Bible Commentary - Word&Way

Bible Commentary

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It is an American tradition to watch the impressive Macy's Thanksgiving Parade with all those giant balloons, floats, marching bands from across the nation, along with the stars of the show, Santa and Mrs. Claus. Who doesn't like a parade?

This story tears at my heart every time I read it. Why? Because its gripping revelation is like a mirror and I don't like what I see!

Paul, the theologian, is also the pragmatist who applies faith to the practice of being God's people in the real world. He finishes Romans 11 with words that may be sung as a hymn of salvation.

Paul is the writer of some of the deepest theological lessons in the New Testament. He could hold his own with the greatest philosophers of that day in Athens. Yet this man we recognize as a champion of Christ admits to his imperfections, his struggle to live by the example of Christ and his total trust in the grace of God.

Paul is sharing his personal story of how he found a new life within God's grace instead of endless rule-keeping and rituals. How does he tell it?

Over the next four Sundays we will be studying parts of the Apostle Paul's most comprehensive theological treatise, his letter to the church at Rome. So far as we know, Paul never visited the church at Rome, but his letter was so profound that it was circulated among all the churches.

A dictionary defines “integrity” as uprightness of character, proven virtue or honesty. The Apostle Paul defines integrity for all who claim to be God's people: “Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (5:1).

It was one of those traveling conversations on a flight for a couple of hours, seated by a stranger who asked, “So what do you do to make a living?”

How often have you, when faced with sadness or challenges, turned to Leviticus for inspiration and encouragement? When reading the Bible through in a year, did you get more excited about Leviticus than any other book?

I grew up in a family where it was a rule that you ate what was on your plate. Rules can vex a strong-willed child, but I understood that a rule was firm until the day we had liver.