New Testament Reading Plan: Week 14

Week 14:

Day 1:  Ephesians (entire book)
Ephesians was written while Paul was in prison in Rome, around 60 A.D.
There are several key verses in Ephesians that are worth highlighting here.
(Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV)  “8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”  We are saved by God’s doing.  It is a gift.  We can’t earn our salvation.
Because of our belief in what Jesus did for us, we have these benefits:
·         We were aliens, now we are citizens of God’s household, the church.
·         We were far away, now we have been brought near.
·         We have peace and have been reconciled to God, ending God’s hostility with us.
“11 He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. 12 His purpose was to equip God’s people for the work of serving and building up the body of Christ 13 until we all reach the unity of faith and knowledge of God’s Son. God’s goal is for us to become mature adults—to be fully grown, measured by the standard of the fullness of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:11-13 CEB)  This passage is the basis for the understanding that all Christians are given spiritual gifts and a ministry role by the Spirit.  We are to use our ministry role and spiritual gifts to complement others in the Body of Christ in order to build each other up.  Our goal is to become mature Christians, moving toward Christlikeness.

Day 2:   Philippians (entire book)
Philippians was written while Paul was in prison in Rome, around 61 A.D.
We are called to go on toward Christlikeness.  Paul said in Philippians2:5 (MSG)
“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.”   The same verse in the NIV translation is:  “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:”  Regeneration into a new life as a follower of Christ comes with responsibilities and obligations.  We don’t work “for” our salvation but we work “out” our salvation.  We do that by obeying God’s commands.  We are justified (declared not guilty, in other words “saved”) but we are called to continue in our sanctification (becoming more and more like Christ) for the rest or our life, 24x7.  This allows others to see the changed hearts and lives that come from following Jesus.
13 Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me. 14 The goal I pursue is the prize of God’s upward call in Christ Jesus.  (Philippians 3:13-14 CEB)

Day 3:   1 Timothy (entire book)
Written to Timothy, one of Paul’s closest companions, in approximately 64 A.D.  It was written to give instruction and encouragement to Timothy as a young leader in the church.
Timothy was “pastor” of the church at Ephesus (which Paul started) for a time.

Day 4:   Titus (entire book)
Written to Titus around 64 A.D.  Titus was Greek and was converted to Christianity by Paul and became Paul’s special representative to the churches on the island of Crete.  This letter was written to advise Titus in his responsibility of supervising the churches.

Day 5:   1 Peter (entire book)
Written by Peter about 62 – 64 A.D.  The letter was written to offer encouragement to suffering Christians, especially those who had been driven out of Jerusalem and scattered throughout Asia Minor.  At this time, Christians were being tortured and killed for their faith throughout the Roman Empire.
Read these inspiring words from 1Peter 2:9-10 (CEB):  “9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people SO THAT you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light. 10 Once you weren’t a people, but now you are God’s people. Once you hadn’t received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”  Peter speaks several times in this letter about new birth.  “Once you were not…” but “now you are…”  This new birth should cause changes in our behaviors SO THAT others will see and understand about Jesus through our changed hearts and lives and they may come to believe.  “…Whenever anyone asks you to speak of your hope, be ready to defend it.”  (1 Peter3:15b CEB)  We are called to tell others of the hope we have in Jesus.

Day 6:  rest            

Day 7:  rest