Jm

Author's details

Name: jm
Date registered: March 10, 2012
URL: http://jmsmith.org

Latest posts

  1. Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Thayer Thursday – Old Testament ‘Fulfillment’ — December 11, 2014
  2. Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Grappling prayer — November 24, 2014
  3. Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Romans: The Letter That Changed the World (week 6 audio) — November 20, 2014
  4. Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Beware “Christian” Authors — November 19, 2014
  5. Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Romans: The Letter That Changed the World (week 4 audio) — November 6, 2014

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Author's posts listings

Dec 11 2014

Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Thayer Thursday – Old Testament ‘Fulfillment’

Original post at http://jmsmith.org/blog/thayer-fulfillment-2/


Chris Thayer is the Director of Discipleship at Good Shepherd Church in Charlotte, NC where he oversees adult life groups and Biblical education. On Thursdays I share his weekly “Thayer’s Thoughts” for small group leaders, which are based on the previous Sunday’s sermon. Click HERE to watch or listen to the accompanying sermon.

Prophecy, fulfillment, future telling – these words have become virtual synonyms to many in 21st century American culture. Unfortunately, these words have also melded together in the subconscious of many Christians. This is evidenced by the way that the Gospel of Matthew is far too often misread.

One of Matthew’s primary themes in his Gospel is ‘fulfillment.’ In today’s passage of scripture (Matthew 2:7-23) the word fulfilled is used three times.

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with giftsof gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

13 When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.“Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15 where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

16 When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18 “A voice is heard in Ramah,
    weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
    and refusing to be comforted,
    because they are no more.”

19 After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20 and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child’s life are dead.”

21 So he got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel.22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23 and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.

 

Because we are shaped by our culture (particularly Hollywood movies!) more than we often realize, many have taken these words to be references to Jesus fulfilling ‘predictions’ about Him that were given by prophets hundreds of years prior to His birth. This is then looked to as proof that the Bible is supernaturally inspired and true. After all, that’s what “fulfilled” means, right?

Not quite.

Instead, Matthew is pointing to something much grander than Jesus fulfilling a prediction.

Matthew was a first century Jew – and quite familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures. A good rule of thumb for reading your Bible, and the New Testament in particular, is any time an author quotes something from the Old Testament, go back and read it AND its surrounding context.

For instance, let’s take the first instance of Matthew using the word fulfilled in today’s passage: “And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘Out of Egypt I called my son.’

If you have a Bible that contains cross references (usually written in the middle or on one of the margins of the page), you’ll see that this is a quote from one of the Minor Prophets in the Old Testament, Hosea. It is from Hosea 11:1. Hosea was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel before their ultimate demise by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. Far from being a ‘future telling’ of the coming Messiah (Jesus), the words of Hosea 11:1 are in the midst of a scathing rebuke to the people of Israel for her unrepentant and adulterous heart even after God had rescued them from slavery in Egypt. Through Hosea God is lamenting the rebellion of His children (Israel) in the face of His kindness.

So why does Matthew use this verse as a reference to Jesus?

Because Matthew is concerned with portraying something far grander than a few scattered predictions coming to fruition. Matthew is showing that Jesus is becoming the embodiment of what Israel was to do and who she was supposed to be. Jesus is portrayed by Matthew as the one, true Israelite. The one in and through whom God’s grand plan of rescue and redemption would meet its ultimate fulfillment.

Jesus is ‘filling fully’ Israel’s history and transforming what looked to be broken into what has been God’s ultimate plan the entire time.

Through Jesus God would reconcile the world to Himself – a promise seen in God’s covenant with Abraham all the way through God’s call on the people of Israel to be a light to the nations.

The next time you see a quote from the Old Testament in the New Testament, go back and read the context of that quote. Let it challenge you and your assumptions about what it means.

Matthew knew that Hosea wasn’t referring directly to Jesus. However, he saw that God’s plan was bigger than people’s failings. He saw firsthand that through Jesus, God would fulfill His promise for His wonderful creation. He would rescue it. He would redeem it. All of this would be accomplished in and through Jesus.

 

Chris Thayer

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/12/thayer-thursday-old-testament-fulfillment/

Nov 24 2014

Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Grappling prayer

Original post at http://jmsmith.org/blog/thayer-grappling/


Today’s post was a written by Chris Thayer (on the right below), Director of Discipleship at Good Shepherd Church in Charlotte, NC…who I’ve exchanged chokes, armbars and footlocks with on many occasions over the years!

-JM 

Chris no gi6

Several years ago I started practicing a sport called Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s essentially martial arts wrestling.

Before I had children, I trained often in the sport and thoroughly enjoyed it. Not only is it an incredibly challenging work-out – but it also inspires comradery. Much of what you learn has the potential to severely injure your training partner if you’re not careful. So each person has to quite literally trust their physical well-being to their training partner.

In addition, when competing, it’s incredibly helpful and important to have somebody you’ve trained with coach you from the side-lines to help you realize your mistakes before you make them and exploit your opponent’s weaknesses when they are revealed. Since I’ve had children, I don’t practice Jiu-Jitsu nearly as often and don’t compete. However, on Sunday nights I occasionally join with old friends and make new ones on the mats at our local academy.

Four weeks ago I was at one of these open mat sessions. As I left – I checked my phone and saw I had several missed calls from my wife and my neighbor. I soon found out my son was in an ambulance and being prepped for transport to the local hospital. I didn’t know what was going on and to say the least was scared for my son and family. So on my way to meet the ambulance I made several calls to family and to friends here at church. I let them know what little I did and asked them to pray.

I arrived home, hopped in the ambulance and found out that my son had a seizure. It was brought about by a rapid increase in his body’s temperature from a virus. He was discharged from the hospital that night and (praise God!) there’s not currently any concern for an underlying neurological disorder (this is type of seizure is not uncommon in young children).

During this ordeal my wife and I received many texts and calls from people saying they were praying for us. Not only that, but I later found out that several LifeGroups that meet on Sunday night had gotten word and were praying for us during our time of need.

Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.

Colossians 4:12

As I read Paul’s comments about Epaphras wrestling in prayer for the Colossian church and recount this moment – it puts it in new perspective. I went from quite literally wrestling with other people to having others wrestle for my family in prayer – and that prayer was vital to my son and our family.

It’s telling that Paul uses the word “wrestling” to explain the fervency with which Epaphras prayed for the Colossian church. Wrestling is not an easy sport – it’s physically exhausting. However, not only in times of crisis – but in our everyday lives, we need people who are wrestling for us in prayer.

This can take on many different expressions – but my challenge for you today is to find somebody who will wrestle for you and with you in prayer. Somebody whom you’re willing to trust with your well-being and who will be in your corner as you seek to serve Jesus with all that you are.

It is a vital part of our living relationship with Jesus Christ. My family’s recent crisis highlighted this reality, and reminds me that at every moment (whether in crisis or not) we need people who are wrestling for us in prayer.

 

Chris Thayer

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/11/grappling-prayer/

Nov 20 2014

Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Romans: The Letter That Changed the World (week 6 audio)

Original post at http://jmsmith.org/blog/romans-audio6/


Hi Dojo readers,

Here is the audio from the final week of the study of Romans I taught at Good Shepherd UMC over the past 6 weeks. In it we finally get to the entire purpose in Paul’s writing to the Roman believers. Rather than being an aside or appendix on good behavior, Romans 12-15 is a work of profound Pastoral Biblical theology and ethical outworking of the Gospel preached from the beginning of the letter.

Take a listen and be challenged…
http://www.gsumclifegroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/FallRomans/RomansWeek6.mp3

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/11/romans-the-letter-that-changed-the-world-week-6-audio/

Nov 19 2014

Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Beware “Christian” Authors

Original post at http://jmsmith.org/blog/thayer-christian-authors/


Chris Thayer is the Director of Discipleship at Good Shepherd Church in Charlotte, NC where he oversees adult life groups and Biblical education. The following is a guest post here in the Dojo that I wholeheartedly agree with!

-JM

 

Walk into any Christian bookstore in the United States and you’ll find books on almost any topic you’d like to study. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t worth reading. What’s scarier though, is that many of them teach people to think and study the Bible improperly.

I don’t think the authors of most of these books and curricula are intentionally malicious. In fact many of them arrive at helpful conclusions for people’s lives. But this is only one side of the coin. When we evaluate a teaching we should look at it on two fronts: 1.) What is the conclusion the author comes to? Is the result of their teaching healthy, helpful, and in agreement with the reality of who God is and who He wants us to be? 2.) How is their argument – their line of reasoning? Is it clear? Does it flow out of a proper reading and understanding of Scripture and the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

Most of the time people evaluate Christian books and teaching on the first criteria alone and completely ignore the second. We tend to judge the integrity of a book, teaching, or sermon based on its conclusion alone. If the conclusion is something we believe to be helpful and Biblical, then we will often accept the author’s conclusion and uncritically swallow the argument with it. This is incredibly dangerous.

Many books meet the first criteria easily: the author’s conclusions are helpful and in line with what scripture teaches. However, many times their arguments are a complete atrocity. Scripture is taken out of context. They make assertions about the Greek or Hebrew texts that are inaccurate. They twist the words of verses from the Bible to make it say what they want it to say rather than what it actually says. They are so focused on the conclusion of their argument that they let it blind their reading and interpretation of scripture. Their conclusions are good; their arguments are anything but.

Let me share an example: A book I just read quotes Proverbs 23:7 as saying “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he” (KJV). The author then uses this verse as a proof text from the Bible that what you dwell on is what you will become. The author of the book states: “We become what we think. Our thought life – not our circumstances – determines whether we are content.” Now, I use this example because the author’s conclusion is fairly good. It’s helpful. It tends to be true: What you dwell on mentally is how you act outwardly. However their argument, in this case their interpretation of this passage of Scripture, is not good. If you read the context from which the author has ripped this proverb, you’ll see what I mean. The point of this Proverb is not—as the author of this book claims—a truism for all people that what we dwell on is what we will become (however true this may be). Here’s all of Proverbs 23:7 AND its surrounding context so you can see:

4 Do not weary yourself to gain wealth,
Cease from your consideration of it.
5 When you set your eyes on it, it is gone.
For wealth certainly makes itself wings
Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens.

6 Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
7 For as he thinks within himself, so he is.
He says to you, “Eat and drink!”
But his heart is not with you.
8 You will vomit up the morsel you have eaten,
And waste your compliments.[1]

 

The point of this section of Proverbs is to teach the reader not to be zealous for wealth – to not even take the food of somebody who’s tightfisted about wealth because even though he might appear generous, in reality he’s not. The time you spend with him will be wasted – the food of his you eat will be vomited back up. This is not a Proverb that teaches a truism for all people that what you dwell on is what you will become. If this translation is accurate, the verse’s intention is to say that the selfish man in the example is actually different from what his outward actions portray. In other words, the author of the book I’m referring to subtly took a verse from this proverb out of context, made those words say something that they don’t, and passed it off as a teaching from this book of the Bible.

Now, at this point, maybe you’re thinking to yourself “You’re splitting hairs.[2] What difference does it really make so long as their conclusions are good? It’s only a small leap from this proverb to teach people not to dwell on negative things. Besides, isn’t the conclusion the goal anyway? Does it really matter how we get there? The author captured a reality about life that is helpful for people even if they took the words of that Proverb slightly out of context.”

Other than the problems that come with such pragmatism – let me challenge the assumption that only the conclusion matters. Let me ask the more important question: How is the author of this book teaching people to read the Bible? They’re teaching them that taking a verse out of context to fit what they want to say is okay. It’s okay to read one verse, ignore what surrounds it, and twist it to say something that sounds (and may even be) true and good. The author is giving the reader permission to to take a verse out of context in order to say whatever they want, as long as the conclusion sounds right. They’ve taught them to let their conclusions drive their argument rather than allowing scripture to inform their conclusions. In other words, they’ve taught them the basics on how to create their very own cult. This is incredibly dangerous and an absolute mishandling of the calling that every teacher of the Bible has—that of teaching people how to read and interpret the Bible correctly.

If this were something that only happened once in a while, I wouldn’t be nearly as concerned about it as I am. However the more I read, the more I see that it is an epidemic within popular Christian writing that needs to be rooted out. It is a consistently used technique that takes advantage of sincere Christians.

Christians have a desire to understand God correctly. Yet the Bible can be an incredibly confusing book. Understanding how to live out our relationship with God is a difficult task. So we want help. We want people to help us understand God, the Bible, and to help us grow in our relationship with Him. So we buy curriculum, we read books, we visit blogs. Unfortunately most of what we’re consuming has zero nutritional value. We’re getting fat on cake and doughnuts that we’ve been told is a healthy and nutritious meal. We’re being told we’re reading Biblical teaching when in reality we’re reading little more than a self-help book with some Jesus sprinkled in it so that we’ll buy it and feel good about reading “Christian teaching.”

So here are a few things to watch out for as you read your next Christian book, blog, or curriculum:

1.)    If the author says “in the Greek it says…” or “in the Hebrew this word really means…” Look it up or ask somebody who you know has studied the languages of the Bible. Authors will frequently appeal to the original language (Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic) of the Bible to buttress their argument and completely misuse an elementary understanding of the language. For example, just like in English, Greek and Hebrew words can have multiple meanings. In English, the word ‘tip’ can mean both to turn something over and the end (usually pointed) of an object. Just because I say the word ‘tip’ does not mean that I have both meanings in mind. The context of what I’m saying informs the listener or reader to understand which use I intend. Frequently Christian authors say that a Greek or Hebrew word not only means “such and such” but that it can also mean “such and such” and draw a conclusion based on that second meaning when the Biblical writer in no way intended that second meaning to be understood. They know enough about Greek or Hebrew to know that words can carry multiple meanings, but they don’t understand that context drives what meaning we should understand the author as intending.

2.)    If the author frequently uses multiple translations, BEWARE. I’ve found that when authors bounce from one translation to another, it’s because one translation makes their point better than another translation does. In other-words, they’re finding a translation that is just loose enough to fit the meaning they want it to have. Frequently the translations refer to when they do this are either the Amplified Bible or very loose translations/paraphrases (such as The Message or The Living Bible), and almost always taken out of context.

3.)    When the author quotes a verse from the Bible: look it up and read the surrounding chapter. Better yet: read the entire book. Authors frequently take a verse completely out of context to make the Bible say something that it’s not at all saying. [For a hypothetical example, imagine there is a book of the Bible named Shepherd. And in Shepherd 1:2 it reads “Don’t eat your vegetables.” I could quote this verse as grounds for instructing people that to eat vegetables is against the teaching of the Bible. However, if you were to go back and read it and see that Shepherd 1:1 says: “If anybody ever tells you:” and Shepherd 1:3 says: “Don’t listen to them.” We see that it has a completely different meaning! Unfortunately, this kind of lack of context is endemic to many popular Christian teachers and preachers.]

 To all the Christian writers, teachers, and speakers who may read this: Please have the integrity to not take advantage of Christians and make something sound Biblical when it’s really not. If you’re writing a self-help book, just label it as such. Don’t sprinkle Bible verses throughout it to goad Christians into buying it thinking they’re getting teaching about the Bible. I’m sure it’s unintended, but the poor arguments you are claiming to have come from the Bible have widespread consequences—consequences you might not have realized, but ones that according to James 3:1 you are responsible for.

 

Chris Thayer

 

[1] This is taken from the NASB translation of the Bible. You will also notice that due to translational difficulty with this verse, other respected translations such as the NIV and the ESV have altered the wording especially of verse 7 to make the reading more clear, a clarity which removes the referred to author’s improper use of this verse all the more clearly.
[2] A little nerd humor here if I may: One of the possible translations of Proverbs 23:7 is rather than saying “As he thinks in his heart so he is” it says: “for it’s like a hair in the throat.” You can find the argument for this translation (which I personally find compelling and to make a lot more sense of the verse in its context) in Ronald E. Murphy’s Word Biblical Commentary, Proverbs. Volume 22.

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/11/beware-christian-authors/

Nov 06 2014

Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Romans: The Letter That Changed the World (week 4 audio)

Original post at http://jmsmith.org/blog/romans-audio4/


Hi Dojo readers,

For those who cannot be here in Charlotte in person to attend the Romans class I’m currently teaching at GSUMC, here is the audio from last week’s session. We finished our look at the next overall section of Romans, chs. 5-8.

 

 

http://www.gsumclifegroup.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/FallRomans/RomansWeek4.mp3

Permanent link to this article: http://methoblog.com/3_0/2014/11/romans-the-letter-that-changed-the-world-week-4-audio/

Nov 03 2014

Disciple Dojo - JMSmith.org: Is Romans 9-11 a giant chiasm? [Bible geek alert]

Original post at http://jmsmith.org/blog/romans-chiasm/


Hi Dojo readers,

This is a particularly Bible-geekish post. So be warned beforehand. :)

I’m going to be teaching week 4 of my 6-week study on the book of Romans this week and in prepping for it I was re-reading N.T. Wright’s chapter on Romans 9-11 in his MASSIVE magnum opus “Paul and the Faithfulness of God“. [Seriously, it's so large that Ben Witherington has written a 93-part review of it. No...I'm not making that up!]

Wright spends around 200 pages just on these three chapters of Romans…but given the amount of ink that has been spilled over the past 2,000 years on that section of the book, his treatment is well worth reading and engaging with overall. But what initially piqued my interest, and has become more convincing the more I read and reread Romans 9-11, is Wright’s suggestion that the entire section is structured chiastically. [For those who are unfamiliar with what a "chiasm" is, you can read a quick intro summary to the concept that I wrote a few years ago HERE.]

I wanted to share it with readers (as I’ll be sharing it in class on Thursday) in a way that visually helps them see Wright’s proposed structure…and thus a potential way to make sense of the overall flow of this most dense (and often confusing!) section of the book. So using the Bible study approach I suggested earlier this year (which I still believe to be the single most effective way of studying overall books of the Bible in the modern age!), I copied and pasted Romans 9-11 into a Word doc and formatted it according to Wright’s suggested structure…using his “Kingdom New Testament” which I have on my Kindle reader. (I thought that was only fitting!)  I’ve color-coded the corresponding sections of the chiasm and indented them as well. I also put all OT quotations in italics. Here it is below for those who are curious. You can judge for yourself whether or not you find it persuasive or a helpful way to read this section of Scripture.

 

Romans 9-11’s Chiastic structure based on

N.T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God, ch.11

(Kingdom New Testament translation)

 

9:1 I’m speaking the truth in the Messiah; I’m not lying. I call my conscience as witness, in the holy spirit, 2that I have great sorrow and endless pain in my heart. 3Left to my own self, I am half-inclined to pray that I would be accursed, cut off from the Messiah, on behalf of my own family, my own flesh-and-blood relatives. 4They are Israelites; the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship and the promises all belong to them. 5The patriarchs are their ancestors; and it is from them, according to the flesh, that the Messiah has come— who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen!

6But it can’t be the case that God’s word has failed! Not all who are from Israel, you see, are in fact Israel. 7Nor is it the case that all the children count as “seed of Abraham.” No: “in Isaac shall your seed be named.” 8That means that it isn’t the flesh-and-blood children who are God’s children; rather, it is the children of the promise who will be calculated as “seed.” 9This was what the promise said, you see: “Around this time I shall return, and Sarah shall have a son.” 10And that’s not all. The same thing happened when Rebecca conceived children by one man, our ancestor Isaac. 11When they had not yet been born, and had done nothing either good or bad— so that what God had in mind in making his choice might come to pass, 12not because of works but because of the one who calls— it was said to her, “The elder shall serve the younger.” 13As the Bible says, “I loved Jacob, but I hated Esau.” 14So what are we going to say? Is God unjust? Certainly not! 15He says to Moses, you see, “I will have mercy on those on whom I will have mercy, and I will pity those I will pity.” 16So, then, it doesn’t depend on human willing, or on human effort; it depends on God who shows mercy. 17For the Bible says to Pharaoh: “This is why I have raised you up, to show my power in you, and so that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18So, then, he has mercy on the one he wants, and he hardens the one he wants. 19You will say to me, then, “So why does he still blame people? Who can stand against his purpose?” 20Are you, a mere human being, going to answer God back? “Surely the clay won’t say to the potter, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” 21Doesn’t the potter have authority over the clay, so that he can make from the same lump one vessel for honor, and another for dishonor? 22Supposing God wanted to demonstrate his anger and make known his power, and for that reason put up very patiently with the vessels of anger created for destruction, 23in order to make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, the ones he prepared in advance for glory— 24including us, whom he called not only from among the Jews but also from among the Gentiles? 25This is what he says in Hosea, I will call “not my people” “my people”; And “not beloved” I will call “beloved.” 26And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” There they will be called “sons of the living God.” 27Isaiah cries out, concerning Israel, Even if the number of Israel’s sons are like the sand by the sea, Only a remnant shall be saved; 28For the Lord will bring judgment on the earth, Complete and decisive. 29As Isaiah said in an earlier passage, If the Lord of hosts had not left us seed, We would have become like Sodom, and been made like Gomorrah

30What then shall we say? That the nations, who were not aspiring toward covenant membership, have obtained covenant membership, but it is a covenant membership based on faith. 31Israel, meanwhile, though eager for the law which defined the covenant, did not attain to the law. 32Why not? Because they did not pursue it on the basis of faith, but as though it was on the basis of works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33as the Bible says: Look: I am placing in Zion A stone that will make people stumble, A rock that will trip people up; And the one who believes in him Will never be put to shame.

10:1My dear family, the longing of my heart, and my prayer to God on their behalf, is for their salvation. 2I can testify on their behalf that they have a zeal for God; but it is not based on knowledge. 3They were ignorant, you see, of God’s covenant faithfulness, and they were trying to establish a covenant status of their own; so they didn’t submit to God’s faithfulness. 4The Messiah, you see, is the goal of the law, so that covenant membership may be available for all who believe.

5Moses writes, you see, about the covenant membership defined by the law, that “the person who performs the law’s commands shall live in them.” 6But the faith-based covenant membership puts it like this: “Don’t say in your heart, Who shall go up to heaven?” (in other words, to bring the Messiah down), 7“or, Who shall go down into the depths?” (in other words, to bring the Messiah up from the dead). 8But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we proclaim);

9because if you profess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

10Why? Because the way to covenant membership is by believing with the heart, and the way to salvation is by professing with the mouth. 11The Bible says, you see, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich toward all who call upon him. 13All who call upon the name of the Lord,” you see, “will be saved.”

14So how are they to call on someone when they haven’t believed in him? And how are they to believe if they don’t hear? And how will they hear without someone announcing it to them? 15And how will people make that announcement unless they are sent? As the Bible says, “How beautiful are the feet of the ones who bring good news of good things.” 16But not all obeyed the good news. Isaiah asks, you see, “Lord, who has believed our report?17So faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes from the word of the Messiah.

18This might make us ask, Did they not hear? But they certainly did: Their sound went out into all the world, And their words to the ends of the earth. 19But I ask, did Israel not know? To begin with, Moses says, I will make you jealous with a non-nation; And stir you to anger with a foolish people. 20Then Isaiah, greatly daring, puts it like this: I was found by those who were not looking for me; I became visible to those who were not asking for me. 21But in respect of Israel he says, All day long I have stretched out my hands to a disbelieving and disagreeable people.

11:1 So I ask, has God abandoned his people? Certainly not! I myself am an Israelite, from the seed of Abraham and the tribe of Benjamin. 2“God has not abandoned his people,” the ones he chose in advance. Don’t you know what the Bible says in the passage about Elijah, describing how he pleads with God against Israel? 3Lord,” he says, “they have killed your prophets, they have thrown down your altars; I’m the only one left, and they are trying to kill me!4But what is the reply from the divine word? “I have left for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5In the same way, at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. 6But if it is by grace, it is no longer by works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. 7What then? Did Israel not obtain what it was looking for? Well, the chosen ones obtained it— but the rest were hardened, 8as the Bible says: God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes that wouldn’t see, and ears that wouldn’t hear, Right down to this present day. 9And David says, Let their table become a snare and a trap, And a stumbling block and a punishment for them; 10Let their eyes be darkened so that they can’t see, And make their backs bend low forever. 11So I ask, then: Have they tripped up in such a way as to fall completely? Certainly not! Rather, by their trespass, salvation has come to the nations, in order to make them jealous. 12If their trespass means riches for the world, and their impoverishment means riches for the nations, how much more will their fullness mean! 13Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Insofar as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I celebrate my particular ministry, 14so that, if possible, I can make my “flesh” jealous, and save some of them. 15If their casting away, you see, means reconciliation for the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? 16Take another illustration: if the first fruits are holy, so is the whole lump. And another: if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17But if some of the branches were broken off, and you— a wild olive tree!— were grafted in among them, and came to share in the root of the olive with its rich sap, 18don’t boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember this: it isn’t you that supports the root, but the root that supports you. 19I know what you’ll say next: “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” 20That’s all very well. They were broken off because of unbelief— but you stand firm by faith. Don’t get big ideas about it; instead, be afraid. 21After all, if God didn’t spare the natural branches, there’s a strong possibility he won’t spare you. 22Note carefully, then, that God is both kind and severe. He is severe to those who have fallen, but he is kind to you, provided you continue in his kindness— otherwise you too will be cut off. 23And they, too, if they do not remain in unbelief, will be grafted back in. God is able, you see, to graft them back in. 24For if you were cut out of what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will they, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree. 25My dear brothers and sisters, you mustn’t get the wrong idea and think too much of yourselves. That is why I don’t want you to remain in ignorance of this mystery: a hardening has come for a time upon Israel, until the fullness of the nations comes in. 26That is how “all Israel shall be saved,” as the Bible says: The Deliverer will come from Zion, And will turn away ungodliness from Jacob. 27And this will be my covenant with them, Whenever I take away their sins. 28As regards the good news, they are enemies— for your sake! But as regards God’s choice they are beloved because of the patriarchs. 29God’s gifts and God’s call, you see, cannot be undone. 30For just as you were once disobedient to God, but now have received mercy through their disobedience, 31so they have now disbelieved as well, in order that, through the mercy which has come your way, they too may now receive mercy. 32For God has shut up all people in disobedience, so that he may have mercy upon all.

33O, the depth of the riches And the wisdom and knowledge of God! We cannot search his judgments; We cannot fathom his ways. 34For “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has given him counsel? 35Who has given a gift to him Which needs to be repaid?36For from him, through him, and to him are all things. Glory to him forever! Amen.

 

 

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