem sends official messengers with Paul to Antioch to tell the Gentiles that the rules to join the church are simple: abstain “from what has been sacrificed to idols, from blood, from what has been strangled and from fornication.” There was so much more that these […]