August 11 Read Romans 12
From the beautiful doctrines of the preceding chapters, Paul exhorts us to a right way of life. It is a life of sanctification in whatever calling God has given to us. We would do well to reread this chapter throughout the year. Our life of Christian service is not one in which we do good deeds for the deeds’ sakes, but our life of Christian service is one in which we thank God for our salvation. These are not planned acts of service, but a right way of living every day. When we do this we glorify God and live at peace with the whole body of Christ. Sing Psalter 369.
August 12 Read Romans 13
There are three sections in this chapter. The first deals with the requirement to obey those whom God has put in authority over us. By obeying we live in accordance with the tenets of the fifth commandment. Think of when Paul wrote this. Obeying the cruel Roman government was no easy task, but it was the will of God for the Christians of that era. Next, Paul enjoins us to live peaceably with our neighbor. This is another aspect of the second great commandment. Finally, we are called to live a godly life even as we look ahead to the return of Christ. The true Christian religion is not just doctrinal; it is very necessarily practical. Sing Psalter 223.
August 13 Read Romans 14
Paul continues with a practical application of the doctrine of justification by faith. We must love our brothers and sisters in the Lord. This does not mean we love some of them; we must love them all. If we cause a brother to fall because of our actions, even though that action may be permissible, we are guilty of not loving that brother. This is one aspect of Christian liberty. We do well to heed the last verse of the chapter. As James says, we show our faith by our right walk before God. Let that be our goal as we live out of our salvation. Sing Psalter 371.
August 14 Read Romans 15
Paul finishes the discussion of the preceding chapter in the beginning of this one. Then he begins his closing remarks. He plans to come to Rome if it be the will of God. He uses the words of Isaiah to show these Gentiles that it is God’s will that they were brought into the church of Christ. We too must use the whole scripture as we seek how to live our life and to find the principles needed to live that life. His final words of the chapter are instructive as well. He calls upon the God of peace. The church of Christ of all ages needs the peace that comes from the God of peace. In all the actions of a congregation peace must be evident. May we seek the peace of God and live peaceably with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Sing Psalter 304.
August 15 Read Romans 16
Paul talks about two kinds of people in this concluding chapter. First, there is a list of those whom he wishes to be greeted or about whom he has good things to say. These are people who have either been zealous in the work of the gospel or upon whom the grace of Christ has abounded. The second group are those about whom the church must be on guard. These people do not seem to love the gospel and even attempt to do despite to the church of God. Finally, Paul closes with a loving benediction. May we seek the God of peace who gives grace to his people. Sing Psalter 315.
August 16 Read 1 Corinthians 1
On his three missionary journeys the apostle Paul visited many of the churches more than once. He first came to Corinth during his second missionary journey. While in Ephesus during his third missionary journey, he received news that things were not going well in Corinth. A major problem was a lack of unity in the congregation. This is evident in chapter 1. While there were other problems within the church, many of them stemmed from this primary problem. Notice that right away Paul says that proper preaching answers these questions. Who is to be preached? The answer is the crucified Christ. May we cherish this kind of preaching, knowing that in heeding it we will stay away from divisions in the churches. Sing Psalter 371.
August 17 Read 1 Corinthians 2
Paul continues with his discussion of the content of his preaching. Paul says that his preaching was not infused with the wisdom of the world, but the wisdom of God given to him by the Holy Spirit. The Corinthians seemed to have been enthralled with a good speech showing good logic. Yes, preaching needs to have sound logic in it, but it must be the logic found in the word of God. Let us seek that preaching weekly and not be desirous of preaching that is based on the wisdom of the world. Sing Psalter 334.
August 18 Read 1 Corinthians 3
This chapter is a continuation of the thoughts of the previous two. Paul reminds the Corinthians of their sinful divisions. He shows them that they are divided because they give not God the glory due to him in the preaching of the word. They are considering the preacher and not the content of the preaching, which is to be Christ. Christ is the foundation of his church, and he must be the foundation of the preaching that we seek. As we listen each Sunday to the preaching of the word—and we do listen, don’t we?—let us seek to hear Christ in each sermon. Only then will God’s name be glorified. Sing Psalter 428.
August 19 Read 1 Corinthians 4
People of God, in what esteem do you hold the ministers of Christ? Do you hold them in high esteem? Of course, that esteem may not be for earthly characteristics that they may or may not have. We may not esteem a preacher for his eloquent preaching, nor may we lightly esteem a man because he is not as eloquent as others are. Our esteem must be based upon the content of the word that they preach. If they preach the word, even if it is not in a way that we desire, we must esteem them, for it is the word that brings to us salvation. Let us esteem the messenger for the message that he brings. And preachers, bring the word and the word alone. Sing Psalter 325.
August 20 Read 1 Corinthians 5
The church of Corinth had allowed a man who had committed a terrible sin to continue in their congregation. For this Paul must take them to task using the word of God. Church discipline is one of the marks of the true church of Jesus Christ. To ignore this mark is to refuse to follow the commandment of our Lord Jesus. The keys of the kingdom have been given to the church. The church is to use all of their functions, one of which is discipline. If the elders must come to you using this key, receive them with thankfulness, as they have the care of your soul. In the end of the chapter Paul reminds the congregation with whom they may have fellowship. Who are your friends? Sing Psalter 216.
August 21 Read 1 Corinthians 6
The congregation of Corinth had a problem of living with one another in love. This seemed to be the root of many of their problems. We must love one another even as Christ loved us, as another sacred writer has exhorted us. We cannot pick and choose which saints we will love. We must love all those in the church. A second problem that plagued the Corinthians was misuse of Christian liberty. Christian liberty is not a license to sin; some in the church then and now have this wrong notion. Christian liberty is the glorious calling to please God in all that we do, and not to please ourselves. Let us walk in that glorious liberty we have been given and love one another as Christ loved us. Sing Psalter 369.
August 22 Read 1 Corinthians 7
Marriage is honorable, is the confession of the writer to the Hebrews. He also tells us to flee sins against the seventh commandment in our marriages. This was a problem for the Corinthians. They did not understand the beautiful relationship that is established in marriage. Just as Christ and his church have been joined together in an unbreakable bond, so must the bond between a man and a woman be unbreakable. Seeking marriage in the Lord is a good thing. Is that the kind of marriage that you are seeking, young people? Marry, but marry in the Lord who bought you with his blood. Sing Psalter 125.
August 23 Read 1 Corinthians 8
Another aspect of the proper use of Christian liberty is to not offend the Christian brother. Paul instructed the church at Rome in this matter, and now he has to instruct the church in Corinth. Not offending the brother is part of living with that brother in love. There are many aspects to this matter that must be examined. The proper use of this passage must be studied carefully. We must be careful not to take offense where it is not present. If we are the weaker brother, we must move past that weakness. Living in love with all in the church is a two way street. Let us share the street of love with all in Christ’s church. Sing Psalter 24.
August 24 Read 1 Corinthians 9
In this chapter Paul defends his right as an apostle over against charges that were leveled against him in the Corinthian church. We might ask why he felt he had to do this. The reason is simple. Paul has denied himself many things in order that the gospel might be brought to Corinth. It was not for his benefit that he was a preacher, but for the benefit of God. How do we treat those whom God has given to us to lead us in the green pastures of his word? Don’t think that it is just the minister whom we must hold in high esteem. We must also honorably treat those who have been called by God to be elders and deacons in our congregations, for they too are watchmen on the walls of Zion. Sing Psalter 362.
August 25 Read 1 Corinthians 10
At the end of the previous chapter Paul not only shows how he has denied himself, but he also shows how the child of God, in his denial of self, walks in a great gift. In this chapter he warns them that they must not left that gift go unused. He uses the example of the Israelites as they passed through the desert. Some thought that just because they had received the law at Sinai they would receive the promise of Canaan. Many died in the wilderness in their sins. Paul goes on to remind them to use their liberty in Christ in a right way. They were not to do evil, but they were also not to offend the brother in their use of earthly things. May we walk in liberty in a way pleasing to God. Sing Psalter 326.
August 26 Read 1 Corinthians 11
Throughout this letter Paul answers questions that the Corinthians have for him. In this chapter there are two of them. First, there is the matter of the proper conduct of women in the church. The Bible shows that we are to esteem the sister in Christ very highly. We can find many references where this is so. Yet just like a man, a woman must conduct herself in a proper manner in the church of Christ. Second, there was a misuse of the sacrament of the Lord’s supper. This is one of the marks of the true church of Christ. How do we use that holy sacrament? Do we wish it to be more than it should be? Do we make of it less than a mark? Proper conduct in the church helps us to live a life of sanctification before our God. Sing Psalter 203.
August 27 Read 1 Corinthians 12
Another issue in the church of Corinth was the use of spiritual gifts. It appears that the Holy Spirit had poured out many of these gifts upon this congregation. However, they had become proud and boasted that their gift was better than another. To show them a proper use, Paul compares the church of Christ to the human body. Just as no organ is unneeded, so no gift and its possessor are of no use in the congregation. From this analogy Paul hints at the beautiful exposition to come in the next chapter. Sing Psalter 369.
August 28 Read 1 Corinthians 13
In this short chapter we find the way that the child of God must walk is not only to live in harmony in the church of Christ, but also to glorify God in that walk. All of our gifts must be used in love. This is not self-love, but this is the love that keeps both aspects of God’s law. We must first love God above all things, and then we must love our neighbor as we love ourselves. In this way we can properly use whatever gift God has given to us in a way that is pleasing to him and profitable for his church. Sing Psalter 348.
August 29 Read 1 Corinthians 14
Paul continues and concludes his teachings about the use of spiritual gifts. It appears that the gift of speaking in tongues was a preferred gift in the church at Corinth. Paul implores the Corinthians to seek prophesying as a gift that will aid their worship of Jehovah. He goes on to rebuke them for a misuse of their gifts when they hinder a right worship of God. He finishes the chapter with a few other admonitions concerning worship ending with the well-known verse, “Let all things be done decently and in order.” May this be our desire as we worship God. Sing Psalter 137.
August 30 Read 1 Corinthians 15
It seems that another issue in the Corinthian church dealt with the truth of the resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees had long denied this truth, and now the error had come into the churches of the new dispensation. After a logical argument why the doctrine the resurrection had to be correct, Paul shows to the church of that day and to us the blessedness of believing this truth. In the resurrection we find extreme comfort. At the end of this exposition is the admonition to live a life of sanctification, fully expecting a greater glory to come. Sing Psalter 28.
August 31 Read 1 Corinthians 16
In the final chapter of this epistle, Paul deals with some practical matters concerning a collection and with his impending visit. Christ had told the church that they would always have the poor with them. In the time of this epistle, the church at Jerusalem was suffering extreme poverty. These new churches were encouraged to give liberally for the care of the saints in Jerusalem. We too need this admonition, as we also have the poor with us. In caring for our needy neighbor we care for Christ. Paul closes the epistle with a final admonition concerning those who do not walk in the truth. This too is for us. Sing Psalter 13.
September 1 Read 2 Corinthians 1
Since Paul had written the first epistle to the church at Corinth, he desired to see if his admonitions had had an effect. He was also worried that he had been too harsh on the church and that he had done despite to them and the cause of the gospel. By his providence God had not allowed him to go immediately to Corinth and had not let his messenger, Titus, meet up with him. This allowed the church at Corinth to use his advice with a good result. God cares for all of his people and makes it so that the work of the gospel will prosper. May we seek grace not to run ahead of God. Sing Psalter 234.
September 2 Read 2 Corinthians 2
In Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians, he gave them strict instructions to discipline a sinner. Now that Titus has met him and given to him the news of the man’s repentance, he instructs them in how to receive the sinner back into the fellowship of the saints. This is the goal of Christian discipline. We must be instructed first to keep this mark of a true manifestation of the church of a Christ, and second, when discipline is applied and has it appointed goal, to receive the sinner back into our fellowship. This takes grace upon the sinner and upon the congregation. Let us seek this grace each day as we walk with one another in love. Sing Psalter 83.
September 3 Read 2 Corinthians 3
There is a difference in the way God comes to his people in the old and new dispensations. In the old, God came to his people in the law and its ordinances, which were but types and shadows of the glorious gospel to come in the new. Now that we are recipients of that gospel, we must look ahead to a more glorious way that will be ours in glory. Both the law and the gospel have the intent of bringing God’s people to salvation. Let us learn from the old to live in the new as we prepare for the future. Sing Psalter 40.
September 4 Read 2 Corinthians 4
As we live this life on earth, we must always look above for the life that eye has not seen. We know that there is a glorious place and end awaiting us when our savior will return on the clouds of heaven. Yet the life on this earth is often marked by affliction and troubles. The Holy Spirit through Paul has comfort for us, as found in verse 17. The afflictions that we bear on earth are light when compared with the grandeur of glory that awaits us in heaven. People of God, do not despair of your afflictions. Look up and watch and wait for the glory that will be yours when Christ returns. Sing Psalter 29.
September 5 Read 2 Corinthians 5
Paul continues with the theme of the previous chapter in this one. We see that in the little word For that begins the first verse. We do not know when Christ will return, but if he tarries, the end for us is the dissolving of our earthly body by death. This is not a sorrowful event, as death is the passageway into glory for the child of God. Those of us who stand by an open grave may mourn our earthly loss, but we should rejoice at the gain of our dear, departed family member or friend. We who remain on this earth must constantly seek Christ, who gave himself for us that we too may have eternal glory. These are Paul’s words to us in the last part of the chapter. Sing Psalter 33.
September 6 Read 2 Corinthians 6
In the first part of the chapter Paul describes his work of preaching to the Corinthians. We should remember that while Paul’s preaching may not have won him any awards in Corinth for exemplary oration, his preaching was with power, the power of the word of God. By preaching God’s people are brought to salvation by justification through faith alone. In the last part of the chapter, Paul admonishes the Corinthians and us not to become unequally yoked with unbelievers. This admonition is one to which we would do well to pay heed in the world in which we live. Who are our friends? In what activities do we join with our neighbors? What would Paul say to us? Let us live a sanctified life in all that we do. This is the way of thankfulness for our salvation. Sing Psalter 206.
September 7 Read 2 Corinthians 7
Paul returns to one of the purposes of this epistle. That purpose is his joy at hearing that a sinner had repented of his sin through the work of Christian discipline. After digressing into other subjects, Paul comes back to this purpose. He tells the Corinthians to received this returned saint into their midst. He wants them to enjoy the unity that this event gives to the church. He is also comforted by this news. Christian discipline is a remedy for sin. It must be used in the right way, and when it brings the desired results, we must rejoice and be comforted in this way that God has given to his church. Sing Psalter 371.
September 8 Read 2 Corinthians 8
Paul now returns to another purpose of this epistle. The church in Jerusalem was suffering financially because of their faith. The churches of Greece had been exhorted to take benevolent collections for these suffering saints. Now Paul is reminding the church of Corinth that God had blessed them physically and spiritually. They needed to give gifts of thanksgiving that God had given to them for those suffering saints. We too need this instruction. Christ has told us that the poor we have always among us. Are we caring for them? Sing Psalter 24.
September 9 Read 2 Corinthians 9
Are we cheerful givers? As we place our offerings in the collection plates, what is our attitude? Do we give grudgingly, wishing that we could use that money for our own benefit? This is the subject of this second chapter concerning giving. Along with singing, giving is an active role that we have in our weekly worship of Jehovah. When we give, we are worshipping God. How are we worshiping—cheerfully or grudgingly? God has given to us a gift that cannot be described in human terms; it is “unspeakable!” What is our reaction to that gift? Sing Psalter 113.