Epistles

1 Peter 3:19-22

Wed, 25/02/2009 - 14:41 -- James Oakley

I've long found 1 Peter 3:19-22 really hard to understand. Much attention gets given to questions like who the spirits in prison are and so on. However my concern is to understand Peter's flow of thought throughout 1 Peter 3:18-22. 3:18 would flow nicely into 4:1 (“For Christ also suffered once for sins… made alive in the Spirit. Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same attitude.”), so why does Peter insert 3:19-22 in between here?

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James 3: The tongue controls the whole body

Wed, 14/05/2008 - 09:35 -- James Oakley

1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.

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Romans 1: A Fair Exchange

Wed, 16/01/2008 - 15:00 -- James Oakley

Romans 1:18-32: We, the human race, have suppressed the knowledge of God that we all have. We all have it because God has made his existence, deity and power known in his creation. The creation is his conscious handwriting intended to communicate to us. We have done so effectively, such that Paul can say we all knew God. The problem is not ignorance, it is culpable suppression of what we know.

God’s temporal judgement for this is to hand us over to self-harming sin. The human-race is constantly attempting to self-destruct; Romans 1 interprets this as God taking off the reins.

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Luke 21, Ephesians 2 and the equality of men and women

Sat, 05/01/2008 - 12:08 -- James Oakley

I was asked one very specific question after my last sermon on Luke 21.

I developed one implication that the temple was to come to an end, which is the implication developed in Ephesians 2. The era of Jewish national privilege has closed, so that in the new creation none of us will have a second class spot – specifically, no Gentiles will be penalised for being Gentile.

After the service I was asked why, if this is the case, I still hold that there will be a distinction in the roles taken by men and women in church life.

/a

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Avoid divisions

Wed, 03/10/2007 - 10:04 -- James Oakley

“Avoid divisions!”, say the closing three chapters of Romans. And I don’t know one Christian who doesn’t agree with that. We all hate division in church life. It is ugly. It distracts from evangelism. It causes personal pain and grief.

The important thing to notice is that Romans 14-16 offers us two very different ways in which division might arise, and therefore two very different ways of avoiding it.

Version 1

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Applying the weak and the strong

Mon, 04/06/2007 - 21:03 -- James Oakley

I remember a conversation two years ago with a Christian brother, discussing how to apply Romans 14-15 today. It's really hard. Because, by definition, all the examples Paul picks are areas of life where we think we're right. So how do you judge whether this is (a) an example where you have an opinion and must follow it, but refusing to judge / look down on others who think differently is paramount, or (b) an example where you really are right, and others therefore need to be rebuked, corrected, cajoled into thinking the same as you.

Or is that a dilemma to be refused?

Well - I enjoyed Jam Cary's application on his blog. It's really helpful. Thanks, Jam.

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"The nations" in Rev 20:8

Sat, 26/05/2007 - 10:20 -- James Oakley

Can someone help me with this?

In Rev 20:8 the final rebellion is described. Granted, we are not told how long this rebellion will last - and it could be momentary. If it were momentary, there would be no conflict with the idea that the sweep of history is the story of the gospel's progress.

But: Why does the rebellion come from "the nations" qua nations. To stress the point, this is the nations at the four corners = every nation (without exception?). Why do we suddenly find nations - the Father's gift to the Son according to Psalm 2 and Matthew 28 - becoming the proponents of a last-ditch Satanic rebellion?

Comments please!

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Kenneth E Bailey on 1 Corinthians 14:33-35

Thu, 25/01/2007 - 16:01 -- James Oakley

Bailey’s article can be found here: http://www.theologymatters.com/TMIssues/JanFeb00.pdf. Significant because of the respect Bailey is increasingly commanding in Britain. Bailey has worked for 40 years in the Middle East, mainly in Syria. He has extensively studied contemporary Middle Eastern culture with a view to shedding light on the cultural background to the teaching of the New Testament.

Also N T Wright claims his own indebtedness to Bailey for the interpretation he adopts in his paper (see previous post).

NT Wright on 1 Tim 2

Thu, 25/01/2007 - 11:43 -- James Oakley

At the moment, I’m reading various people on various texts. At some point, I’ll be interrupted, and have to stop this enterprise, but for now, it’s my current task. Those people have (at least) two things in common: 1. I generally respect their writing. 2. They all take a (slightly or majorly) different view on women’s ministry than me.

Start with N T Wright on 1 Timothy 2.

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