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Ephesians: A Self-Study Course

Ephesians is perhaps the most majestic, rich and profound of Paul’s epistles.  It has been called “the Grand Canyon of Scripture” and abounds in powerful superlatives. Paul writes with extraordinary cohesiveness to the church at Ephesus while he is “a prisoner of Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:1 & 4:1). He is suffering particular hardships (3:13) and views himself as an “ambassador in chains” (6:20). However, the epistle contains few other particulars regarding the writer or his readers. There is a marked absence of biographical references or personal greetings. There are a few allusions to false teachings, but Paul elaborates on no specific doctrinal problem. This helps explain the dynamics of the epistle, for its contents are solely for the edification of his readers. Ephesians differs from other Pauline letters, for his focus is on the universal Church rather than on issues within a local church. The interwoven theme is the unification of Believers who form a spiritual society within a secular society. Paul motivates his readers to closer unity by reminding them of Christ’s eternal purpose.

Colossians: A Self-Study Course

The Epistle to the Colossians can be viewed as apologetic, for it defends Christian doctrine against heretical teachings. It was written by Paul from Rome around 61 A.D. during his first Roman imprisonment. During Paul’s incarceration there, the Colossian church sends Epaphras to him with a report (1:7-8). Although most of it is favorable, Paul learns about certain false teachers who are corrupting the church with a blend of Judaism and pagan philosophies. As in Galatia, heretics creep into area churches attempting to pervert the Gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:7).

Paul cannot allow the Colossians to entertain any teachings subversive to the pure gospel they received a few years earlier. Throughout this epistle, Paul combats facets of legalism (2:14-17), mysticism (2:18-19), and asceticism (2:20-23). His purpose for writing is to encourage their spiritual growth in Christ, warn them against relapsing into former pagan vices, and refute those doctrines that can only lead them to spiritual ruin. The letter stresses Christ’s supremacy, the completeness of His vicarious atonement, and the superiority of His teachings over all others.

Old Testament Survey: A Self-Study Course

The foundation of the Bible rests upon two covenants. The Hebrew word “testament” (diatheke) is better translated “covenant” or “contract.” The Old Testament is God’s covenant with Israel with Moses as mediator, but the New Testament is God’s covenant with Christians with Jesus as Mediator. Although we are now under a better covenant, the Old Testament is also Scripture (Heb. 8:6-13). As part of God’s Word, it is “profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness” (II Tim. 3:16-17).

Jude

We do not know to whom Jude sends his letter. The envelope with the address, so to speak, has been misplaced. The numerous Old Testament references suggest the recipients were Jewish converts to Christianity. Jude’s style is strong, bold, energetic and picturesque. Probably written between 70 and 80 AD, this final epistle of the New Testament strongly denounces false teachers.

Philemon: A Self-Study Course

When we open the book of Philemon, we are immediately struck with its uniqueness. It is Paul’s shortest yet most intimate letter. As a masterpiece of diplomacy, the key concepts of this letter center on grace and compassion.

Hebrews: A Self-Study Course

The epistle to the Hebrews has an excellent design, a fascinating subject and a dynamic style. This book begins like a treatise but ends like a letter. Its purpose is established in the opening verses: to show Christ’s relationship to the Old Testament and vice-versa. This course is designed for each student to read through the commentary on each section, then answer the questions after each section.

Philippians: A Self-Study Course

Welcome to an exciting, pragmatic, and inductive study in the book of Philippians.This course is designed for each student to read through the commentary on each section, then answer the questions after each section. It was prepared for couples as well as individual students. You will note that the Discussion Questions are provided in two formats. The first set of questions is for couples to work through, and the second set is provided for those who choose to take this course on an individual basis.

As we approach the study of this epistle, we will follow this simple outline:

Chapter 1 = The Inward Look
Chapter 2 = The Backward Look
Chapter 3 = The Onward Look
Chapter 4 = The Upward Look

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God’s Word in My Heart

Imbedding God’s Word into our hearts is important. It will help us stand against temptation, the world and Satan.

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