October 9 Read 2 Thessalonians 1
The church of Thessalonica along with the church of all ages suffered persecution at the hands of enemies of the truth. Paul had to leave this city and its fledgling church, but the persecution continued. In the opening chapter of this letter he assures them that he will pray for them in their troubles. He also reminds them that when Christ returns, vengeance will be brought against those who oppose Christ and his bride, the church. People of God, we have that same hope today. We know that as the time gets closer to the return of our Savior, persecution will increase. Let us pray for ourselves amidst persecution, but let us remember our brothers in Christ even as Paul did. Sing Psalter 300.
October 10 Read 2 Thessalonians 2
The church at Thessalonica had an error bubbling up in the church. There were those who were teaching that Christ was returning soon. Paul had to combat that error, as it was affecting not only the church life of these saints but also the personal lives of some of the members. Paul reminds them of two signs of Christ’s return that must occur. First, there must be a great falling away in the church. Second, antichrist must appear and delude many. People of God, are you watching for the signs of our Savior’s return? Are you ready for the last days? We need Paul’s encouragement as it is found in verses 13–15, and we need to pray for all the saints, even as Paul does in the last two verses. Sing Psalter 33.
October 11 Read 2 Thessalonians 3
In this chapter Paul first covets the prayers of the church for him and the work God has given him to do. Do we pray for ministers, elders, deacons, missionaries, and seminary professors in our daily prayers? These men are carrying out the work of watching over our souls. These men are carrying out the work of spreading the gospel. These men are carrying out the work of causing the return of Christ. They need our prayers. Paul’s second point in the chapter is that daily life must be lived to the glory of God. Once again, we need this admonition as well. Are we living our lives as ones who are watching and waiting for Christ’s return? In living our lives in this way we will find a peace that will give us comfort as we wait to go to our permanent home. Sing Psalter 253.
October 12 Read 1Timothy 1
After leaving Ephesus in Timothy’s charge, Paul writes to the young minister this epistle. The intent of the letter is to encourage the minister and to give to him advice concerning his charge. This first chapter also shows the power of the grace of God in Paul’s life and in the life of all Christians. Reread verse 14. Our salvation is by grace through faith and love that abide in Christ. We need this reminder of the power of God’s grace. Without irresistible grace we would not be gathered into the number of the saints. Salvation is of God alone and not by our works. Paul closes the first chapter with the benediction found in verse 17. May the truths found in it be evident in our lives. Sing Psalter 172.
October 13 Read 1Timothy 2
One of the matters in which Paul instructs Timothy is the subject of public prayer. This is prayer uttered in the church by the ordained officebearers. That these officebearers are men is evident from the instruction given in the latter half of the chapter. While the instruction is primarily meant for public prayers, we may learn from it and use its instruction in our private prayers. Do we pray for all kinds of men, knowing that God gathers his church from every strata of society? Do we pray for the government officials even when we are displeased with their decisions? This is the command of God for us. The reason is that by their good governing the church may flourish until Christ returns. Sing Psalter 223.
October 14 Read 1Timothy 3
At the end of the chapter Paul speaks of truth–the pillar and foundation of the church of God. Those who uphold that truth are its officebearers–elders and deacons. In a young church these men were essential to its wellbeing. Elsewhere in scripture these men are spoken of watchmen over the souls of God’s people. Young men, do you desire to take up the work of these offices? Older men, do you continue to work in the offices if you are able? The church is blessed when capable men do the work that God has placed in front of them. Uphold the truth, men, and receive God’s blessing. Sing Psalter 241.
October 15 Read 1Timothy 4
A young minister would do well to reread this chapter often in the early stages of his ministry. Paul reminds Timothy of evils that will confront him and his charge as Satan seeks to make the church fall away from the truth. Paul encourages Timothy to read. This admonition is needed not only for ministers, but for all officebearers and for the congregation as a whole. While books are easy to obtain in these days, God’s people have fallen into the disease of not reading. We need to seek the truth as it has been written about in days gone by as well as in this day. Give attention to reading, people of God, for in that way we will know the truth and it will make us free. Sing Psalter 333.
October 16 Read 1Timothy 5
There are many situations that come up in the church of Christ. In this chapter Paul gives Timothy advice how to approach some of those situations. Each of them has to be handled differently. Sometimes it depends on the age of the person, and sometimes on their position in the church. There are two things that must be remembered. First, these are members of the body of Christ and must be dealt with accordingly. Second, all of us have sinned; none can say, “I am better than you.” As we live in the church of Christ, let us love our neighbor as ourselves. Sing Psalter 369.
October 17 Read 1Timothy 6
Verse 6 is a verse after which we can pattern our lives. We can use verse 6 in any situation within and without the church. First, we must be godly. That means we follow God’s law in all that we do. We do not let a situation dictate what we do, but rather ask what God in his word tells us to do. Second, we must be content in the situation in which God has placed us. If we are not content, we fall into the sin of covetousness. If we fall into that sin, we place ourselves in danger of many other sins. Think of David’s lamentable fall. May our prayers each day be that God will direct us in his law and give us contentment in the way that he leads us. Sing Psalter 40.
October 18 Read 2 Timothy 1
People of God, can you, like Paul, say, “I know whom I have believed”? Can you, again like Paul, face death because of your faith in Christ Jesus and say, “I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day?’” Chronologically this seems to be the final epistle of Paul. He writes it as he faces seemingly certain death at the hand of wicked Nero. But yet Paul trusted that God would bring him through this trial. Do we claim that same faith? Are we ready to confess God before men in the most trying circumstances? By faith we can. Through Jesus Christ we can embrace persecution, knowing that it is for God’s glory. May we pray for the grace to sustain such things. Sing Psalter 152.
October 19 Read 2 Timothy 2
Paul continues his instruction of Timothy with the striking words of verse 15. These are not just words for a preacher or a seminarian. These are words for all of God’s people. Young people, do you approach school in this manner? Do you study in order to take up your appointed places in God’s kingdom? Do you study God’s word, looking for the truths of scripture in order to have a right understanding of them? Do you wish to be approved of God or men? After verse 15 Paul shows Timothy whom he must face in his work. The same sorts of men lurk around us as well. Let us prepare ourselves in school, in catechism, and in worship to be approved of God. Sing Psalter 322.
October 20 Read 2 Timothy 3
In the beginning of this chapter, Paul describes what it will be like in the days before Christ returns. He especially points out those who pretend to know the truth, but do not know it and/or twist it to say what it should not. In contrast to this description comes his charge to Timothy found in verses 14–17. This is not just a word to a young minister, but it is the word of God to members of the church of all ages. First, we must believe that the entire Bible is the God-breathed word to his church. Second, parents, like Timothy’s mother and grandmother, must exhaust themselves teaching that word to their children. Finally, all of God’s people, including children and young people, must spend time learning, studying, and living out of that word. May we learn that word and use it even in the evil days that have and will come upon us. Sing Psalter 334.
October 21 Read 2 Timothy 4
People of God, here, as in other places in scripture, our lives on this earth are described as an arduous race that must be run. It is not a sprint; it is not a two-mile race on an oval racetrack. It is a marathon on a steeplechase course. While we may not be called to run as arduous a race as Paul did, and while our race on this earth may not end as Paul’s did, we are called to run that race. We have a fight to finish. How are we running? How are we fighting? We run and we fight so that God’s name may be glorified. Is it in our daily lives? Sing Psalter 234.
October 22 Read Titus 1
We read of Titus in many places in Acts as well as in other epistles of Paul. It appears that Paul and Titus visited Crete, and now Titus was there finishing the work that had been started earlier. The gospel had been established there by means of preaching. We find the necessity of sound preaching in the first verse of the letter as well as later on, as Paul gives Titus direction on how to go about the work in Crete. Preachers must take this admonition to heart, but a congregation must as well. Preaching is for the good of the congregation because by it the way of salvation is opened to the listener. May we covet sound preaching; may we listen attentively and take it into our hearts. Sing Psalter 222.
October 23 Read Titus 2
While the previous chapter showed us the necessity of sound preaching, this chapter shows us the content of sound preaching. Each of us is mentioned in this chapter. Each of us must listen to the word as it is expounded from Sabbath to Sabbath to find how we must live. This chapter also gives us the goal of that life. We live on this earth in expectation of the coming again of Christ. We are not to be idle as we wait for him to come, but rather we must each in the station and calling that we have been given work out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is God who works in us out of his good pleasure. Are we listening? Are we working? Sing Psalter 419.
October 24 Read Titus 3
Notice the first verse of this chapter of final instruction to this young minister. There are two matters to which Titus had to attend; they are related. First, he had to admonish the church to obey those who had been placed in authority over them. We need this admonition as well. Think of all those who are our authorities. In the sphere of home, church, school, and state, there are many who are our authorities. We must obey them in order that we keep the fifth commandment as well as the other words from God. Second, we need the admonition to do what is good. Good is not necessarily what we want to do, even if our choice may not be sinful. Good is what obeys the commandment to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We need to heed the commands given to the church at Crete as they are given to the members of the church of all ages. Sing Psalter 393.
October 25 Read Philemon
Philemon is thought to have been a minister at Colosse. He had a servant, Onesimus, who had run away, had come to Rome, been converted under Paul’s preaching, and was useful to Paul while Paul was in prison. Paul does what is right; he sends Onesimus back to his rightful owner with this letter imploring Philemon to receive his slave as a Christian brother and treat him as such. In this personal letter we see application to us. We too need to receive wayward, repentant brothers and welcome them back into our fellowship. The basis for this instruction is God’s love for us when we were in our sins. Sing Psalter 369.
October 26 Read Hebrews 1
In this book, whose author cannot be positively identified, we have an argument to the Jewish nation of the work of Christ for our salvation. The message of this book is not time-bound, but important for the church of all ages and situations. Christ was ordained for our salvation before time even began. The work that he does is for his people alone without any help from them. We will find these ideas more in this book of Holy Writ. Look in this first chapter for evidence for the manner of our salvation, for creation, for the work of the angels, and for our place in God’s created order. Sing Psalter 14.
October 27 Read Hebrews 2
In this chapter the author continues with the theme of the excellence of Christ and his work concerning the salvation of the church. Let us go back and look at the first verse of the chapter. Notice the command found there. We are enjoined not to let what we have heard slip away from us. What we have heard is undoubtedly the preaching of God’s word. We have such a privilege to hear that word from Sabbath to Sabbath. What do we do with it? Do we let is go in one ear and out the other like the rocky soil hearing in Jesus’ parable? Is it gone once we step out of church? Do we forget it when faced with the challenges and temptations of daily life? God’s word is precious and we should hold on to it with all our might and main. Sing Psalter 42.
October 28 Read Hebrews 3
Young people, if you have not already, you should be consider making public profession of your faith. Throughout this book of holy scripture we find that idea. It is not enough to say within ourselves that we are Christians. We need to come before the body of Christ and confess him as our savior and the high priest who sacrificed himself in our behalf. The Hebrews were reluctant to confess Christ before men. For this they were admonished. Confession of faith is a finishing of the work begun at baptism. Parents have vowed to see children brought up in the fear of Jehovah until those children reach the years of discretion. This is a solemn vow and brings with it the solemn vow of young people to seek to make confession of faith. Sing Psalter 255.
October 29 Read Hebrews 4
There are several verses in this chapter to which we can look to gain strength and guidance as we make our pilgrimage on earth, looking for our eternal home in heaven. But it is the last one to which I call your attention. Do we come boldly before God’s throne of grace each day? Do we begin and end our days in prayer, knowing that we will find an answer of peace to our prayers? We have many times of need, and they are different for each of God’s children. This verse assures us that we will find grace. We find that grace not because of what we have done, but because our high priest resides in heaven, preparing for us a place. This high priest is merciful and will provide for us grace no matter what our need may be. Remember, people of God, to go to that throne often. Sing Psalter 235.
October 30 Read Hebrews 5
The Hebrew Christians continued to fall back into the ways of the old dispensation. The writer of this book had to point them to the true priest who was after the order of Melchisedec. Their fallings were such that they had to be fed with the milk of the word and not the meat. What would be said about us? Do we need to be fed milk like an infant, or are we seeking the meat of God’s word? To seek the meat means that we must daily study that word. We must be like the Bereans and search the scriptures. Milk is good, but the mature child of God needs the meat. Let us daily and from week to week on the Sabbath seek the meat of God’s word. Sing Psalter 325
October 31 Read Hebrews 6
After explaining the doctrine of Christ’s priesthood, the writer begins to admonish his readers to live out of the salvation purchased for them. First in these admonitions is the necessity of believers to live out of the word of God. We are fed each Sabbath day. How do we use that food? Do we consider those sermons during the week, seeing how they apply to us? We might be quick to apply them to someone else, but what about our lives? If we do not use that word that we heard for our good, we might as well not have heard it. We have a goal in our lives, and that goal is eternal life. Are we working out our salvation with fear and trembling? Sing Psalter 26.
November 1Read Hebrews 7
In this chapter the writer to the Hebrews goes back to the earlier theme of the priesthood of Christ. Why does he do that? He wants to make sure that the Hebrew Christians do not think that the doctrine of works righteousness as developed by the Pharisees and others is the acceptable doctrine in the church and in the lives of the believers. While we probably do not go back to the works righteousness of the Levitical law, we may be tempted to live out of a works righteousness doctrine contrived by us or someone else. This has been a weakness in the church ever since the apostolic age. Our salvation is from Christ and from Christ alone; of that there is no doubt. Sing Psalter 302.
November 2 Read Hebrews 8
After summarizing what he has stated before and showing the work of any priest, the writer once more turns to the excellence of the work of Christ for our salvation. He leaves no doubt that the Levitical priesthood has passed away even as the veil of the temple rent asunder at the moment of Christ’s death. For us there is great hope and comfort. We have hope that our lives on this earth are but a pilgrimage to a better place. We have the comfort that we will not be forgotten, but will be gathered by the covenantal work of Christ for us. We have no need to despair in this life; a better one is coming. Sing Psalter 29.
November 3 Read Hebrews 9
Sometimes we may wonder why we would hear sermons taken from the first part of the Old Testament, especially on all those laws that seemingly have no meaning for today. The Hebrew Christians had to learn that those laws have been fulfilled. Their purpose was to point them to Christ, who now had come and was the better high priest. But yet there is meaning and purpose for us in those laws. They help us first to appreciate the work of Christ on our behalf. Second, in hearing and learning about those laws we can gain insights into the doctrines that should guide our lives. The writer in other places in this book points out the necessity of the word in our lives. He means the whole word, not just parts of it. Sing Psalter 334.
November 4 Read Hebrews 10
Reread verses 23–25 and 38. In those verses we have a summary of doctrine and life. In verse 38 we find the watchword of the Reformation. For those who cling to works righteousness this phrase is first stated in the Old Testament and then referred to in several places in the New. Verses 23-25 show to us how to live. We must continue in the confession of our faith. First, we must make such a confession. Young people, do not neglect this necessity. Second, we must live out of that confession. As verse 24 tells us, we must do this daily and with our neighbors. Finally, our presence in God’s house on the Sabbath is required. It is not an option; God commands it. Let us live out of the faith won for us by Christ on the cross. Sing Psalter 109.
November 5 Read Hebrews 11
After stating that the just shall live by faith in the previous chapter, the writer demonstrates with many examples how the just live. We know or should know the accounts of these “heroes” of faith. Do we live lives with them as examples? Their faith is the faith of all Christians because it has one source: our covenant God. After refreshing our memories of the battles of these Christians, the Holy Spirit reminds the Hebrews and us that faith is perfected in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. That is the better thing prepared for us. Sing Psalter 187.
November 6 Read Hebrews 12
After listing a large number of those who had by faith endured on this earth, the writer shows us that we must follow Christ as our example. This is the theme of this book. The race that we run is a race that we are in because of Christ’s work on the cross. The faith described in the previous chapter was not because of those men; it was of Christ, the author and finisher of our faith, by his work on the cross in our behalf. As members of the church militant we must persevere by that faith until we too become part of that cloud of witnesses, the church triumphant. That church will reign with Christ forever in the new heaven and earth. As the last verses of the chapter state, our calling now is to live a life of sanctification while waiting on our entrance into that kingdom purchased by Christ. Sing Psalter 30.
November 7 Read Hebrews 13
Do you need to know what you must do as you run the race of faith on this present earth? Read this chapter often and then follow it. The theme is found in the first verse. Christ loved us as our elder brother; we must love our earthly brother in all things. This may not be easy, but it is a command. The writer expands on the theme by talking about our life in marriage, in the church, and toward rulers. Our life on this earth must show the activity of faith. Our salvation has been earned by a perfect high priest. Our calling is to live out of that salvation until our place in heaven is prepared for us. The writer also reminds us to pray. We should and we must, daily. As you finish your devotions today, reread verse 20 and make a new resolution to live the life that is set forth in this chapter. Sing Psalter 371.