This is part of the 66 in 52 Bible Journaling Challenge. Over the course of the 52 weeks in 2018, I will focus in on one verse from each book of the Bible with many others who have signed up to join me. Each week I will be posting a summary page with some thought about that week’s book(s) of the Bible along with some links that may help our reflection. Click here to sign up if you want to join us at any point along the journey!
The Big Picture of Titus:
This three chapter letter was written by Paul to Titus as an encouragement to him. Paul wanted to offer some insights into the opposition that Titus was facing. This was likely written about AD 66 and in it we see some guidelines to help Titus in finding leaders in the church and how to teach quality doctrine no matter what others around him were saying.
The Big Picture of Philemon:
This letter from Paul to Philemon is short but fascinating. Onesimus was Philemon’s slave and at some point along the way had stolen from Philemon and ran away. Later Onesimus met Paul and became a Christian. This letter is a personal plea from Paul on behalf of Onesimus to welcome him back and treat him as a brother rather than a slave. Paul even offers to pay any debt that Onesimus might have owed to Philemon.
Incarnation in Titus:
One key theme we see in the book of Titus is the incarnation, which is the concept of Christ coming to earth to live among us. Titus 1:1-4, 2:11-14, and 3:4-7 all show that Christ coming as God in the flesh at a specific time in history is an crucial part of our faith. The section in chapter two shows that salvation comes through Christ and chapter three echos this adding that this was not because of anything we have done but because of God’s mercy and grace. The Holy Spirit is also mentioned in 3:5.
God’s Personal Nature in Philemon:
There are a lot of cool themes in this tiny book, but I once read about how its inclusion is a reminder of God’s personal nature, that he cares about each individual person. I love this reminder. He cares about ME! He cares about YOU! Here’s how Chuck Swindoll said it in a summary on the book:
“The letter to Philemon reminds us that God’s revelation to humanity is intensely personal. In more formal biblical works such as the Gospels or the epistle to the Romans or even Paul’s letters to churches at Philippi or Colossae, it might be easy to get the impression that God does not care or have time for the trials and tribulations in a single household. Philemon stands as one piece of strong evidence to the contrary, revealing that lofty doctrines such as the love of God, forgiveness in Christ, or the inherent dignity of humanity have real and pertinent impact in everyday life.
A Few Key Verses and Possible Reflection Questions/Prayers:
Some of us are planning to read through the whole book or books each week, while others are just focusing in on one verse per book. This section of the weekly intro post might help you narrow down a verse to reflect on for the week, but you do not have to choose one of these verse, pick any section of the book you want! These are just some ideas.
- “I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. 2 This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began.” (Titus 1:2b-3)
REFLECTION: Some people spend time wondering if they have eternal life. Here we see we can be confident in this gift God had in store from before the world began. What makes you confident to trust this promise?
- “He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.” (Titus 2:14)
REFLECTION: Where do you need to live in Christ’s freedom right now?
- “But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy…”
REFLECTION: In what ways do you ever try to earn God’s salvation that he offered as a free gift?
- “I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith that you have toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints…” (Philemon 1:4-5)
REFLECTION: In this Thanksgiving week, who is someone you are thankful for? Who around you has deep love and faith and how can you show them your gratitude this week?
- “.. though I am bold enough in Christ to command you…. yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you…” (Philemon 1:8-9)
REFLECTION: Think about your job, your family, your relationships… where is a place where you have authority and could “command” obedience but might get a better response to appeal for love’s sake?
Some Other Resources:
- The Bible Project summary video for Titus
- The Bible Project summary video for Philemon
- A Pinterest board with resources and pictures for Titus
- A Pinterest board with resources and pictures for Philemon
- The 66 in 52 Schedule and Tracking Sheet
So now it’s your turn! Pick a verse and settle in this week, or read through the whole book. If you post any picture or blogs on social media, tag them with #66in52challenge so we can all share in this journey together!