Daily Devotional from dailyprayer.us

July 2, 2020


Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.

Prayer for God’s Gifts

Oh Lord and Master of my life, take away from me the spirit of laziness, cowardliness, lust for power, and malicious and idle speech. But rather give me, throughout the day to come, an ample spirit of vitality and force in your service, to the benefit of your glory and the good of my fellow man. Let me act in humility, patience, and decency at all times, seeing my own error and overlooking the faults of others; and let me always know the presence of your Holy Spirit, to remind me of what I have asked, in the name of my savior Jesus Christ,

Amen.

To Heal Divisions

Father, may our human family not become separated from you by building barriers of race, color, class, gender, or beliefs. Inspire us to recognize that we are all made in your image and likeness, so that we may grow in appreciation of all people, and encourage each other to grow in pride in who we are and who we are called to be. May we recognize your Son in our midst, and live truly as brothers and sisters. I pray this in the name of Christ, in remembrance of His love for the Samaritan woman at the well.

Amen.

Dedication (from St. Teresa of Avila)

May it please you, my good Lord, that there may come a day when I can repay a little of my great debt to you. O Jesus, strengthen my soul, you who are good above all good; and since you have inclined my soul in this way, show me how I may act for you, whatever it may cost, O Lord. Here is my life, my honor and my will; I have given them all to you and they are yours: use me to do whatever you want.

Amen.

Today’s “Remember the Bible” Question

Where do we learn that God will forgive our sins, if we confess them?

Answer: 1 John 1:9

Was Paul Important?

In the last century, scholars have come to appreciate Paul as the actual founder of the religious movement that would become Christianity.

~ “Paul of Tarsus”, Ancient History Encyclopedia


Blue Latin Cross

1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 (DP)

1-2 We commend you on how well you have followed our teachings about the Gospel. We want to encourage you in this, so that you will always walk before God in a way that pleases him, enjoying an ever-increasing abundance of the fruits of the Spirit.

Literal

1 Finally therefore, brothers, we ask you and exhort you in lord Jesus, that just as you received from us the how should you to walk 1By extension, to live or to behave. This is just as in English, only the Greek verb more precisely means walk around. and to please god, just as already you are walking2Or in this manner also you must walk (live); the indicative and imperative forms are identical here, and one must decide from context whether Paul is reinforcing his previous directions to them, or whether he is telling them they are already doing it but encouraging them to continue., that you might have abundance more.

2 For you know what commands we gave to you through 3Or on behalf of. the lord Jesus.


Footnotes
v1 - 1By extension, to live. This is just as in English, only the Greek verb more precisely means walk around.
    2 Or in this manner also you must walk (live); the indicative and imperative forms are identical here, and one must decide from context whether Paul is reinforcing his previous directions to them, or whether he is telling them they are already doing it but encouraging them to continue.
v2 - 3 Or on behalf of.

Notes on the Scripture

Living the Gospel
C

hapter 4:1-12 comprises a distinct section of 1 Thessalonians, concerning how Christians should live their lives — how they should behave. Unlike the indirect hortatory“Hortatory” means speech that encourages or advises people on what they should do, i.e., speech that exhorts. It is called direct when the speaker says straightforwardly, “Do such-and-such”.

It is called indirect when the speaker is not telling the listener what to do, but does imply that one manner of acting is superior to another. A mother telling her daughter “I always wash my hands before cooking dinner” probably intends to lead her daughter to do the same, by indirect hortatory.
of the first three chapters, Paul now switches to direct hortatory.

Notice that Paul says “you have followed our teachings.” Paul is not being bossy. He is all they have. In fact, he is arguably the only reliable source of Christian knowledge in Greece. He does not tell them “follow the Word of God” for two very good reasons: 1) the Bible does not exist, and 2) most of them cannot read, anyway. He does refer to the Scripture, at times, but when he does he means the Old Testament.

The wide acceptance of Paul’s teaching as gospel — literally — shows the enormous degree of confidence both the church and the people placed in his glorification as a full-fledged apostle of Christ. The church, because the two main centers at Antioch and Jerusalem sent him out as their primary missionary to Anatolia and Greece. The people, because they changed their lives, to the point of suffering and dying, based on what Paul taught. They would later have the Holy Spirit to guide them, as well, but they had to believe Paul first, to find the faith needed for repentance and baptism.

Christ crucified

We see, then, that these illiterate and persecuted Thessalonian Greeks were our very brothers and sisters; for Paul’s words are still today the Word of God to proper Christians. We might read them rather than hear them, but they mean to us exactly what they meant to the Greeks. It might support the idea that some people are called to Christ, considering what they put to risk based on one man’s bizarre claims! But their perception was accurate, for it stood the test of centuries of examination until the canon was finalized, and thereafter became a primary religious foundation of the Western world.

The significance of his words today are exactly what they were to people in Thessalonica, two thousand years ago.

Translation Notes

For those of you who are enjoying a “glimpse behind the curtain” of Bible translation, today’s verses illustrate a major issue (although it makes only a slight difference theologically). Paul tells the Thessalonians that “we explained to you how to walk before God” and then says either 1) “which you are already following” or 2) “and you must follow them” (literally, “just as also you must follow”).

The Greek words for “already following” and “also must follow” are identical! (More technically, the second-person plural active imperative is identical to the indicative, and the Greek word “kai”, which basically means “and”, can have dozens of other meanings — “and yet”, “nevertheless”, “that is”, “namely”, “both”, “not only/but also”, “even”, “also”, “still”, to name a few.)

Even the most raw, literal, word-for-word translation possible is going to require subjective selection of meaning. Here, translators universally choose the first meaning, because in the first two chapters Paul bends over backwards congratulating them on their good behavior, and also frequently says things like “as you already know”. So, the first option, “as you are already doing,” makes sense in context. Yet, even with such good contextual rationale, Paul could easily have meant to say the second option. Hence all the footnotes: to be fully transparent, all one can do is note other possible translations.