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Today’s Bible reading in 2 Timothy, Isaiah

March 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I doubled my reading today to get caught up and will be completely back on track by the end of this week–if I stay on top of things and do my Bible reading and don’t fall a willing victim to the Eighth Deadly Sin.

Doubling reading is not something I recommend except for the seasoned, in-shape Bible readers. Otherwise, as you read a passage you’ll see things whiz by and you won’t have the time to study them in-depth. Perhaps in a few years, after I’ve read through the Bible three times, I’ll take my time and read a chapter a day. Or maybe I’ll do my daily reading and then go back to a passage and study it in detail. I counted the amount of passages I read today. By Saturday I’ll be caught up on my Old Testament reading and by Sunday, caught up on the New Testament.

As I read through Isaiah and use a Bible with no commentary, I wonder how much of the judgment God is preparing for the godless nations around Israel is for that time and how much of it is to be fulfilled in the end times. There is mention that the water from both the Nile River and the Mediterranean Sea (which the Nile flows into) will become undrinkable…perhaps that’s when God in Revelation turns a third of the ocean water into blood in the second trumpet judgment and then all of the ocean water and then all of the rest of the water into the blood of a dead person during the second and third bowl judgments?

As tough as it is since I’m not a morning person, the morning really is the best time to read God’s Word. The days are stressful enough without starting them talking to God (or as that one PCC floorleader poetically put it, spending time with the “Holy of Holies”) and listening to what He has to say. So often we forget that Bible reading shouldn’t be viewed as something we as Christians have to do, but rather that it’s time we get to spend with a Creator who wants nothing more than to spend time with us and for us to to get to know Him on an intimate basis.

Richard Zowie will turn 30 years old as a Christian in October and was led to the Lord in mid-October 1981 by Pastor Jim Lilley of Kings Row Baptist Church in Alvin, Texas. Post comments here or e-mail them to richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.

Acts 8: Saul, Philip, Simon, Ethiopian

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

I look at Acts 8 as a historical chapter, in that it’s telling what happened in the early church rather than reporting on Biblical truths.

Starting with Saul, who soon would exchange his S for a P and become Paul, we read in the first four verses that while the beloved Stephen was being buried, Saul ratcheted up his persecutions of the church. It said he “made havock” among many Christians, which my Bible notes say carries the idea of the ravagings of a wild animal. Yikes! He’d enter houses, drag out the Christians and place them in prison.

Moving onto Philip, this apostle did the unthinkable: he preached in–GASP!–Samaria! As we know from the Gospels, the Jewish people had virtually no dealings with the Samaritans and considered them beneath the Jews. To evangelize undesirables must’ve seemed disgusting for many.

Verse nine to 25 tells us that among Phil’s converts was a sorcerer named Simon. Unlike the book of Revelation, where the word “sorcerers” come from the Greek word pharmakeus is what we borrow to create our word pharmaceutics, this time sorcerer in Greek is mageuō, which carries the idea of being a magician. Apparently Simon could perform tricks, and based on the reading it looks like it was an elaborate sleight-of-hand but even, to an extent, something supernatural. He was able to use this to his advantage over the people.

Which leads us to Simon seeing the apostles performing miracles. When he saw them lay hands on people and impart on them the Holy Ghost, Simon offered to pay the disciples to give him the ability to do this also.

Peter and the others rebuked him. Peter told him he’d sinned thinking that God’s gifts could be bought with money and that his heart was in the wrong place.

This leads to an important question: was Simon really saved?

One school of thought is no. He saw the miracles and was enthralled by them and then “converted” as a way of trying to get closer to learning how to perform this elaborate trick that, no doubt, he would’ve loved to add to his repertoire.

Another school of thought is yes. Simon was simply a brand-new Christian who had a lot to learn about God and the Christian walk.

What do I think? I think it’s a mixture of both. Yes, he did get saved but he also didn’t grasp the concept of spiritual gifts. It is possible that his conversion was a scam, but only God knows for sure.

Finally, in verses 26-40 Philip met with an Ethiopian eunuch. The text suggests this eunuch was very well respected back home. He read Isaiah 53 and had questions about it. Philip then explained to him what the verses meant and how they pointed to Jesus as the Messiah.

And in verse 36, the Eunuch saw water and asked about being baptized. In 37, Philip told him if he believed in all his heart, he could be baptized, to which the eunuch replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

The chariot was stopped, and both Phil and the eunuch went into the water as Phil baptized him.

I notice that some versions omit verse 37 while some notes say that this verse isn’t found in some/many/most manuscripts. Could it be Satan’s way of trying to subtly point people towards a baptism-is-required-for-salvation viewpoint?

The baptism completed, the Holy Spirit transported Philip to Azotus.

Richard Zowie hopes someday to blog about every chapter of the Bible. Post comments here or e-mail him at richardstwoshekels@gmail.com.