Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Commentary: Preface to Isaiah

"The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jtham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, the kings of Judah."

Isaiah is ranked alongside lEzekial and Jeremiah as the "major prophets" of the Old Testament, and indeed his book of prophecy is one of the larger books in the Bible. I'm also coming to this commentary after an extended look at the book of Romans, which is generally both concise and content-rich. I will be writing a commentary on Isaiah, digesting several chapters with each published note.

In light of the differences both in length and intensity, however, my approach to this Commentary is going to be significantly more scatter-shot than previous commentaries. Obviously, the best way to understand Scripture is the direct route: read Scripture itself. My commentaries are designed to offer notes on particularly noteworthy elements of the reading. In this case, most of the content that I would present or discuss is presented and discussed in the text itself, making additional commentary superfluous. There remain, however a number of particularly important passages, as well intriguing side-notes and tangential thoughts. It is there that I will find the subject for this next series of note.

When I first encountered the prophets, they all struck me as alike. As I've grown more familiar with them, so the flavors of each have become more clearly defined. I still struggle, but it gets easier. It's hard to convey the subtle distinctions, however, so I will more or less restrain myself to speak of the words, verses, and chapters themselves.

Enjoy the commentaries!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Commentary on Scripture: Romans 16

I commend to you our sister Phoebe... that you receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you.

Romans 16:1-15 ~~ Paul offers greetings to various individuals known to him personally. Most of the names are unfamiliar to us, though some of them are referenced elsewhere. Also note the number of female names in the list.

Romans 16:3-4 ~~ Prisca and Aquila are referenced in Acts 18, worked with Paul as tent-makers, and apparently risked their own necks to save Paul's life.

Romans 16:5 ~~ "Epaenetus... who is the first convert to Christ from Asia." Whoa. Nice credentials.

Romans 16:6 ~~ "Mary, who has worked hard for you." There are six other people known by that name in the New Testament; nothing is known about this Mary beside this one cryptic reference.

Romans 16:17 ~~ Paul exhorts the Romans to be wary against those who teach against the apostolic teaching and would lead them astray.

Romans 16:18 ~~ Paul is specifically addressing the heretics in Rome that were slaves to their appetites and who deceived themselves and others with smooth rhetoric.

Romans 16:19 ~~ Rome was apparently famed for their obedience to the apostolic tradition.

Romans 16:20 ~~ Here again, Paul concludes the letter. See also 15:33, 16:24 and 16:27.

Romans 16:21-22 ~~ Paul sends greetings from his companions, including a personal salutation from his scribe Tertius.

Romans 16:25-27 ~~ Here at last Paul offers a brief and impromptu doxology. "To Him... be the glory forever." Paul is awesome, and here ends his epistle to the Romans.

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets according to the commandment of the eternal God has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.