Daily Devotion

The Word of God is Never Chained

Reading for Today:

Jeremiah 11:1–12:17
Psalm 118:10-14
Proverbs 27:8
Colossians 4:1-18

Jeremiah 11:15 My beloved. A phrase showing God’s sensitive regard for His relationship to Israel as a nation (2:2; 12:7). It does not carry the assumption, however, that every individual is spiritually saved (5:10a). lewd deeds. Shameful idolatry that defiled all that befits true temple worship, such as the examples in Ezekiel 8:6–13. These were gross violations of the first 3 commandments (Ex. 20:2–7). holy flesh. In some way, they corrupted the animal sacrifices by committing sin which they enjoyed.

Jeremiah 12:5 If you have run. The Lord replied to Jeremiah telling him that if he grew faint with lesser trials and felt like quitting, what would he do when the battle got even harder? floodplain of the Jordan. The river in flood stage overflowed its banks into a plain that grew up as a thicket. The point is that Jeremiah needed to be ready to deal with tougher testings, pictured by the invader’s overwhelming the land like a flood, or posing high danger as in the Jordan thicket where concealed wild animals could terrify a person.

Colossians 4:2 Continue earnestly. The Greek word means “to be courageously persistent” or “to hold fast and not let go” and refers here to persistent prayer (Acts 1:14; Rom. 12:12; Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; Luke 11:5–10; 18:1–8). being vigilant. In its most general sense this means to stay awake while praying. But Paul has in mind the broader implication of staying alert for specific needs about which to pray rather than being vague and unfocused.

Colossians 4:6 with grace. To speak what is spiritual, wholesome, fitting, kind, sensitive, purposeful, complimentary, gentle, truthful, loving, and thoughtful. seasoned with salt. Just as salt not only flavors but prevents corruption, the Christian’s speech should act not only as a blessing to others but as a purifying influence within the decaying society of the world.

Colossians 4:18 by my own hand. Paul usually dictated his letters to an amanuensis (recording secretary), but would often add his own greeting in his own writing at the end of his letters (1 Cor. 16:21; Gal. 6:11; 2 Thess. 3:17; Philem. 19).

DAY 13:
What were the Prison Epistles, and what prison was
Paul in when he wrote them?

Four of Paul’s letters are grouped as the Prison Epistles: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Each of them includes clear internal references to the writer’s prison surroundings (Eph. 3:1; 4:1; 6:20; Phil. 1:7, 13, 14, 17; Col. 4:3, 10, 18; Philem. 1, 9, 10, 13, 23). The similarities between the details of Paul’s imprisonment given in Acts and in the Prison Epistles support the traditional position that the letters were written from Rome. Among these details are: 1) Paul was guarded by soldiers (Acts 28:16; Phil. 1:13, 14); 2) Paul was permitted to receive visitors (Acts 28:30; Phil. 4:18); and 3) Paul had the opportunity to preach the gospel (Acts 28:31; Eph. 6:18–20; Phil. 1:12–14; Col.4:2-4).

Caesarea and Ephesus have also been suggested as Paul’s possible location when he wrote at least some of these letters. Paul was imprisoned in Caesarea for two years (Acts 24:27), but his opportunities to receive visitors and proclaim the gospel were severely limited during that time (Acts 23:35). The Prison Epistles express Paul’s hope for a favorable verdict (Phil. 1:25; 2:24; Philem. 23). In Caesarea, however, Paul’s only hope for release was either to bribe Felix (Acts 24:26) or agree to stand trial at Jerusalem under Festus (Acts 25:9). In the Prison Epistles, Paul expected the decision in his case to be final (Phil. 1:20–23; 2:17, 23). That could not have been true at Caesarea, since Paul could and did appeal his case to the emperor.

Ephesus has been the other suggested location. Most of the same difficulties faced by the Caesarea suggestion face those who support Ephesus. The most telling argument against Ephesus as the point of origin for the Prison Epistles, however, is that there is no evidence that Paul was ever imprisoned at Ephesus.

In light of the serious difficulties faced by both the Caesarean and Ephesian views, no reason remains for rejecting the traditional view that Paul wrote the Prison Epistles from Rome while awaiting a hearing before the emperor on his appeal for justice as a Roman citizen.

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003.
Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc,
Nashville, TN 37214, www.thomasnelson.com.