Philemon 1

Philemon 1: The Gospel Changes a servant into a Brother

The book of Philemon contains only one chapter, and was written to Philemon by Paul, while in he was in Prison.

Paul writes to Philemon and gives his greetings, appreciation and gratitude to him. Paul goes on to mention Onesimus, who was a runaway slave of Philemon who lived in Colosse (see Colossians 4:9) Paul writes to Philemon; “I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds; Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me.” (Philemon 1:10-11)

Onesimus had run away and traveled to Rome where he met Paul. While there, Onesimus surrendered his life to Christ. Under Roman Law, Philemon could execute his slave for running away. Paul writes this letter to Philemon to plead with Philemon to accept his plea. However, Paul goes beyond this and asks Philemon to also accept Onesimus as a brother in Christ and to overlook his faults and errors. “For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him forever; Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specifically to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh and in the Lord?” (Philemon 1:15-16)

 

 

Titus 3

Titus 3: After Baptism, Live Righteously

                Paul explains to Titus that after baptism, those who become members of Christ’s Church, must be; “…subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready for every good work. To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, showing all meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3: 1-2)

As Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have often explained that we follow after the words of Paul, for he was an Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ. One of our Articles of Faith explains; “We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law.” (Articles of Faith 1:12)

Paul goes on to explain that just because someone is a member of Christ’s Church, does not mean that they are perfect; “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating on another.” (Titus 3:3) But Paul makes it clear that whether that was in the past or present, we can always better ourselves through Jesus Christ, who shed his blood for us. Paul urges the members of the church to “…avoid foolish questions… contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.” (Titus 3:9) Essentially Paul is telling us that we should not argue over the scriptures, but rather put them into practice and follow Jesus Christ. We should not be judgmental of how others worship Christ, but instead worship Christ.

 

 

1 Thessalonians 4

1 Thessalonians 4: The Dead Shall Rise

                Paul urges the members of the Church in Thessalonia to follow in their footsteps, even as they (The Apostles) follow in the footsteps of Christ. Paul promises that if they do, they will be blessed;

“…as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1)

Paul goes on to remind them of the importance of having sexual relations in the bounds of marriage; “… this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3)

Paul reminds them to not defraud their brother, and to the importance of loving on another and treating one another as you would want to be treated;

“…no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter… ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” (1 Thessalonians 4:6,9)

Paul writes and tells them that they need to “…study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands…” (1 Thessalonians 4:11) In other words, study hard, strive to do good in your own business and with your own hands. You should obtain skills, education, etc. You should not lie, cheat or steal from others.

Paul ends his letter to the Thessalonians  by telling them to keep their heads up and not worry about those who will die without Christ;

“…I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

He then goes on to explain the Second Coming of Jesus Christ;

“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:1-18)

Colossians 1

Colossians 1: Christ created all Things

                Paul addresses the Colossians in Colosse and both Him and Timotheus greet the saints there. Paul explains that because they are followers of Christ, Jesus has made them “…partakers of the inheritance…” (Colossians 1:12) Paul explains this to drive home the point that members of Christ’s Church, His Saints… His Followers are all part of the wonderful plan that God set forth before the foundation of the earth was laid. We as followers of Jesus Christ share the inheritance that God will give us, this was only made possible through the “…redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:14) Through the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we have been given a path back to live with our Heavenly Father, and through Christ obtain our inheritance with the Father and the Son.

Paul goes on to address the saints and explain that Christ created all things;

“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, of powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, by him all things consist… he is the head of the body, the church…” (Colossians 1:16-18)

Paul comforts the saints to continue in the faith; “…continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel.” (Colossians 1:23)

                He explains that in every dispensation (when the authority is on earth and a prophet is called) that God reveals the mysteries of the world to His Children through the mouth of His servants the Prophets. Paul explains that he is a minister in that dispensation;

                “…I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:” (Colossians 1:26)

Paul urges the members of the church to preach to every man and warn them with wisdom of the sins and wickedness of the world, so that they may stand blameless before God in the Judgment Day;

                “… preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” (Colossians 1:28)

Philippians 4

Philippians 4: We Believe in Being Honest…

Paul ends his address to the Philippians by urging them to “…stand fast in the Lord…” (Philippians 4:1) He asks them to unite as one, and help each other. He urges them to rejoice in the Lord, and to be in a state of thanksgiving always.

He then gives some really good advice; “…Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true… honest… just…  pure…  lovely… [OR]… of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)

In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we believe on what Paul said, in fact it is part of one of our Articles of Faith (13 short articles declaring what we believe);

“We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul-We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” (Articles of Faith, 13)

In Philippians 4:8, Paul was urging the Saints of the Church (the members) to be good upstanding citizens, not only in the Church, but in their communities. Paul tells them that with Christ, he can do anything, and they can too; “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthened me.” (Philippians 4:13)

Ephesians 5

Ephesians 5: Husbands and Wives

                Paul tells the Ephesians that “…fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness [desiring possessions of others], let it not be once named among you… Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking… For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, no covetous man…. Hath any inheritance in the kingdom Christ and of God.” (Ephesians 5:3-5)

Paul goes on to explain that as followers of Christ and Saints of His church they should refrain from all evil things and instead of being drunk, they should be filled with the Spirit; “…be not drunk with wine… but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18) Paul urges the members of Christ’s Church to have music in their heart always so that they will know the power of God and fear Him; “…making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 5:19-20)

Paul explains a little about the roles of Husbands and Wives;

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” (Ephesians 5:22-25)

Are Wives subject to their Husbands?

If we only read that Wives must ‘submit themselves’ to their husbands, we might find the scriptures to be extremely sexist and controlling of women. However, we must read the entire chapter to understand what is meant when Paul said that wives must submit themselves to their husbands. Paul is saying that as Christ is the head of the church, so the husband is the head of the household. This is sacred calling and not a position of authority. Paul goes on to say; “So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord  the church.” (Ephesians 5:28-29) If a man held his position of ‘head of household’ and use it as a position of authority he would not love his wife.

Modern day Apostles and Prophets have spoken about this in a Proclamation that they wrote to the World; The Proclamation to the World, which reads;

“HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations…. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

Husbands and Wives are to work TOGETHER as EQUAL PARTNERS to raise a family and take care of one another. Husbands are given the responsibility to care for their families, while Wives are to provide motherly nourishment of young minds. No one is above another… and both are equally responsible.

Galatians 2

Galatians 2: Contending the True Gospel

Paul goes to Jerusalem (after he had been absent for 14 years) and preaches the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Church in Jerusalem had accepted Titus even though he was a uncircumcised Greek. Paul preaches that God favors no one. The leaders in Jerusalem (James, Cephas and John) accept the ministry of Paul and his preaching to the gentiles.

Paul publicly expresses his disapproval of Peter, because he had separated himself from the gentile Christians in that area. Paul has to remind Peter that the Gentiles are justified before God, not in their keeping of the law, but by the works they put forth in the name of Jesus Christ.