COLOSSIANS

Colossians is one of Paul’s prison epistles (Colossians 1:7-8; 4:3, 7-14), written while Paul was under house arrest in the city of Rome. The content of this book is very similar to that which is written in the book of Ephesians.

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1 & 2 THESSALONIANS

On his second missionary journey, Paul and his companions went to Thessalonica (Acts 17:1). He spent three Sabbaths at the synagogue teaching the Jews about the suffering and resurrection of the Christ (Acts 17:2-3). The response to the gospel among the Jews was minimal, but many of the Gentiles heard and obeyed the Lord (Acts 17:4-5a). The Jews, out of envy, arranged a mob to cause trouble for Paul and those who were with him, accusing them of having “…turned the world upside down…” (Acts 17:5b-8). For their safety, the brethren sent Paul and Silas away (Acts 17:10).

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PHILIPPIANS

Like the book of Ephesians, the letter to the church at Philippi is a “prison epistle,” written by Paul while he was under house arrest in Rome (Philippians 1:7, 13-14, 16; 4:22).

The theme to the book of Philippians is rejoice. The word “joy” and its derivatives appear in this short book 16 times, including the well known admonition, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4).

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EPHESIANS

The book of Ephesians is part of a group of Pauline letters we commonly call the “prison epistles.” These are letters which Paul wrote while he was imprisoned in Rome (Ephesians 3:1; 4:1).

The book is a companion letter to Colossians. The two books parallel one another in content. Notice a few examples:

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GALATIANS

Most of Paul’s epistles were written to specific churches (ie. “the church of God which is at Corinth,” 1 Corinthians 1:2; “to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi,” Philippians 1:1), but this letter was addressed “to the churches of Galatia” (Galatians 1:2). Galatia was not a city, but a geographical region which had churches in the cities of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, among others.

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1 & 2 CORINTHIANS

The apostle Paul began the church at Corinth while on his second missionary journey (Acts 18). He stayed in the city for a year and a half teaching the gospel (Acts 18:11). The two letters were written in close succession while Paul was on his third journey. The first letter was penned shortly before Paul left Ephesians (1 Corinthians 16:8-10). The second letter was written while Paul was in Macedonia (2 Corinthians 1:15-16). He would visit the church soon thereafter and then go to Judea with the gift for the saints who were suffering through a famine.

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ROMANS

The book of Romans is the first epistle (letter) we come to in the New Testament. It was from the apostle Paul (1:11) to the church at Rome (1:7), but was recorded by a scribe named Tertius (16:22).

At the time of writing, Paul desired to visit the church in Rome, but hadn’t had the opportunity yet (1:10; 15:22-24). He was in Corinth when the book was written, shortly before going to Jerusalem with the gift to minister to the needy saints in Judea (15:25-26). After arriving in Jerusalem Paul was arrested and spent more than two years in custody (Acts 21:30-33; 24:27). Eventually he would appeal to Caesar and thus be taken to Rome as a prisoner (Acts 25:10-12; 28:16).

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ACTS

The full name of the book is “The Acts of the Apostles,” though we typically refer to it as “Acts.” This book is the continuation of Luke’s writing (Acts 1:1; cf. Luke 1:3). In the first record, he wrote about the life and deeds of the Messiah, finishing just before His ascension. In the book of Acts, Luke picks up where he left off and proceeds to tell about the beginning of the church “…in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” This phrase (from 1:8) reveals how the gospel would spread to the whole world.

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When Does Life Begin?

This past week, I received the following inquiry:
“When would you say a person’s soul is created?”

It is an immensely important question. At what point are we a living being? When does human life begin? It is a question which needs a clear and definitive answer, especially in light of the freedom with which pregnancies are being terminated in our present day. Between 2010 and 2019 (the last year for which we have statistics), there were just shy of 1 million abortions reported in Canada1. From 2009 to 2018 (the last year for which data is available), our neighbours to the South have reported just over 6.7 million abortions.2

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JOHN

John is the fourth and final gospel account. The author is the apostle John, a former fisherman along with James, his brother, working on the boat of Zebedee, their father. He was part of the inner circle of Jesus’ friends (Peter, James, and John), in fact, he described himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7, 20). In addition to the gospel account, he wrote 4 other books: 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and the Revelation.

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