Skip to main content

A follow up on Romans 12:9-13

One more brief word about this passage, which I commented on yesterday. 

In the Greek, the verse begins with "the love" (I can't get the Greek font to work.  It's the definite article followed by agape.)

The word is used for a couple of things in the New Testament.  The first is the most commonly understood: agape as reflected in divine love.  It's the type of love God shows and that we as Christians are called to give.

There's another usage, though, that might be applicable here.  Some records show that the early Christian church held meals together (see, they were Baptists!).  These were times where the rich brought what they could, the poor what they could, and they ate and fellowshipped.  These times were generally held at the same times that the majority religion would have been doing the same type of activity (think: having a group of Christians get together during American Idol because all the pagans are busy ;-o ).

The Christian meal likely featured teaching, fellowship (the real kind, where you actually strive to encourage and strengthen each other), and observing the Lord's Supper.  This was, at times, undertaken at mortal risk during times of persecution. 

And it was called "The Love" or, perhaps, "The Love Feast."  Now, we have certain opinions of anything termed a "Love Feast" so we don't use that term much in American churches.

I see here, though, an additional facet to Paul's instruction to the Roman church.  First, there's the basic idea of love without ulterior motive, love that is shown in actions that strive to be in concert with the best of intentions.  Then there's the idea that when the churches gathers there is to be no deception or false pretense for the meeting.

This is not to shoot down official church drama groups, but rather to address the unofficial church drama groups.  The prayer meetings that are gossip sessions.  The Bible Studies that are about everything but the Word.  The fellowships that are about eating and talking but not about breaking past the cliques that form in our churches.  The worship that's about the music style or our schedule and not about recognizing God's presence with us.

It's a call for the actions of the church together to be about what we say they are: real fellowship, true study, honest worship, effective service.

Can we get there?



Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Curiosity and the Faithlife Study Bible

Good morning! Today I want to take a look at the NIV Faithlife Study Bible. Rather than spend the whole post on this particular Study Bible, I’m going to hit a couple of highlights and then draw you through a few questions that I think this format helps with.

First, the basics of the NIV Faithlife Study Bible (NIVFSB, please): the translation is the 2011 New International Version from Biblica. I’m not the biggest fan of that translation, but that’s for another day. It is a translation rather than a paraphrase, which is important for studying the Bible. Next, the NIVFSB is printed in color. Why does that matter? This version developed with Logos Bible Software’s technology and much of the “study” matter is transitioning from screen to typeface. The graphics, maps, timelines, and more work best with color. Finally, you’ve got the typical “below-the-line” running notes on the text. Most of these are explanations of context or highlights of parallels, drawing out the facts that we miss by …

Foolishness: 1 Corinthians 1

In Summary: 1 Corinthians opens with the standard greeting of a letter from the Apostle Paul. He tells who he is with (Sosthenes) and who he is writing to. In this case, that is the “church of God that is in Corinth.” He further specifies that this church is made up of those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints. 
He then expresses the blessing/greeting of “grace and peace” from God. From there, Paul reflects on his initial involvement with the Corinthian people and the beginning of the church. After that, though, there are problems to deal with and Paul is not hesitant to address them. He begins by addressing the division within the church. Apparently, the church had split into factions, some of which were drawn to various personalities who had led the church in times past. There is no firm evidence, or even a suggestion, that Paul, Cephas, Apollos, or anyone else had asked for a faction in their name. Further, the “I follow Christ” faction may not have been any le…