Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Beginning and the End


I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End.
Revelation 22:13

Jesus Christ is one Person fully human and fully divine, but as He enters and permeates time, we experience Him as He describes Himself to John the Revelator, as the Beginning and the End. Philosophers and theologians have written volumes about this, but I only want to say a few words about the Good News of Jesus Christ, which I believe also is experienced and works in us as the Beginning and the End.

The Good News ‘looks different’ when it is the Beginning. It is a word that could be written down: The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah… (Mark 1:1-2a)

The Good News is a word that could be spoken, that can be preached: Jesus went into Galilee. There He proclaimed the Good News from God. “The time has come,” He said, “and the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.”
(Mark 1:14b-15)

The Good News as the Beginning is what the Church through the ages and up till today has busied itself with, planting the seed of the Word, laying the foundations for the Kingdom, that which is the Good News as the End. It is just as necessary that the Good News should be the Beginning, as it should be the End. And though there is only one Good News, it ‘looks different’ when it is the End.

The first Christians evangelized the world by bringing to it the Good News, the Beginning: Remember the Good News that I carry, “Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David.”
(2 Timothy 2:8)

Yet even back then, the Good News, the End, was revealed: For I am not ashamed of the Good News: it is the power of God saving all who have faith. (Romans 1:16a)

The Beginning of the Good News was proclamation such as this:
“Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not be lost but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

The End of the Good News was demonstration such as this:
This has taught us love—that He gave up His life for us; and we, too, ought to give up our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:16)

The Good News, the Beginning, consists of transmitting the teaching of Jesus and the story of His saving acts: “I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to My voice.” (John 18:37b)

The Good News, the End, consists of Christ living in us and gathering His lambs into the Kingdom: Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were His in the world, and now He showed how perfect His love was. (John 13:1)

I’m not entirely sure that I have been able to express my meaning well. Let me try again.

The Good News, the Beginning, is doing all the explicit evangelizing, missionary work, church life, everything that lays foundations for the building up of the Kingdom in spirit and truth, which is itself the Good News, the End, of which it is said, it “is close at hand.”

The Good News, the End, is letting Christ in us do that which He alone is capable of doing: “You are the Light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lampstand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Our world, our culture, has been irradiated repeatedly and for a very long time with the Word of truth, and yet most people do not accept it, do not accept that Word which alone can save them—Jesus Christ. The same was true in the days of the Roman Empire. Yes, many were “added to their number,” through the preaching of the Good News, the Beginning. But back then, far more were added by their witnessing the holocaust of the martyrs, who went to their deaths without explicit preaching, who were transformed before the world by the love that they had, not only for their brothers, but for their enemies. That was the Good News, the End.

It is the demonstration of the Good News, the End, that is revealing Jesus to the world in this final age, effecting the true ‘end times harvest’ of saints.

Do not keep the prophecies in this Book a secret, because the Time is close. Meanwhile, let the sinner go on sinning, and the unclean to continue to be unclean; let those who do good go on doing good, and those who are holy continue to be holy. Very soon now I shall be with you again, bringing the reward to be given to every man according to what he deserves. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
(Revelation 22:10-13)

O Lord, my strength

My elders taught me, when I was a youth,
to cling to heaven and earth, lest I stumble.
For a long time I remained a child,
and for a long time I used to lean on the crutch that they gave me.

But once eternity flooded through me
and I felt like a stranger in the world,
heaven and earth snapped in two in my hands like a frail reed.

O Lord, my strength, how frail are heaven and earth!
They look like palaces built of lead,
but they evaporate like water
in the palm of the hand in Your presence.
Only by their bristling do they conceal their frailty,
and frighten uneducated children.

Get out of my sight, suns and stars.
Sunder yourselves from the earth.
Do not entice me, women and friends.
What help can I receive from you,
who are helplessly growing old and sinking into the grave?

All your gifts are an apple with a worm in its core.
All your potions have passed through someone's entrails many times.
Your garments are a cobweb that my nakedness mocks.
Your smiles are a proclamation of sorrow,
in which your feebleness is screaming to mine for help.

O Lord, my strength,
how feeble heaven and earth are!
And all the evil that men do under heaven
is an admission of feebleness and infirmity.

Only someone strong dares to do good.
Only someone who is nourished and watered with You,
my strength, is filled with strength for goodness.

Only someone who sleeps in Your heart knows rest.
Only someone who plows before Your feet
will enjoy the fruit of his labors.

My childhood, nourished with fear and ignorance,
came to an end; and my hope in heaven and earth vanished.

Now I only gaze at You and cling to Your gaze in return,
O my cradle and my resurrection.

Nikolaj Velimirović, bishop of Ohrid

“Remember who your teachers were…”

2 Timothy 3:14

The only measure of all things

The evangelical spirit of religious consciousness "blows where it will," but woe betide those ages and those peoples upon which it does not rest. And at the same time, blessed are they that walk in its paths—even those who know it not.

What is most characteristic of this path?
It is a desire to "Christify" all of life.
To a certain degree this notion can be contrasted to that which is understood not only by the term "enchurchment," but also the term "Christianization."

"Enchurchment"
is often taken to mean the placing of life within the framework of a certain rhythm of church piety, the subordination of one's personal life experience to the schedule of the cycle of divine services, the incorporation of certain specific elements of "churchliness" into one's way of life, even elements of the Church's ustav.

"Christianization," however, is generally understood as nothing more than the correction of the bestial cruelty of man's history through inoculation with a certain dose of Christian morality. And in addition to this it also includes the preaching of the Gospel to the whole world.

"Christification," however, is based on the words, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Galatians 2:20). The image of God, the icon of Christ, which truly is my real and actual essence or being, is the only measure of all things, the only path or way which is given to me. Each movement of my soul, each approach to God, to other people, to the world, is determined by the suitability of that act for reflecting the image of God which is within me.

If I am faced with two paths and I am in doubt, then even if all human wisdom, experience, and tradition point to one of these, but I feel that Christ would have followed the other—then all my doubts should immediately disappear, and I should choose to follow Christ in spite of all the experience, tradition and wisdom that are opposed to it.

— Mother Maria Skobtsova, Types of Religious Lives

“Remember who your teachers were…”

2 Timothy 3:14

The Apostolic Rule

The holy apostle Paul writes, ‘Be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this and study them as you used to study us’ (Philippians 3:17). The little manual which follows, entitled The Apostolic Rule, is the product of my first years as an adult Christian, when I was being grounded in the Word of God by reading it constantly every day. My bible was the Jerusalem Bible, first published in English in 1966, the work of the School of Biblical Studies in Jerusalem. I was drawn to this version because it was in modern English and charged with an energy that brought the words to life in a way that I had never experienced before. The use of the name Yahweh in the Old Testament made my contact with the Lord immediate and concrete and, strangely, unreligious. The way that the Old Testament apocryphal books are smoothly integrated into the Jerusalem Bible also appealed to me. Finally, the book of Psalms became my daily prayerbook, translated as they are with poetic rhythm and compelling imagery. Although I sometimes read The New English Bible, the Good News Bible, and The Living Bible, to gain further insight, the Jerusalem Bible continues to speak the Word of God to me with directness and clarity, and it is from this version that I collected the extracts that became The Apostolic Rule.

Speaking of the words of divine scripture, the Word of God declares in Psalm 19, that ‘more desirable than gold, even than the finest gold, His words are sweeter than honey, even than honey that drips from the comb. Thus Your servant is formed by them, observance brings great reward’ (Psalm 19:10-11). And further, in the prophet Isaiah, ‘I have not spoken in secret in some corner of a darkned land! I, the Lord, speak with directness! I express Myself with clarity!’ (Isaiah 45:19).

As I read the apostolic writings, the letters of Paul, of Peter, John, James the brother of the Lord, and Jude, it became clear to me that the rule of Christian life was contained in them. As I studied the epistles over and over, certain verses and passages began to stand out as powerful utterances and expressions of this rule. I copied them out in a little notebook and divided them into ‘chapters’ called by the name of the epistle where they were written, such as ‘The Roman Rule’ from the letter to the Romans. The verses found in Paul’s letters to individuals I grouped under the apostle’s name, as ‘The Pauline Rule,’ even though he also wrote letters to the churches. This is the plan I followed, harvesting powerful living words from every one of the epistles from Romans to Jude.

Now, please notice that I am not calling this manual ‘The Apostolic Rules’ in the plural, because it is not the following of rules that makes a Christian life. The ‘rule’ of Christian life referred to by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians is more like a ruler (or gauge, as we might call it today), a standard against which we compare our life, or perhaps a specific pattern on which we model our life. That seems to be what the apostle is trying to tell us.

The verses and passages that I collected in my notebook were therefore not normally expressed as ‘rules’ but rather in the form of (1) concrete commands, (2) definitions, (3) exhortations, and (4) reasons for behavior. The first four passages in ‘The Roman Rule’ are examples of exactly these forms.

Sometimes a verse is removed from its context because that part of the passage brings out the meaning better than does the whole. It should focus our attention on what is essential and suggest to us a plan of action. No comments clutter the text of the verses presented, because ‘the anointing He gave you teaches you everything’ (1 John 2:27).  It is important to remember that reading a manual like this one is never a substitute for studying the bible itself, in which we will always find the life-giving promises of the Word of God, who says, ‘If you make My word your home, you will indeed be My disciples’ (John 8:31). ‘And My Father will love you, and We shall come to you and make Our home with you’ (John 14:23).

Turning back to Psalm 19, we read, ‘The Law of Yahweh is perfect, new life for the soul; the decree of Yahweh is trustworthy, wisdom for the simple. The precepts of Yahweh are upright, joy for the heart; the commandment of Yahweh is clear, light for the eyes. The fear of Yahweh is pure, lasting for ever; the judgments of Yahweh are true, righteous every one, more desirable than gold, even than the finest gold; His words are sweeter than honey, even than honey that drips from the comb. Thus Your servant is formed by them, observance brings great reward. But who can detect his own failings? Wash out my hidden faults, and from pride preserve Your servant, never let it dominate me. So shall I be above reproach, free from grave sin. May the words of my mouth always find favor, and the whispering of my heart, in Your presence, Yahweh, my Rock, my Redeemer!’ (Psalm 19:7-14).

The Apostolic Rule — Passages pulled from all the epistles of the New Testament and organized by book, that reveal how simple and direct are the instructions that the apostles have left us about how to live the Christian life. Click HERE to download a PDF of the entire booklet (40 pages) which you can print out.


Romans

The teaching of holy apostle Paul…

Preach the obedience of faith to all pagan nations.
Romans 1:5

It is not listening to the Law but keeping it that will make people holy in the sight of God.
Romans 2:13

You must not let sin reign in your mortal bodies or command your obedience to bodily passions. You must not let any part of your body turn into an unholy weapon fighting on the side of sin. You should offer yourselves to God and consider yourselves dead men brought back to life. You should make every part of your body into a weapon fighting on the side of God. Then sin will no longer dominate your life, since you are living by grace and not by law.
Romans 6:12-14

There is no necessity for us to obey our unspiritual selves or to live unspiritual lives.
Romans 8:12

Everyone moved by the Spirit is a son of God. The Spirit you received is not the spirit of slaves bringing fear into your lives again. It is the spirit of sons, and it makes us cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit Himself and our spirit bear united witness that we are the children of God. And if we are children we are heirs as well, heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, sharing His sufferings so as to share His glory.
Romans 8:14-17

We must be content to hope that we shall be saved—our salvation is not in sight—we must hope to be saved since we are not saved yet. It is something we must wait for with patience.
Romans 8:24-25

Nothing can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of Him who loved us. Nothing that exists can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-39

The Word, that is, the faith that we proclaim, is very near you. It is on your lips and in your heart. If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord, and if you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous. By confessing with the lips you are saved. Everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.
Romans 10:8-13

Think of God’s mercy, and worship Him in a way that is worthy of thinking beings, by offering your bodies as a holy sacrifice, truly pleasing to God.
Romans 12:1

Do not model yourselves on the behavior of the world around you, but let your behavior change, modeled by your new mind. This is the only way to discover the will of God and know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do.
Romans 12:2

All of us, in union with Christ, form one body, and as parts of it we belong to each other. Our gifts differ according to the grace given us. If your gift is prophecy, then use it as your faith suggests; if administration, then use it for administration; if teaching, then use it for teaching. Let the preachers deliver sermons, the almsgivers give freely, the officials be diligent, and those who do works of mercy do them cheerfully.
Romans 12:5-8

Do not let your love be a pretense, but sincerely prefer good to evil. Love each other as much as brothers should, and have a profound respect for each other. Work for the Lord with untiring effort and with great earnestness of spirit. If you have hope, this will make you cheerful. Do not give up if trials come; and keep on praying. If any of the saints are in need, you must share with them; and you should make hospitality your special care.
Romans 12:9-13

Bless those who persecute you. Never curse them, bless them.
Romans 12:14

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and be sad with those in sorrow.
Romans 12:15

Treat everyone with equal kindness. Never be condescending, but make real friends with the poor.
Romans 12:16a

Do not allow yourself to become self-satisfied.
Romans 12:16b

Never repay evil with evil, but let everyone see that you are interested only in the highest ideals.
Romans 12:17

Do all that you can to live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

Resist evil and conquer it with good.
Romans 12:21

You must all obey the government authorities.
Romans 13:1

Avoid getting into debt, except the debt of mutual love. If you love your fellow men you have carried out your obligations.
Romans 13:8

You know “the time” has come. You must wake up now. Our salvation is even nearer than it was when we were converted. The night is almost over, it will be daylight soon. Let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark. Let us arm ourselves and appear in the light.
Romans 13:11-12

Let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling and jealousy.
Romans 13:13

Let your armor be the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 13:14a

Forget about satisfying your bodies with all their cravings.
Romans 13:14b

If a person’s faith is not strong enough, welcome him all the same without starting an argument.
Romans 14:1

It is not for you to condemn someone else’s servant. Whether he stands or falls, it is his own master’s business. He will stand, you may be sure, because the Lord has power to make him stand.
Romans 14:4

If one man keeps certain days as holier than others, and another considers all days to be equally holy, each must be left free to hold his own opinion.
Romans 14:5

You should never pass judgment on a brother or treat him with contempt. We shall have to stand before the judgment seat of God.
Romans 14:10

Far from passing judgment on each other, you should make up your mind never to be the cause of your brother tripping or falling.
Romans 14:13

The Kingdom of God does not mean eating or drinking this or that, it means righteousness and peace and joy brought by the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ in this way you will please God and be respected by men. So let us adopt any custom that leads to peace and our mutual improvement. Do not wreck God’s work over a question of food.
Romans 14:17-20

Every act done in bad faith is a sin.
Romans 14:23b

We who are strong have a duty to put up with the qualms of the weak without thinking of ourselves. Each of us should think of his neighbors and help them to become stronger Christians.
Romans 15:1-2

Be tolerant with each other, following the example of Christ Jesus, so that united in mind and voice you may give glory to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 15:5b-6

Treat each other in the same friendly way as Christ treated you.
Romans 15:7

Be on your guard against anybody who encourages trouble or puts difficulties in the way of the doctrine you have been taught. Avoid them.
Romans 16:17

All texts are taken from the Jerusalem Bible (1966).

Corinthians

The teaching of holy apostle Paul…

Pray to our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:2

Never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:4

Make up the differences between you, and instead of disagreeing among yourselves, be united in your belief and practice.
1 Corinthians 1:10

Instead of the spirit of the world, we have received the Spirit that comes from God, to teach us to understand the gifts He has given us. Therefore we teach not in the way in which philosophy is taught, but in the way that the Spirit teaches us. We teach spiritual things spiritually.
1 Corinthians 2:12-13

The temple of God is sacred, and you are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:17

There must be no passing of premature judgment. Leave that until the Lord comes.
1 Corinthians 4:5

Keep to what is written.
1 Corinthians 4:6

The Kingdom of God is not just words, it is power.
1 Corinthians 4:20

You should not associate with a brother Christian who is leading an immoral life, or is a usurer, or idolatrous, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or is dishonest. You should not even eat a meal with people like that.
1 Corinthians 5:11

How dare one of your members take up a complaint against another in the law courts of the unjust instead of before the saints! As you know, it is the saints who are to judge the world; and if the world is to be judged by you, how can you be unfit to judge trifling cases? Since we are also to judge angels, it follows that we can judge matters of everyday life.
1 Corinthians 6:1-3

You know perfectly well that people who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God: people of immoral lives, idolators, adulterers, catamites, sodomites, thieves, usurers, drunkards, slanderers and swindlers will never inherit the Kingdom of God. These are the sort of people some of you were once, but now you have been washed clean, and sanctified, and justified through the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ and through the Spirit of our God.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11

Keep away from fornication. All the other sins are committed outside the body, but to fornicate is to sin against your own body.
1 Corinthians 6:18

Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You are not your own property. You have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Let each man have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. The husband must give his wife what she has the right to expect, and so too the wife to the husband. The wife has no rights over her own body; it is the husband who has them. In the same way, the husband has no rights over his own body; the wife has them. Do not refuse each other except by mutual consent, and then only for an agreed time, to leave yourselves free for prayer. Then come together again in case Satan should take advantage of your weakness to tempt you.
1 Corinthians 7:2-5

A wife must not leave her husband, or if she does leave him, she must either remain unmarried or else make it up with her husband. Nor must a husband send his wife away.
1 Corinthians 7:10b-11

If a brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she is content to live with him, he must not send her away; and if a woman has an unbeliever for her husband, and he is content to live with her, she must not leave him. This is because the unbelieving husband is made one with the saints through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made one with the saints through her husband. However, if the unbelieving partner does not consent, they may separate. In these circumstances, the brother or sister is not tied. God has called you to a life of peace. If you are a wife, it may be your part to save your husband. If a husband, it may be your part to save your wife.
1 Corinthians 7:12-16

What each one has is what the Lord has given him, and he should continue as he was when God’s call reached him.
1 Corinthians 7:17

Let everyone stay as he was at the time of his call. If, when you were called, you were a slave, do not let this bother you. But if you should have the chance of being free, accept it.
1 Corinthians 7:20-21

You have all been bought and paid for. Do not be slaves of other men.
1 Corinthians 7:23

We all have knowledge. Yes, that is so, but knowledge gives self-importance. It is love that makes the building grow. A man may imagine that he understands something, but still not understand anything in the way he ought to. But any man who loves God is known by Him.
1 Corinthians 8:1-3

The man who thinks he is safe must be careful that he does not fall. The trials that you have had to bear are no more than people normally have. You can trust God to not let you be tried beyond your strength, and with any trial He will give you a way out of it and the strength to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13

For me there are no forbidden things, but not everything does good. True, there are no forbidden things, but it is not everything that helps the building to grow.
1 Corinthians 10:23

Nobody should be looking for his own advantage, but everybody for the other man’s.
1 Corinthians 10:24

Whatever you eat, whatever you drink, whatever you do at all, do it for the glory of God. Never do anything offensive to anyone.
1 Corinthians 10:31-32

No one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” unless he is under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
1 Corinthians 12:3b

Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love does not come to an end.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

You are not to be childish in your outlook. You can be babies as far as wickedness is concerned, but mentally you must be adult.
1 Corinthians 14:20

By all means be ambitious to prophesy, do not suppress the gift of tongues, but let everything be done with propriety and in order.
1 Corinthians 14:39-40

The gospel will save you only if you keep believing what was preached to you. Believing anything else will not lead to anything.
1 Corinthians 15:2

Never give in, never admit defeat. Keep on working at the Lord’s work always, knowing that in the Lord you cannot be laboring in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:58

Be awake to all the dangers. Stay firm in the faith. Be brave and be strong. Let everything you do be done in love.
1 Corinthians 16:13-14

We are Christ’s incense to God for those who are being saved and for those who are not. For the last, the smell of death that leads to death, for the first the sweet smell of life that leads to life.
2 Corinthians 2:15-16a

We do not go around offering the Word of God for sale, as many other people do. In Christ, we speak as men of sincerity, as envoys of God and in God’s presence.
2 Corinthians 2:17

We with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the Image that we reflect.
2 Corinthians 3:18

The troubles which are soon over, though they weigh little, train us for the carrying of a weight of eternal glory which is out of all proportion to them.
2 Corinthians 4:17

From now onward we do not judge anyone by the standards of the flesh. Even if we did once know Christ in the flesh, that is not how we know him now. For anyone who is in Christ, there is a new creation. The old creation has gone, and now the new one is here. It is all God’s work.
2 Corinthians 5:16-18a

It was God who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the work of handing on this reconciliation. God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself, not holding men’s faults against them, and He has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled.
2 Corinthians 5:18b-19

We are ambassadors for Christ. It is as though God were appealing through us, and the appeal that we make in Christ’s Name is: Be reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:20

For our sake God made the sinless One into sin, so that in Him we might become the goodness of God. As His fellow workers, we beg you not to neglect the grace of God that you have received.
2 Corinthians 5:21-6:1

We do nothing that people might object to, so as not to bring discredit on our function as Christ’s servants. We prove we are servants of God by great fortitude in times of suffering, in times of hardship and distress. We prove we are God’s servants by our purity, knowledge, patience, and kindness, by a spirit of holiness, by a love free from affectation, by the word of truth and by the power of God.
2 Corinthians 6:3-7a

Do not harness yourselves in an uneven team with unbelievers. Virtue is no companion for crime. Light and darkness have nothing in common. Christ is not the ally of Belial, nor has a believer anything to share with an unbeliever.
2 Corinthians 6:14-15

To suffer in God’s way means changing for the better and leaves no regrets, but to suffer as the world knows suffering brings death.
2 Corinthians 7:10

As long as the readiness is there, a man is acceptable with whatever he can afford. Never mind what is beyond his means. This does not mean that to give relief to others you ought to make things difficult for yourselves. It is a question of balancing what happens to be your surplus now against their present need, and one day they may have something to spare that will supply your own need. That is how we strike a balance.
2 Corinthians 8:12-14

We live in the flesh, but the muscles that we fight with are not flesh. Our war is not fought with weapons of flesh, yet they are strong enough in God’s cause to demolish fortresses. We demolish sophistries and the arrogance that tries to resist the knowledge of God. Every thought is our prisoner, captured to be brought into obedience to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5

Examine yourselves to make sure you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Acknowledge that Jesus Christ is really in you.
2 Corinthians 13:5

Try to grow perfect. Help one another. Be united. Live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11

All texts are taken from the Jerusalem Bible (1966).

Galatians

The teaching of holy apostle Paul…

If anyone preaches a version of the Good News different from the one we have already preached to you, whether it be ourselves or an angel from heaven, he is to be condemned. If anyone preaches a version of the Good News different from the one you have already heard, he is to be condemned.
Galatians 1:8-9

The Good News is not a human message given by men. It is something learned only through a revelation of Jesus Christ.
Galatians 1:11-12

All baptised in Christ, you have all clothed yourselves in Christ, and there are no more distinctions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus.
Galatians 3:27-28

When Christ freed us, He meant us to remain free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

You were called to liberty, but be careful or this liberty will provide an opening for self-indulgence.
Galatians 5:13

Serve one another in works of love, since the whole Law is summarised in a single command: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Galatians 5:14

If you are guided by the Spirit you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence, since self-indulgence is the opposite of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:16

When self-indulgence is at work the results are obvious: fornication, gross indecency and sexual irresponsibility, idolatry and sorcery, feuds and wrangling, jealousy, bad temper and quarrels, disagreements, factions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and similar things. Those who behave like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God. What the Spirit brings is very different: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. There can be no law against things like that.
Galatians 5:19-23

Since the Spirit is our life, let us be directed by the Spirit. We must stop being conceited, provocative and envious.
Galatians 5:25-26

If one of you misbehaves, the more spiritual of you who set him right should do so in a spirit of gentleness, not forgetting that you may be tempted yourselves.
Galatians 6:1

You should carry each other’s troubles and fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

Don’t delude yourself into thinking God can be cheated: where a man sows, there he reaps.
Galatians 6:7

We must never get tired of doing good because if we don’t give up the struggle we shall get our harvest at the proper time. While we have the chance, we must do good to all, and especially to our brothers in the faith.
Galatians 6:9-10

All texts are taken from the Jerusalem Bible (1966).

Ephesians

The teaching of holy apostle Paul…

Before the world was made He chose us in Christ to be holy and spotless and to live through love in His presence, determining that we should become His adopted sons, through Jesus Christ for His own kind purposes, to make us praise the glory of His grace, His free gift to us in the Beloved in whom, through His blood, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.
Ephesians 1:4-7

You have heard the message of the Truth and the Good News of your salvation and have believed it, and you have been stamped with the seal of the Holy Spirit of the Promise, the pledge of our inheritance which brings freedom for those whom God has taken for His own, to make His glory praised.
Ephesians 1:13-14

May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give you a spirit of wisdom and perception of what is revealed, to bring you to full knowledge of Him. May He enlighten the eyes of your mind so that you can see what hope His call holds for you, what rich glories He has promised the saints will inherit and how infinitely great is the power that He has exercised for us believers.
Ephesians 1:17-19

Far above every Sovereignty, Authority, Power, or Domination, or any other name that can be named, not only in this age but also in the age to come, He has put all things under His feet and made Him, as the ruler of everything, the Head of the Church, which is His Body, the fullness of Him who fills the whole creation.
Ephesians 1:21-23

It is by grace that you have been saved, through faith, not by anything of your own but by a gift from God, not by anything that you have done, so that nobody can claim the credit.
Ephesians 2:8-9

We are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus to live the good life as from the beginning He had meant us to live it.
Ephesians 2:10

You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors. You are citizens like all the saints and part of God’s household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations and Christ Jesus Himself for its main cornerstone. As every structure is aligned on Him, all grow into one holy temple in the Lord, and you too, in Him, are being built into a house where God lives, in the Spirit.
Ephesians 2:19-22

Pray, kneeling before the Father.
Ephesians 3:14

Lead a life worthy of your vocation.
Ephesians 4:1

Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness, and patience.
Ephesians 4:2

Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together.
Ephesians 4:3

There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all, and within all.
Ephesians 4:4-7

If we live by the truth and in love, we shall grow in all ways into Christ who is the Head by whom the whole Body is fitted and joined together, every joint adding its own strength, for each separate part to work according to its function. So the Body grows until it has built itself up, in love.
Ephesians 4:15-16

You must give up your old way of life. You must put aside your old self which gets corrupted by following illusory desires. Your mind must be renewed by a spiritual revolution, so that you can put on the new self that has been created in God’s way, in the goodness and holiness of the truth.
Ephesians 4:22-24

From now on, there must be no more lies. You must speak the truth to one another, since we are all parts of one another.
Ephesians 4:25

Even if you are angry, you must not sin. Never let the sun set on your anger, or else you will give the devil a foothold.
Ephesians 4:26-27

Anyone who was a thief must stop stealing. He should try to find some useful manual work instead and be able to do some good by helping others that are in need.
Ephesians 4:28

Guard against foul talk. Let your words be for the improvement of others, as occasion offers, and do good to your listeners. Otherwise you will only be grieving the Holy Spirit of God who has marked you with His seal for you to be set free when the day comes.
Ephesians 4:29-30

Never have grudges against others, or lose your temper, or raise your voice to anybody, or call each other names, or allow any sort of spitefulness.
Ephesians 4:31

Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.
Ephesians 4:32

Try to imitate God, as children of His that He loves, and follow Christ by loving as He loved you, giving Himself up in our place as a fragrant offering and a sacrifice to God.
Ephesians 5:1-2

Among you there must be not even a mention of fornication or impurity in any of its forms, or promiscuity.
Ephesians 5:3

There must be no coarseness or salacious talk and jokes. All this is wrong for you. Raise your voices in thanksgiving instead.
Ephesians 5:4

You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord. Be like children of light, for the effects of the light are seen in complete goodness and right living and truth.
Ephesians 5:8-9

Try to discover what the Lord wants of you, having nothing to do with the futile works of darkness but exposing them by contrast.
Ephesians 5:10-11

Be very careful about the sort of lives you lead. This may be a wicked age, but your lives should redeem it. Do not be thoughtless, but recognise what is the will of the Lord.
Ephesians 5:15-17

Do not drug yourselves with wine. This is simply dissipation. Be filled with the Spirit.
Ephesians 5:18

Sing the words and tunes of the psalms and hymns when you are together, and go on singing and chanting to the Lord in your hearts, so that always and everywhere you are giving thanks to God, who is our Father in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 5:19-20

Give way to one another in obedience to Christ.
Ephesians 5:21

Wives should regard their husbands as they regard the Lord, since as Christ is head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife, and as the Church submits to Christ, so should wives to their husbands, in everything.
Ephesians 5:22-24

Husbands should love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and sacrificed Himself for her to make her holy.
Ephesians 5:25-26a

Each one of you must love his wife as he loves himself, and let every wife be subject to her husband.
Ephesians 5:33

Children, be obedient to your parents in the Lord, that is your duty.
Ephesians 6:1

Parents, never drive your children to resentment, but in bringing them up correct them and guide them, as the Lord does.
Ephesians 6:4

Slaves, be obedient to the men who are called your masters in this world, with deep respect and sincere loyalty, as you are obedient to Christ, not only when you are under their eye, as if you had only to please men, but because you are slaves of Christ and wholeheartedly do the will of God. Work hard and willingly, but do it for the sake of the Lord and not for the sake of men.
Ephesians 6:5-7

Grow strong in the Lord, with the strength of His power. Put God’s armor on so as to be able to resist the devil’s tactics.
Ephesians 6:10-11

It is not against human enemies that we have to struggle, but against the Sovereignties and the Powers who originate the darkness in this world, the spiritual army of evil in the heavens.
Ephesians 6:12

You must rely on God’s armor or you will not be able to put up any resistance when the worst happens, or have enough resources to hold your ground.
Ephesians 6:13

Stand your ground with Truth buckled around your waist, and Integrity for a breastplate, wearing for shoes on your feet the Eagerness to spread the Gospel of Peace, and always carrying the shield of Faith, so that you can use it to put out the burning arrows of the evil one. You must accept Salvation from God to be your helmet, and receive the Word of God from the Spirit to use as a sword.
Ephesians 6:14-17

Pray all the time, asking for what you need, praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion.
Ephesians 6:18

All texts are taken from the Jerusalem Bible (1966).

Philippians

The teaching of holy apostle Paul…

The One who began this good work in you will see that it is finished when the Day of Christ Jesus comes.
Philippians 1:6b

My one hope and trust is that I shall never have to admit defeat, but that now as always I shall have the courage for Christ to be glorified in my body.
Philippians 1:20

Avoid anything in your everyday lives that would be unworthy of the Gospel of Christ.
Philippians 1:27

He has given you the privelege not only of believing in Christ but of suffering for Him as well.
Philippians 1:29

Be united in your convictions and united in your love, with a common purpose and a common mind.
Philippians 2:2

There must be no competition among you, no conceit. Everybody is to be self-effacing. Always consider the other person to be better than yourself, so that nobody thinks of his own interests first, but everybody thinks of other people’s interests instead. In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2:3-5

Work for your salvation in fear and trembling. It is God who puts both the will and the action into you.
Philippians 2:12b-13

Do all that has to be done without complaining or arguing, and then you will be innocent and genuine, perfect children of God among a deceitful and underhand brood, and you will shine in the world like bright stars because you are offering it the Word of Life.
Philippians 2:14-16

Rejoice in the Lord.
Philippians 3:1

I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For Him I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in Him. I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, but I want only the perfection that comes through faith in Christ and is from God and based on faith. All I want is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and to share His sufferings by reproducing the pattern of His death. That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I am far from thinking that I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come. I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upward to receive in Christ Jesus. We who are called “perfect” must all think in this way.
Philippians 3:8-15

Be united in following my rule of life. Take as your models everybody who is already doing this and study them as you used to study us.
Philippians 3:17

For us our homeland is in heaven, and from heaven comes the Savior we are waiting for, the Lord Jesus Christ. He will transfigure these wretched bodies of ours into copies of His glorious body. He will do that by the same power with which He can subdue the whole universe.
Philippians 3:20-21

Do not give way, but remain faithful in the Lord.
Philippians 4:1

Be happy, always happy in the Lord.
Philippians 4:4

Let your tolerance be evident to everyone.
Philippians 4:5a

The Lord is very near. There is no need to worry. If there is anything you need, pray for it, asking God for it with prayer and thanksgiving.
Philippians 4:5b-6

Fill your minds with everything that is true, everything that is noble, everything that is good and pure, everything that we love and honor, and everything that can be thought virtuous or worthy of praise.
Philippians 4:8

I have learned to manage on whatever I have. I know how to be poor, and I know how to be rich too. I have been through my initiation and now I am ready for anything anywhere: full stomach or empty stomach, poverty or plenty. There is nothing I cannot master with the help of the One who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:11-13

All texts are taken from the Jerusalem Bible (1966).

Colossians

The teaching of holy apostle Paul…

You will be able to lead the kind of life which the Lord expects of you, a life acceptable to Him in all its aspects, showing the results in all the good actions you do and increasing your knowledge of God. You will have in you the strength never to give in, but to bear anything joyfully, thanking the Father who made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light.
Colossians 1:10-12

He has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the Kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.
Colossians 1:13-14

The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory. This is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ.
Colossians 1:27-28

Make sure that no one deceives you with specious arguments.
Colossians 2:4

You must live your whole life according to the Christ you have received, Jesus the Lord. You must be rooted in Him and built on Him and held firm by the faith you have been taught, and full of thanksgiving.
Colossians 2:6-7

Make sure that no one traps you and deprives you of your freedom by some secondhand, empty, rational philosophy based on the principles of this world instead of on Christ.
Colossians 2:8

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven where Christ is sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth.
Colossians 3:1-2

You must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires, and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god. All this is the sort of behavior that makes God angry.
Colossians 3:5-6

You must give all these things up: getting angry, being bad-tempered, spitefulness, abusive language and dirty talk, and never tell each other lies.
Colossians 3:8-9a

You have stripped off your old behavior with your old self, and you have put on a new self which will progress toward true knowledge the more it is renewed in the Image of its Creator. In that Image there is no room for distinction. There is only Christ. He is everything, and He is in everything.
Colossians 3:9b-11

You are God’s chosen race, His saints. He loves you. You should be clothed in sincere compassion, in kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another. Forgive each other as soon as a quarrel begins. The Lord has forgiven you. Now you must do the same. Over all these clothes to keep them together and complete them, put on love. And may the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, because it is for this that you were called together as parts of one body. Always be thankful.
Colossians 3:12-15

Let the message of Christ in all its richness find a home with you. Teach each other and advise each other in all wisdom. With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God. Never say or do anything except in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
Colossians 3:16-17

Wives, give way to your husbands, as you should in the Lord.
Colossians 3:18

Husbands, love your wives and treat them with gentleness.
Colossians 3:19

Children, be obedient to your parents always, because that is what will please the Lord.
Colossians 3:20

Parents, never drive your children to resentment or you will make them feel frustrated.
Colossians 3:21

Whatever your work is, put your heart into it as if it were for the Lord and not for men, knowing that the Lord will repay you by making you His heirs. It is Christ the Lord that you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

Be persevering in your prayers and be thankful as you stay awake to pray.
Colossians 4:2

Be tactful with those who are not Christians and be sure you make the best use of your time with them. Talk to them agreeably and with a flavor of wit, and try to fit your answers to the needs of each one.
Colossians 4:5-6

All texts are taken from the Jerusalem Bible (1966).

Thessalonians

The teaching of holy apostle Paul…

We know that God loves you and that you have been chosen because when we brought the Good News to you, it came to you not only as words, but as power, and as the Holy Spirit, and as utter conviction.
You observed the sort of life we lived when we were with you, which was for your instruction, and you were led to become imitators of us and of the Lord, and it was with the joy of the Holy Spirit that you took to the Gospel.
1 Thessalonians 1:4-6

As soon as you heard the message we brought you as God’s message, you accepted it for what it really is, God’s message and not some human thinking, and it is still a living power among you who believe it.
1 Thessalonians 2:13

What God wants is for you all to be holy.
He wants you to keep away from fornication, and each one of you to know how to use the body that belongs to him in a way that is holy and honorable, not giving way to selfish lust like the pagans who do not know God.
He wants nobody at all ever to sin by taking advantage of a brother in these matters.
We have been called by God to be holy, not to be immoral.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-7

Give encouragement to each other and keep strengthening each other.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

Be considerate to those who are working among you and are above you in the Lord as your teachers. Have the greatest respect and affection for them because of their work.
1 Thessalonians 5:12-13

Be at peace among yourselves.
Warn the idlers.
Give courage to those who are apprehensive.
Care for the weak and be patient with everyone.
Make sure that people do not try to take revenge.
You must all think of what is best for each other and for the community.
Be happy at all times.
Pray constantly, and for all things give thanks to God.
This is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.
Never try to suppress the Spirit or treat the gift of prophecy with contempt.
Think before you do anything.
Hold on to what is good and avoid every form of evil.
1 Thessalonians 5:14-22

God chose you from the beginning to be saved by the sanctifying Spirit and by faith in the truth.
2 Thessalonians 2:13b

Stand firm, and keep the traditions we taught you whether by word of mouth or by letter.
2 Thessalonians 2:15

Pray that the Lord’s message may spread quickly and be received with honor.
2 Thessalonians 3:1

Keep away from any of the brothers who refuses to work or to live according to the tradition.
2 Thessalonians 3:6

Never grow tired of doing what is right.
If anyone refuses to obey, have nothing to do with him, so that he will feel that he is in the wrong, though you are not to regard him as an enemy, but as a brother in need of correction.
2 Thessalonians 3:13-15

All texts are taken from the Jerusalem Bible (1966).

Disciples

The teaching of holy apostle Paul…

Insist that people stop teaching strange doctrines and taking notice of myths and endless geneologies; these things are only likely to raise irrelevant doubts instead of furthering the designs of God which are revealed in faith.
1 Timothy 1:3b-4

The only purpose of this instruction is that there should be love, coming out of a pure heart, and clear conscience, and a sincere faith. There are some people who have gone off the straight course and taken a path that leads to empty speculation.
1 Timothy 1:5-6

Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
1 Timothy 1:15

Fight like a good soldier with faith and a good conscience for your weapons. Some people have put conscience aside and wrecked their faith in consequence.
1 Timothy 1:18b-19

There should be prayers offered for everyone—petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving—and especially for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet. To do this is right and will please God our Savior: He wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:1-4

The Spirit has explicitly said that during the last times there will be some who will desert the faith and choose to listen to deceitful spirits and doctrines that come from devils; and the cause of this is the lies told by hypocrites whose consciences are branded as though with a red-hot iron.
1 Timothy 4:1-2

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales. Train yourself spiritually. Physical exercises are useful enough, but the usefulness of spirituality is unlimited, since it holds out the reward of life here and now, and of the future life as well.
1 Timothy 4:7-8

The point of all our toiling and battling is that we have put our trust in the living God, and He is the Savior of the whole human race, but particularly of all believers.
1 Timothy 4:10

Be an example to all the believers in the way you speak and behave, and in your love, your faith, and your purity. Make use of the time by reading to the people, preaching and teaching.
1 Timothy 4:12-13

Take great care about what you do and what you teach; always do this, and in this way you will save both yourself and those who listen to you.
1 Timothy 4:16

Anyone who does not look after his own relations, especially if they are living with him, has rejected the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
1 Timothy 5:8

Never make yourself an accomplice in anybody else’s sin. Keep yourself pure.
1 Timothy 5:22b

Anyone who teaches anything different and does not keep to the sound teaching which is that of our Lord Jesus Christ, the doctrine which is in accordance with true religion, is simply ignorant and must be full of self-conceit, with a craze for questioning everything and arguing about words. All that can come of this is jealousy, contention, abuse and wicked mistrust of one another, and unending disputes by people who are neither rational nor informed and imagine that religion is a way of making money.
1 Timothy 6:3-5

We brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. As long as we have food and clothing, let us be content with that. People who long to be rich are a prey to temptation. They get trapped into all sorts of foolish and dangerous ambitions which eventually plunge them into ruin and destruction. The love of money is the root of all evils, and there are some who pursuing it have wandered away from the faith.
1 Timothy 6:7-10a

Aim to be saintly and religious, filled with faith and love, patient and gentle.
1 Timothy 6:11

Warn those who are rich in this world’s goods that they are not to look down on other people and not to set their hopes on money which is untrustworthy, but on God who out of His riches gives us all we need for our happiness. Tell them that they are to do good and be rich in good works, to be generous and willing to share.
1 Timothy 6:17-18

Have nothing to do with the pointless philosophical discussions and antagonistic beliefs of the “knowledge” which is no knowledge at all.
1 Timothy 6:20

God’s gift is not a spirit of timidity, but the Spirit of power and love and self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7

You are never to be ashamed of witnessing to the Lord.
2 Timothy 1:8a

God has saved us and called us to be holy, not because of anything we ourselves have done, but for His own purpose and by His own grace.
2 Timothy 1:9

Keep as your pattern the sound teaching, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. You have been trusted to look after something precious. Guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
2 Timothy 1:13-14

Accept the strength that comes from the grace of Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:1

You have heard everything. Hand it on to reliable people so that they in turn will be able to teach others.
2 Timothy 2:2

Put up with your share of difficulties like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 2:3

Remember the Good News: Jesus Christ risen from the dead.
2 Timothy 2:8

If we have died with Him, then we shall live with Him.
If we hold firm, then we shall reign with Him.
If we disown Him, then He will disown us.
We may be unfaithful, but He is always Faithful, for He cannot disown
His own self.
2 Timothy 2:11b-13

There is to be no wrangling about words: all that this ever achieves is the destruction of those who are listening.
2 Timothy 2:14

Have nothing to do with pointless philosophical discussions. They only lead further and further away from the true religion. Talk of this kind corrodes like gangrene.
2 Timothy 2:16-17

God’s solid foundation stone is still in position, and this is the inscription on it: “The Lord knows those who are His own,” and “All who call on the Name of the Lord must avoid sin.”
2 Timothy 2:19

Instead of giving in to your impulses, fasten your attention on holiness, faith, love, and peace, in union with all those who call on the Lord with pure minds.
2 Timothy 2:22

Avoid futile and silly speculations, understanding that they only give rise to quarrels. A servant of the Lord is not to engage in quarrels but has to be kind to everyone, a good teacher, and patient. He has to be gentle when he corrects people who dispute what he says, never forgetting that God may give them a change of mind so that they recognise the truth and come to their senses, once out of the trap where the devil caught them and kept them enslaved.
2 Timothy 2:23-26

You may be quite sure that in the last days there are going to be some difficult times. People will be self-centred and grasping, boastful, arrogant, and rude, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, heartless and unappeasable. They will be slanderers, profligates, savages, and enemies of everything that is good. They will be treacherous and reckless and demented by pride, preferring their own pleasure to God. They will keep up the outward appearance of religion but will have rejected the inner power of it. Have nothing to do with people like that.
2 Timothy 3:1-5

Anybody who tries to live in devotion to Christ is certain to be attacked.
2 Timothy 3:12

You must keep to what you have been taught and know to be true. Remember who your teachers were.
2 Timothy 3:14

All Scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy.
2 Timothy 3:16

Before God and before Christ Jesus who is to be Judge of the living and the dead, in the name of his Appearing and of his Kingdom: Proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it. Refute falsehood, correct error, call to obedience. Do all with patience and the intention of teaching. Be careful always to choose the right course. Be brave under trials. Make the preaching of the Good News your life’s work in thoroughgoing service.
2 Timothy 4:1-2, 5

Bring those whom God has chosen to faith and to the knowledge of the truth that leads to true religion, and give them the hope of the eternal life that was promised long ago by God, who does not lie.
Titus 1:1b-2

Have a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition.
Titus 1:9a

To all who are pure themselves, everything is pure; but to those who have been corrupted and lack faith, nothing can be pure.
Titus 1:15

Preach the behavior which goes with healthy doctrine.
Titus 2:1

In everything you do, make yourself an example of working for good.
Titus 2:7

When you are teaching be an example in your sincerity and earnestness, and in keeping all that you say so wholesome that nobody can make objections to it.
Titus 2:8

There must be no petty thieving. Show complete honesty at all times.
Titus 2:10a

God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race, and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everthing that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions. We must be self-restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world while we are waiting for the blessing which will come with the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus. He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be His very own and would have no ambition except to do good.
Titus 2:11-14

Be ready to do good at every opportunity.
Titus 3:1b

Be courteous and polite to all kinds of people. Remember, there was a time when we too were ignorant, disobedient, and misled and enslaved by different passions and luxuries.
Titus 3:2b-3a

If a man disputes what you teach, then after a first and a second warning, have no more to do with him.
Titus 3:10

Faith will give rise to a sense of fellowship that will show you all the good things that we are able to do for Christ.
Philemon 1:6

All texts are taken from the Jerusalem Bible (1966).

Hebrews

The teaching of the holy apostles…

Take care, brothers, that there is not in anyone of your community a wicked mind, so unbelieving as to turn away from the living God.
Hebrews 3:12

Every day keep encouraging one another so that none of you is hardened by the lure of sin.
Hebrews 3:13

We shall remain coheirs with Christ only if we keep a grasp on our first confidence right to the end.
Hebrews 3:14

The Word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely; it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from Him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the One to whom we must give an account of ourselves.
Hebrews 4:12-13

We must never let go of the faith that we have professed.
Hebrews 4:14b

Be confident in approaching the throne of grace. We shall have mercy from Him and find grace when we are in need of help.
Hebrews 4:16

Through the blood of Jesus we have the right to enter the sanctuary by a new way which He has opened for us, a living opening through the curtain, His body.
Hebrews 10:19b-20

Let us be sincere in heart and filled with faith, our minds sprinkled and free from any trace of bad conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us keep firm in the faith we profess, because the One who made the promise is faithful.
Hebrews 10:22-23

Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works.
Hebrews 10:24

Do not stay away from the meetings of the community, as some do, but encourage each other to go; the more so as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:25

Only faith can guarantee the blessings that we hope for or prove the existence of the realities that at present remain unseen. It was for faith that our ancestors were commended.
Hebrews 11:1-2

With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we too, then, should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily the race we have started.
Hebrews 12:1

Let us not lose sight of Jesus who leads us in our faith and brings it to perfection.
Hebrews 12:2

Think of the way He stood such opposition from sinners and then you will not give up for want of courage. In the fight against sin you have not yet had to keep fighting to the point of death.
Hebrews 12:3-4

When the Lord corrects you, do not treat it lightly; but do not get discouraged when He reprimands you. The Lord trains the ones that He loves and He punishes all those that He acknowledges as his sons. Suffering is part of your training; God is treating you as His sons.
Hebrews 12:5b-7a

Always be wanting peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one can ever see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14

Be careful that no one is deprived of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness should begin to grow and make trouble; this can poison a whole community.
Hebrews 12:15

Be careful that there is no immorality, or that anyone of you does not degrade religion like Esau, who sold his birthright for one single meal.
Hebrews 12:16

What you have come to is nothing known to the senses: not a blazing fire, or a gloom turning to total darkness, or a storm, or trumpeting thunder, or the great voice speaking which made everyone that heard it beg that no more should be said to them.
Hebrews 12:18-19

What you have come to is Mount Zion and the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the festival, with the whole Church in which everyone is a first-born son and a citizen of heaven. You have come to God Himself, the supreme Judge, and been placed with the spirits of the saints who have been made perfect; and to Jesus the Mediator who brings a new covenant and a blood for purification which pleads more insistently than Abel’s. Make sure that you never refuse to listen when He speaks.
Hebrews 12:22-25a

We have been given possession of an unshakable Kingdom. Let us therefore hold on to the grace that we have been given and use it to worship God in the way that he finds acceptable, in reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28-29

Continue to love each other like brothers and remember always to welcome strangers, for by doing this some people have entertained angels without knowing it.
Hebrews 13:1-2

Keep in mind those who are in prison as though you were in prison with them; and those who are being badly treated, since you too are in one body.
Hebrews 13:3

Marriage is to be honored by all, and marriages are to be kept undefiled, because fornicators and adulterers will come under God’s judgment.
Hebrews 13:4

Put greed out of your lives and be content with whatever you have.
Hebrews 13:5a

Remember your leaders who preach the Word of God to you and, as you reflect on the outcome of their lives, imitate their faith.
Hebrews 13:7

Jesus Christ is the same today as He was yesterday and as He will be forever. Do not let yourselves be led astray by all sorts of strange doctrines.
Hebrews 13:8-9a

Jesus suffered outside the gate to sanctify the people with His own blood. Let us go to Him outside the camp and share His degradation. For there is no eternal city for us in this life, but we look for one in the life to come. Through Him let us offer God an unending sacrifice of praise, a verbal sacrifice every time we acknowledge His Name.
Hebrews 13:12-15

Keep doing good works and sharing your resources, for these are sacrifices that please God.
Hebrews 13:16

Obey your leaders and do as they tell you, because they must give an account of the way they look after your souls. Make this a joy for them to do and not a grief. You yourselves would be the losers.
Hebrews 13:17

All texts are taken from the Jerusalem Bible (1966).

Living in Love

The teaching of holy apostle James, the Lord's brother…

You will always have your trials but, when they come, try to treat them as a happy privilege.
James 1:2

Your faith is put to the test to make you patient, but patience too is to have its practical results, so that you will become fully developed, complete, with nothing missing.
James 1:3-4

If there is anyone of you who needs wisdom, he must ask God, who gives to all freely and ungrudgingly; it will be given him. But he must ask with faith, with no trace of doubt.
James 1:5-6a

Never, when you have been tempted, say, ‘God sent the temptation.’ God cannot be tempted to do anything wrong, and He does not tempt anybody. Everyone who is tempted is attracted and seduced by his own wrong desire.
James 1:13-14

Be quick to listen but slow to speak and slow to rouse your temper. God’s righteousness is never served by man’s anger.
James 1:19-20

Do away with all the impurities and bad habits that are still left in you. Accept and submit to the Word which has been planted in you and can save your souls. You must do what the Word tells you and not just listen to it and deceive yourselves.
James 1:21-22

The man who looks steadily at the perfect law of freedom and makes that his habit, not listening and then forgetting, but actively putting it into practice, will be happy in all that he does.
James 1:25

Nobody must imagine that he is religious while he still goes on deceiving himself and not keeping control over his tongue.
James 1:26a

Pure, unspoiled religion in the eyes of God our Father is this: coming to the help of orphans and widows when they need it, and keeping oneself uncontaminated by the world.
James 1:27

Do not try to combine faith in Jesus Christ with the making of distinctions between classes of people.
James 2:1

Keep the supreme law of scripture: you must love your neighbor as yourself. But as soon as you make distinctions between classes of people you are committing sin and under condemnation.
James 2:8b-9a

Talk and behave like people who are going to be judged by the law of freedom, because there will be a judgment without mercy for those who have not been merciful themselves; but the merciful need have no fear of judgment.
James 2:12-13

If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well! Keep yourself warm, and eat plenty!’ without giving them these bare necessities of life, what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.
James 2:15-17

Faith without good deeds is useless.
James 2:20b

It is by doing something good, and not only by believing, that a man is justified.
James 2:24

If there are any wise or learned among you, let them show it by their good lives, with humility and wisdom in their actions.
James 3:13

The wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure. It makes for peace and is kindly and considerate. It is full of compassion and shows itself by doing good, nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it. Peacemakers, when they work for peace, sow the seeds which will bear fruit in holiness.
James 3:17-18

Anyone who chooses the world for his friend turns himself into God’s enemy.
James 4:4b

Give in to God, then; resist the devil, and he will run away from you. The nearer you go to God, the nearer He will come to you. Clean your hands, you sinners, and clear your minds, you waverers. Look at your wretched condition and weep for it in misery. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.
James 4:7-9a, 10

Do not slander one another.
James 4:11a

Everyone who knows what is the right thing to do and doesn’t do it commits a sin.
James 4:17

Do not make complaints against one another, so as not to be brought to judgment yourselves.
James 5:9

For your example in submitting with patience, take the prophets who spoke in the Name of the Lord; remember, it is those who had endurance that we say are the blessed ones.
James 5:10-11

Do not swear by heaven or by earth or use any oaths at all. If you mean ‘yes,’ you must say ‘yes;’ if you mean ‘no,’ say ‘no.’ Otherwise you make yourselves liable to judgment.
James 5:12

If anyone of you is in trouble, he should pray. If anyone is feeling happy, he should sing a psalm.
James 5:13

Confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, and this will cure you.
James 5:16

The teaching of holy apostle Peter…

Free your minds of encumbrances. Control them, and put your trust in nothing but the grace that will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:13

Do not behave in the way that you liked to before you learned the truth. Make a habit of obedience. Be holy in all you do, since it is the Holy One who has called you, and scripture says, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’
1 Peter 1:14-16

Let your love for each other be real and from the heart.
1 Peter 1:22b

Be sure you are never spiteful, or deceitful, or hypocritical, or envious and critical of each other. You are newborn and, like babies, you should be hungry for nothing but milk, the spiritual honesty which will help you to grow up to salvation.
1 Peter 2:1-2

He is the living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him. Set yourselves close to Him so that you too, the holy priesthood that offers the spiritual sacrifices which Jesus Christ has made acceptable to God, may be living stones making a spiritual house.
1 Peter 2:4-5

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart to sing the praises of God who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light,
1 Peter 2:9

While you are visitors and pilgrims, keep yourselves from the selfish passions that attack the soul. Always behave honorably among pagans so that they can see your good works for themselves.
1 Peter 2:11-12a

For the sake of the Lord, accept the authority of every social institution.
1 Peter 2:13a

You are slaves of no one except God, so behave like free men, and never use your freedom as an excuse for wickedness.
1 Peter 2:16

Wives should be obedient to their husbands. If there are some husbands who have not yet obeyed the Word, they may find themselves won over without a word spoken, by the way their wives behave, when they see how faithful and conscientious they are.
1 Peter 3:1-2

Husbands must always treat their wives with consideration in their life together, respecting a woman as one who is equally an heir to the life of grace.
1 Peter 3:7

Agree among yourselves and be sympathetic. Love the brothers. Have compassion and be self-effacing. Never pay back one wrong with another; instead, pay back with a blessing. That is what you are called to do.
1 Peter 3:8-9

No one can hurt you if you are determined to do only what is right. If you do have to suffer for being good, you will count it a blessing.
1 Peter 3:13-14a

Never let your love for each other grow insincere, since love covers over many a sin.
1 Peter 4:8

Welcome each other into your houses without grumbling.
1 Peter 4:9

Put yourselves at the service of others. If you are a speaker, speak in words which seem to come from God. If you are a helper, help as though every action was done at God’s orders.
1 Peter 4:10b-11a

Be the shepherds of the flock of God that is entrusted to you. Watch over it not simply as a duty, but gladly, because God wants it, not for sordid money, but because you are eager to do it. Never be a dictator over any group that is put in your charge, but be an example that the whole flock can follow.
1 Peter 5:2-3

Do what the elders tell you, and all wrap yourselves in humility to be servants of each other.
1 Peter 5:5

Bow down before the power of God now, and He will raise you up on the appointed day. Unload all your worries onto Him, since He is looking after you. Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat. Stand up to him, strong in faith and in the knowledge that your brothers all over the world are suffering the same things.
1 Peter 5:6-9

By His divine power He has given us all the things that we need for life and for true devotion, bringing us to know God Himself, who has called us by His own glory and goodness. In making these gifts, He has given us the guarantee of something very great and wonderful to come: through them you will be able to share the Divine Nature and to escape corruption in a world that is sunk in vice. But to attain this you will have to do the utmost yourselves, adding goodness to the faith that you have, understanding to your goodness, self-control to your understanding, patience to your self-control, true devotion to your patience, kindness toward your fellow men to your devotion, and to this kindness, love. If you have a generous supply of these, they will not leave you ineffectual or unproductive: they will bring you to a real knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But without them a man is blind or else short-sighted; he has forgotten how his past sins were washed away.
2 Peter 1:3-9

Brothers, you have been called and chosen: work all the harder to justify it.
2 Peter 1:10

It was not any cleverly invented myths that we were repeating when we brought you the knowledge of the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; we had seen His majesty for ourselves.
2 Peter 1:16

Depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds. Be most careful to remember that the interpretation of scriptural prophecy is never a matter for the individual. No prophecy ever came from man’s initiative. When men spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit that moved them.
2 Peter 1:19b-21

As there were false prophets in the past history of our people, so you too will have your false teachers who will insinuate their own disruptive views and disown the Master who purchased their freedom. They will destroy themselves very quickly, but there will be many who copy their shameful behavior.
2 Peter 2:1-2a

Be careful not to get carried away by the errors of unprincipled people from the firm ground that you are standing on. Instead, go on growing in the grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 3:17b-18a

The teaching of holy apostle John…

If we say that we are in union with God while we are living in darkness, we are lying, because we are not living the truth. But if we live our lives in the light as He is in the light, we are in union with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son purifies us from all sin.
1 John 1:6

If we say we have no sin in us we are deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit the truth. But if we acknowledge our sins, then God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and purify us from everything that is wrong.
1 John 1:8-9

If anyone should sin we have our advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ who is just. He is the sacrifice that takes our sins away, and not only ours, but the whole world’s.
1 John 2:1b-2

We can be sure that we know God only by keeping His commandments.
1 John 2:3

We can be sure that we are in God only when the one who claims to be living in Him is living the same kind of life as Christ lived.
1 John 2:5b-6

You must not love this passing world or anything that is in the world.
1 John 2:15

You have all been anointed by the Holy One and have all received the knowledge.
1 John 2:20

Keep alive in yourselves what you were taught in the beginning.
1 John 2:24a

You have not lost the anointing that He gave you, and you do not need anyone to teach you: The anointing He gave teaches you everything. You are anointed with the truth, not with a lie. As it has taught you, so must you stay in Him.
1 John 2:27

We are already the children of God, but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed. All we know is that when it is revealed, we shall be like Him, since we shall see Him as He really is.
1 John 3:2

Do not let anyone lead you astray: to live a holy life is to be holy just as He is holy.
1 John 3:7

If you refuse to love, you must remain dead; to hate your brother is to be a murderer.
1 John 3:15

Our love is not to be just words or mere talk but something real and active. Only by this can we be certain that we are children of the truth.
1 John 3:18-19a

Whatever we ask Him, we shall receive, because we keep His commandments and live the kind of life that He wants.
1 John 3:22

It is not every spirit that you can trust. Test them to see if they come from God. There are many false prophets now in the world.
1 John 4:1

Let us love one another since love comes from God, and everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
1 John 4:7

Anyone who loves God must also love his neighbor.
1 John 4:21b

Loving God is keeping His commandments, and His commandments are not difficult.
1 John 5:3b-4a

If anybody sees his brother commit a sin that is not a deadly sin, he has only to pray, and God will give life to the sinner.
1 John 5:16a

Be on your guard against false gods.
1 John 5:21

If anybody does not keep within the teaching of Christ but goes beyond it, he cannot have God with him: only those who keep to what He taught can have the Father and the Son with them.
2 John 1:9

If anyone comes to you bringing a different doctrine, you must not receive him in your house or even give him a greeting. To greet him would make you a partner in his wicked work.
2 John 1:10

The teaching of the holy apostle Jude…

Fight hard for the faith which has been once and for all entrusted to the saints.
Jude 1:3b

Use your most holy faith as your foundation and build on that, praying in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves within the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life.
Jude 1:20-21

When there are some who have doubts, reassure them. When there are some to be pulled from the fire, pull them out. But there are others to whom you must be kind with great caution, keeping your distance even from outside clothing which is contaminated by vice.
Jude 1:22-23

All texts are taken from the Jerusalem Bible (1966).
Click on the link below to download the book from which this post and the others in this series were taken.

The Apostolic Rule — Passages pulled from all the epistles of the New Testament and organized by book, that reveal how simple and direct are the instructions that the apostles have left us about how to live the Christian life.