Orthodox Christian Bible Commentary Series

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    2 Corinthians

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    Corinth was a very important commercial center which made it easy for it to be a place for all sorts of vice and evil. Also, its closeness to Athens added the problem of intellectualism. Greece was known for its philosophers and philosophy. St. Paul established the church of Corinth during his second missionary trip. Unfortunately, the immoral environment found in the city adversely affected the church. Reports of the problems within the church reached St. Paul's ears, and so he wrote an earlier letter (1 Corinthians) to answer these reports, correcting sinful practices and refuting false doctrine. In this second letter, written only a few months after the first, St. Paul, as a caring father, wanted to make sure that his rebukes in the earlier letter were received positively, and that it actually encouraged them to repent. He also focuses his letter on defending his apostleship, rebuking ungodly behavior that still persisted in Corinth, and to encourage them to collect money for the needy in Jerusalem. This letter is one that is quite beneficial to those serving others for God, as it explains how service should be, as we learn from the example of St. Paul.  This Orthodox Christian commentary is derived from a series of sermons given by His Eminence Metropolitan Youssef of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States, where His Eminence has been serving since the early 90s. 
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    Acts

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    As the only record of the first thirty years of the early Church, the book known as The Acts of the Apostles, follows the ministry of the apostles, with a particular focus on St. Peter in the first half, and St. Paul in the second half. The author of the book is St. Luke the Evangelist, "the beloved physician" as St. Paul described him (Colossians 4:14), who was a companion of the apostles during several missionary trips; it was the second historical account written by St. Luke to a man named Theophilus (assumed to be a Roman officer), with the first account being the Gospel of St. Luke (after which Theophilus is presumed to have converted to Christianity).  This book, inspired by God, records for us the establishment and early growth of the Church, and relates several conversions (Ethiopian eunuch, St. Paul, and Cornelius). Without this work, we would be without an answer to "what happened next" after the gospel accounts, we would not have the context to help us understand many of the writings of St. Paul, and we would not have the benefit of seeing the Holy Spirit's work in the ministry of the apostles, as they fulfilled God's directive and theme of this book: "You shall be witnesses to Me" (Acts 1:8).
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    Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians

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    COLOSSIANS: THE SURVIVAL OF CHRISTIANITY IN COLOSSE The budding congregation of Christians in the city of Colosse was threatened by the temptation to relapse to paganism. St. Paul steps in by writing this letter to warn them against apostasy, as well as other philosophies of men (such as Judaistic ceremonialism, angel worship, and an improperly harsh form of asceticism). The singular message St. Paul wanted to impress upon them was: Christ is the fullness of God and is the all-sufficient Savior. 1 THESSALONIANS: KEEPING THE SECOND COMING IN MIND St. Paul tries to remind the Thessalonians about the need to maintain their steadfastness in the faith, and he instructs them on how to live a holy life, worthy of their calling. He brings to their mind the Second Coming of Christ as a means of motivation and also comfort in light of the persecutions they had been facing. 2 THESSALONIANS: THE SECOND COMING—NOT JUST YET Having brought to their minds the Second Coming of Christ, some Thessalonians thought that the persecution they were enduring meant Christ was coming now (as in, in their lifetime), to the point that people quit their work! St. Paul corrects their misunderstanding and motivates them for continued spiritual progress.
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    Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians

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    [GALATIANS] St. Paul wrote this letter to the churches of Galatia, to respond to Judaizers who claimed that salvation was through the law. He proves that salvation is through the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  St. Paul also defended his apostleship, in response to attacks by Judaizers undermining him as not being an eyewitness of the Lord Jesus Christ. [EPHESIANS] St. Paul writes to the faithful in Ephesus (in modern-day Turkey), to describe the blessing of being members in the Church, which is the body of Christ, and also discusses the importance of behaving in a manner worthy of the calling to be members in Christ’s body.  [PHILIPPIANS] St. Paul wrote this letter while imprisoned in Rome under house arrest, expressing gratitude to the Philippians for their generous financial support, and comforting them because of their concern about him while he was in prison. In this letter, he conveys a tone of joy throughout, despite the circumstances he was facing.
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