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VOCNT Explanations

Isaiah 53

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ISAIAH: FOCUS ON ISAIAH 52:13-53:12

*This essay was previously published in

VOICE: An Independent Church Journal (97:2 March-April 2018, pp. 29-30)



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First John

FIRST JOHN: PURPOSE, STRUCTURE, AND SUMMARY

A version of this article was published in Voice: An Independent Church Journal (97:5, September/October 2018), pp. 28-28.

John wrote this letter of concern in the 80’s AD to be circulated amongst the churches around Ephesus where he was ministering. A movement of false teachers had taken hold there and had gained a notable amount of defectors from the faith (2:18-21). This explanatory text deep in the body of the letter is vital for understanding the background and purpose for its writing. John writes to assure the faithful remnant that they needn’t worry that they were missing out on God’s truth. John’s repetitive correctives in the letter suggest that the false teachers denied the reality of sin, distorted the knowledge of Christ, and advanced an esoteric spirituality reserved for those who followed their “enlightened” teachings.



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Titus

TITUS: PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

(A version of this essay is scheduled to be published in Voice: An Independent Church Journal, November/December 2017 (96:6).

“Titus” is one of four so-called pastoral epistles written to individual church leaders, but Paul writes knowing each one that the churches will read them also. It serves not only as a way to personally encourage and instruct Titus but also to publically authorize him to lead the way in formation and reformation according to the Apostle’s instruction. Paul composed this letter around AD 65 in between his two Roman imprisonments, around the same time he penned 1 Timothy. Paul had been ministering in the Aegean Sea region and left Titus on the island of Crete to finish forming and reforming the churches in the various cities. As with churches on the mainland, the churches on Crete were afflicted with unqualified men usurping positions of leadership and espousing false doctrines.



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Second Timothy

SECOND TIMOTHY: PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

(An earlier version of this essay was published in Voice: An Independent Church Journal, September/October 2017 (96:5), 28-29.

Second Timothy is one of four “pastoral epistles” written to individual church leaders, but Paul writes them knowing that the churches will read them also. This last letter of Paul’s was composed while imprisoned again in Rome where he awaits conviction & execution (4:6; cf. Phil 1:25; 2:24). A couple years earlier when Paul and Timothy had been ministering around the Aegean Sea, Paul left Timothy in Ephesus to reform the church to deal with an incursion of false teachers. In this final letter, Paul urges him to finalize the reforms, hand the work off to others (2:2), and come to Paul’s aid as soon as possible (4:9).



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First Timothy

FIRST TIMOTHY: PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

(An earlier version of this essay was published in Voice: An Independent Church Journal, May/June 2017 (96:3), 20-21.

First Timothy is one of the four so-called “pastoral epistles,” letters written to individual church leaders instead of whole churches. While this letter is written to an individual leader, Paul expects the church at Ephesus will read it over the recipient’s shoulder, as it were. The letter serves not only to encourage and instruct Timothy but also to publically authorize him to continue the reforms Paul had begun.



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Philippians

PHILIPPIANS: PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

(An earlier version of this essay was published in Voice: An Independent Church Journal, March/April 2017 (96:2), 20-21.

Philippians is one of Paul’s most well-loved letters, and many of its statements have become well-known memory verses. Expositors have often suggested that the primary them of Philippians is Christian joy. While the terms for “joy” appear often in the book, several propositional and corrective statements suggest that the theme is more specifically about joyful partnership in the gospel (1:27; 4:2-5).



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Acts: Its Purpose and Structure

ACTS: ITS PURPOSE & STRUCTURE

M. Scott Bashoor (August 2017)

The book of Acts is Luke’s account of the progress of the gospel and the growth of the church among Jews and Gentiles during the middle third of the 1st century. It is a continuation of Luke’s Gospel which ends with Jesus’ commissioning the disciples to spread the news of His saving work to the world. It was written around AD 61–63 for “Theophilus,” and it focuses primarily on the ministries of Peter and Paul.



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