Mountain-moving faith

Before I write about mountain-moving faith, I owe my regular readers an explanation of what has been happening on all my blogs lately. It has been my intention to update Musicology for Everyone on Mondays and Thursdays, Grace and Judgment on Tuesdays and Fridays, All-Purpose Guru (the blog) on Wednesdays (and Saturdays maybe), and All-Purrpose Guru (Home) every couple of weeks.

I have been up to my elbows in other things that I have put off too long. I will have to cut back on writing till I get caught up. I hope to get back to a regular schedule in January if not before.… Read the rest

Thoughts on the imitation of Paul

In recent decades, it seems a lot of people don’t like Paul or his epistles very well. Even in the church, there are those who think they see a dichotomy between Paul’s words and Jesus’. The closer anyone looks, the harder it is to find any of the supposed contradictions between Paul and any other New Testament writer, but too many Christians today content themselves with an occasional glance. In 1 Corinthians 4:16, Paul urged that church to imitate him. That sends the critics into an uproar, excoriating him for his arrogance.

1 Thessalonians 1:6-10 gives a somewhat different view of the same concept, except instead of urging a church to imitate him, Paul commends a church for the way they imitated  him.… Read the rest

Faith, hope, and love—in 1 Thessalonians

Probably anyone with a nodding acquaintance with the New Testament, believer or not, knows about the ending of 1 Corinthians 13, where Paul says that faith, hope, and love abide and identifies love as the greatest of the three.

Perhaps the very familiarity of the passage robs us of the power inherent in the juxtaposition of those three virtues. Fortunately, there are plenty of lesser-known passages where we can see the power with fresh eyes.

1 Thessalonians is the earliest extant letter of Paul. People study it less than some of the others not because it’s harder to pronounce, but because the themes that characterize Paul’s teaching are not yet fully developed.… Read the rest