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Daily Devotion for April 14, 2015

<i>Jesus Ministered to by Angels</i> by James Tissot, ca. 1894.
Jesus Ministered to by Angels by James Tissot, ca. 1894.



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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.


For Joy in God's Creation

O  Heavenly Father, who has filled the world with beauty; Open my eyes to behold your gracious hand in all your works; that rejoicing in your whole creation, I may learn to serve you with gladness, faithfully managing your bounty; for the sake of him by whom all things were made, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


Prayer for Holiness

Holy God, no one can put together what has crumbled into dust, but you can restore a conscience turned to ashes. You can restore to its former beauty a soul lost and without hope. With you, there is nothing that cannot be redeemed. You are love; You are Creator and Redeemer. I praise you with my every ounce.

I fear the lesson, my God, of the fall of Lucifer, full of pride. I pray you will keep me from such a terrible fate; keep me safe with the power of your Grace; save me from falling away from you. Save me from doubt. Incline my heart to hear your mysterious voice every moment of my life and thus be led to call upon you, for you are present in every thing and every moment.



[The importance of temporal diligence in our spiritual lives.]


Let me not forget you as I go forth into the world this day, blessed Lord; may my every word be a prayer, and my every act be testimony to your love and truth, and may I know your presence every second of this day.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

<i>Church on Lenox Ave.</i> by William Johnson, ca. 1944.
Church on Lenox Ave. by William Johnson, ca. 1944. (Lenox Ave. is the main street of Harlem, in New York City.)


If there be a man before me who says that the wrath of God is too heavy a punishment for his little sin, I ask him, if the sin be little, why does he not give it up?

- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Blue Latin Cross

Galatians 3:22, 25-27 (DP Bible)

The Function of the Law (Galatians #38)

22What [the Law] did was to confine together and guard those who followed it, showing them to live in sin.

         *         *         *

25-27 Now that true faith has arrived, you are no longer governed by a guardian. You have inherited God’s promise through your faith in Christ; for if you were baptized in Christ, you were clothed in Christ, as a child is clothed when he comes of age and can receive his inheritance.

Verbatim Bible

22 But confined mPoss. shut up together. The word is used of a single person put in prison, but its components use a prefix normally meaning “together”. That would be appropriate here, reflecting the limited and well-defined group who received the law. Or, it might stress the completeness of a surrounding wall, enclosed on all sides. the scripture nLit. the writing. the entirety under sin that the promise by faith of oOr of, or from, etc. Another instance of the pistis Xristou ambiguity. Jesus Christ might be given to the believing.

         *         *         *

25 But faith having come, we are no longer under discipline.

26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

27 For as many in Christ you were baptized, in Christ you were clothed qClothed might have a connotation of coming into maturity, an event that was marked by a formal and frequently ceremonial change of clothing from that of a child to that of a man. .

DP Parallel Bible (3-Column) - Galatians 3

About the Daily Prayer BibleThe “Daily Prayer Bible” is a paraphrase translation. This means accuracy to the original text has been sacrificed, to make it more readable and readily understood. This is especially useful in the Epistles of Paul. Verses are often out of order and often explanatory matter is included in the actual translation.

It is part of a larger work, DP 3-Column Bible, a Bible translation with 3 different levels of literal accuracy, which you can access by clicking the link at the bottom of the Scripture section. We call the most readable and least accurate translation the “Daily Prayer Bible”. The middle translation (“The American Bible”) is what is called a “literal” translation, accurate to the original text but using English grammar and idioms.

The third translation is a unique transliterative text, called “Verbatim Bible”, that has an unparalleled degree of accuracy but is not readable except with difficulty. It gives the non-Greek-reading user the ability to see the inaccuracies and ambiguities that become invisible in even the best so-called “literal” translations, such as the NASB or our own American Bible.

Notes on the Scripture

We studied the fundamental meaning of these verses yesterday, but there are two short (and unrelated) matters to discuss.

The first is how we are to understand verse 22; more precisely, what does Paul mean by saying we were “confined” and/or “guarded” by the Law? There is actually only one verb in the sentence: our DP paraphrase translation uses two verbs — “confine together and guard” — to give the both of the main possibilities, because the meaning of the single Greek verb is ambiguous and could support either meaning.

This is a compound verb made up of two roots, “together” and “to shut”. It is used in Luke to describe the fish caught by the apostles when Christ first called them. (Luke 5:6) So, it is natural to read this as referring to a sort of herding of the Hebrews into a distinct group, something that the Law certainly did.


ut things are not so easy, because the verb most commonly means, simply, to be put into prison (whether with others or alone). If that is how Paul intends it, we cannot see the Law as exalting the Jews, making them the “chosen people of God.” This is exactly how Judaism did (in the Old Testament) and does (today) look at the Law, but Paul see it very differently. He emphasizes (under this reading) that the Hebrews were singled out for God's discipline; they were made captives to the Law and were punished for breaking it. That they were punished is unquestionable. The ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom were dispersed forever in 722 B.C.; the Kingdom of Judah sputtered on through the Second Temple until it, too, was destroyed and dispersed by Rome in 72 A.D.

There is a third possible meaning, however, even more severe: that the Law actually separated the Hebrews from God's promise! It means not so much to wall in the subject, but to wall out something else, completely. The Law built a wall that denied the Hebrews access to God's promise for a period: they were tied to something that could not and cannot give eternal life: Because those to whom God gave the law were, by their nature as human beings, incapable of following the law, it formed an inpenetrable barrier between them and God.

The second point about these verses is minor but charming. The Greek custom, when a child came of age, was to give him (or her, as it applied also to girls) a new and different set of “grown-up” clothes. Many cultures have something similar — in the U.S., until around the 1940s, boys would not get long trousers until a certain age. But in Greek culture, it was quite important, and the new clothes would be accompanied by a ceremony, a meal, and a sacrifice to a household god.

So perhaps Paul means to invoke this custom, when he writes, “[I]f you were baptized in Christ, you were clothed in Christ, . . .” In fact, the paraphrase version of our DP Bible makes the allusion explicit.

endless knot

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Memory Verse

Matthew 22:37-40: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

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