Tag Archives: religion

Humble yourself

pexels-photo-963486Intro: Don’t pray for humility, or better yet, do.

Text:   [Luk 14:1-14 NIV] 1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from abnormal swelling of his body. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him on his way. 5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull it out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.

7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Thesis: Any place you go, pause to put yourself in the mindset of the Lord and of the people you are with. Do this not out of anxiety, but out of love.

Trans:  There is no parallel to this passage in the other gospels. These details from Journey to Jerusalem are unique to Luke.

Trust the Lord for discernment

  1. Trust the Lord when going into difficulty. This takes a humility of mind, a lack of presumptuousness.
    1. Jesus is being watched, and he knows it. Willfully chooses to go to the home of a leader of the Pharisees.
    2. The man with dropsy was probably brought in by the Pharisees in order to test Jesus.
  2. Discern the true need of the moment – healing was the need, not a tradition. Jesus discerned the intent of his hosts and addressed it.
    1. This takes the Holy Spirit. Are we in prayer and submission to Him?
  3. Discern between your own habits and the commands of God
    1. David Guzik: “When Jesus healed the man, His accusers believed that He workedon the Sabbath, and violated God’s command, but that wasn’t true. With this question, Jesus reminded them that there was no command against healing on the Sabbath. Jesus never broke the commandments of God, but He often offended man’s traditions that surrounded and extended the commandments of God. The commandments of God are enough, and we should never make the traditions of man – even good traditions – equal to the commandments of God (Mark 7:8-9).”

Trans:  Tell my own chair story

Don’t take the nice chair

  1. [Phl 2:5-11 NIV] 5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; 7 rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death–even death on a cross! 9 Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
  2. What is a mindset of humility?
    1. Others-focused
    2. Not false-humility (narcissism)
    3. Joy/gratitude-based

Trans:  When we are grateful, we are generous. When have we given to someone who could not repay us?

Invite the poor

  1. An evidence of humility in our lives is an eagerness to honor those of humble position
  2. [Pro 19:17 NIV] 17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.
    1. This is very much what v. 14 says, the Lord who sees what is done in secret will honor and repay us
  3. [Pro 16:19 NIV] 19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
    1. To act justly bears greater reward than to seek financial gain as the first order of our lives.
  4. [Rom 12:16 NIV] 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
    1. Why do we have conflict? Pride, ego, a need to defend our own rights.
    2. Defend the rights of others, not our own.

Trans:  Jesus was having a table set before him in the presence of his enemies. Despite this, he knew exactly what to say.

Conclusion: Jesus faces the deep challenge of those who hate him by listening to their hearts, caring for those in need, and teaching on the need for humility.


Fire and swords (Luke 12:49-53)

pexels-photo-2278646

Intro: I’m glad Jesus was self-employed, because he definitely would have been referred to HR.

Text:    [Luk 12:49-53 NIV] 49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and what constraint I am under until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Thesis: Jesus was unafraid to face the challenges this world would present to him and his followers. He knows his actions and truth will bring division and hardship, and he dives in head-first with a full knowledge of the consequences.

Trans: F.F. Bruce’s The Hard Sayings of Jesus devotes three chapters to the first two verses of this passage. The beginning of this section is wrapped in a mystery we get to push through to find the application to our hearts.

Fire and baptism

  1. Context points to preparedness for his “coming” (1st and 2nd)
    1. [Luk 12:40, 56 NIV] 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” … 56 Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?
    2. If this is the interpretation of this passage, then Jesus is anticipating the moment of his glorification (Ascension? Second coming?)
    3. However, he admits that it is not yet to be (already…not yet)
  2. Wider biblical lens points to his crucifixion as a possibility
    1. The Jews acceptance or rejection of Jesus was an eternally divisive issue
    2. Jesus’ claim to be the messiah who would die was a bitter pill to swallow, and itself would set people apart, which also being his fiery baptism
  3. Ultimately, we know:
    1. Jesus was bringing salvation now in preparation for a promised judgement later
      1. a) [Jhn 3:17 NIV] 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
      2. b) [Jhn 5:22 NIV] 22 Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son,
    2. Jesus was inaugurating the fire of the Holy Spirit, which could only come once he left
    3. Jesus was already baptized in water, and is almost definitely prophesying his death here, and how that death would cause division among his people

Trans:  Jesus pulls no punches here. While he usually spoke in parables, and this section is no exception, the intensity of what he and he and his disciples would face was not for hiding.

Division? (In Matthew:) A sword?! – let me start by making it worse

  1. Consider the violent statements already in this chapter: [Luk 12:4-5, 10, 20, 47 NIV] 4 “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. … 10 And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. … 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ … 47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows.
  2. Look at Jesus in Revelation: [Rev 19:11-16, 21 NIV] 11 I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. 12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14 The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords. … 21 The rest were killed with the sword coming out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.
  3. We need to remember that our Lord is the king of heavens armies, the Lord of hosts. He has authority and the might to enforce it. Sometimes, we need a mighty conqueror to be on our side!
  4. That is why it is so much more amazing that he is the price of peace. Hear him:
    1. [Luk 10:5-6 NIV] 5 “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ 6 If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.
    2. [Luk 19:42 NIV] 42 “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace–but now it is hidden from your eyes.
    3. [Luk 24:36 NIV] 36 While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
    4. [Jhn 14:27 NIV] 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid
    5. [Jhn 16:33 NIV] 33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
    6. [Jhn 20:19, 21, 26 NIV] 19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” … 21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” … 26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”
  5. What is Jesus’ view when violence comes his way?
    1. [Heb 12:2 NIV] 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
    2. The world seeks to put us to shame. Scorn this shame! You are hidden with Christ in God, seated in heavenly places!

Trans:  If this is who you are, children of the mighty king, how should we face the challenges of this life?

Where is our loyalty?

  1. Persecution is to be expected
    1. Matthew gives some of the answer: [Mat 10:38-39 NIV] 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.
    2. [Jhn 16:2 NIV] 2 They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.
  2. This is not about seeking out division and conflict
    1. [Mic 7:4, 6-7 NIV] 4 The best of them is like a brier, the most upright worse than a thorn hedge. The day God visits you has come, the day your watchmen sound the alarm. Now is the time of your confusion. … 6 For a son dishonors his father, a daughter rises up against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law–a man’s enemies are the members of his own household. 7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.
    2. Consider this direction: [1Co 7:13 NIV] 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him
    3. [Rom 12:18, 21 NIV] 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. … 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
  3. Are you prepared to be a fool for Christ?
    1. [1Co 4:10-13 NIV] 10 We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honored, we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world–right up to this moment.
    2. [1Co 3:18-19, 23 NIV] 18 Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; … 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
    3. [1Co 1:18-20, 25, 27 NIV] 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” 20 Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? … 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength. … 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

Trans:  Are you already a fool for Christ? Are you ready to pursue this calling?

Conclusion:

  • Do you feel foolish for expressing your faith? Then you’re probably doing something right.
    • There is a difference between criticism from “outside” vs. “inside”
  • Do you feel the condemnation of Jesus’ fiery judgment? Then, remember that you are called to be “in” him.
  • Are you concerned with violence and intolerance? Remember that the truth is intolerant but leads to life.

 


Conscience, Conviction and Unity – Romans 12 and 14

https://1drv.ms/u/s!Auq7HAi24rrq_DG9asCOMe5vLooQ

The link above goes to the audio file of a sermon I delivered on July 31, 2016 on Romans 12 and 14. The unifying theme is living by our biblical convictions, even when those convictions don’t mesh well with the convictions of others. My notes are below.

 

Intro: A conviction I was raised with:

  • No TV shows involving ninjas, other martial arts – due to false religion and violence – Deut 7:25-26 25 The images of their gods you are to burn in the fire. Do not covet the silver and gold on them, and do not take it for yourselves, or you will be ensnared by it, for it is detestable to the Lord your God. 26 Do not bring a detestable thing into your house or you, like it, will be set apart for destruction. Regard it as vile and utterly detest it, for it is set apart for destruction.
  • No Halloween

Text:    Romans 12 and 14 (bold for my points of emphasis)

Romans 12 (ESV)

12 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. 17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 14

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; 11 for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess to God.”

12 So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

13 Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. 14 I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. 15 For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. 16 So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

20 Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. 21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. 22 The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

 

Thesis: God did not make a church of clones. He allows us to seek him in our imperfect flesh, guided and guarded by the Holy Spirit. Despite that flesh, the Spirit speaks to us and directs us. We can be confident that God’s word is always true, reliable, and to be obeyed. There are, however, matters of conscience in which one feel’s the Spirit’s conviction, but another does not.

Trans: Who is wrong? How can we be a unified body if people are convicted differently about different actions?

  • Is it ok for a “couple” to hold hands on a missions trip?

Conscience

  1. We should not do things the way the world does them.
    1. 12:1-2 present your bodies as a living sacrifice, Do not be conformed to this world. Theme for the next few chapters. Through 15.1-2. The reason we are a living sacrifice is because Christ was.
    2. 12:9 Abhor (ἀποστυγέω – from deep hatred) what is evil; hold fast to what is good.
    3. [Phl 1:10-11 ESV] 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
  2. Acting in conscience means acting in humility
    1. 12:3 – I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned
      1. What is this “measure of faith”? According to one’s spiritual gifts given by the HS. Paul will also explain in ch 14
    2. 12:12,13,16 – “be constant in prayer…seek to show hospitality…Do not be haughty [high and mighty], but associate with the lowly [near the ground]. Never be wise in your own sight.”
  3. Conscience comes from insight provided to us by the Holy Spirit
    1. These aren’t just opinions. The HS has guided our faith and we are accountable to obey
    2. 14:5-6 Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind… The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

Trans: Before delving into this, we should understand the situation Paul is addressing. Observe, then interpret, then apply.

2 situations he addresses:

  • Jew/Gentile combo church – issue over food sacrificed to idols and celebration of Jewish holidays
  • Compare to a modern vegan, acting under firm conviction

Conviction

  1. Recognize that there are many areas that are not grey. God has spoken.
    1. Also recognize that often, disputes of conviction come because 1 thinks that it is a matter of personal conviction, while another regards the issue as a firm, clear teaching of Scripture.
  2. Modern examples? (that are safe to discuss)
    1. Worship song preference
    2. Movie choice, theater attendance
    3. Eating at a restaurant that has a bar
    4. Playing with dice or cards
    5. Dressing for church – either up or down
    6. Time wasters – phones, sports, tv
  3. How do we respond? Paul offers these teachings.
    1. First, as a minor, honor your father and mother
    2. If you find yourself to be the stricter one
      1. You honor the Lord by abstaining in order to worship and honor him
      2. Check your motives, have you created a rule out of your own, or a cultural, sense of honor that is not explicitly biblical?
        1. Are you trying to demonstrate moral superiority, or worse, try to cover up your own failings by finding weakness in someone else?
        2. Be fully convinced, if you are truly convicted in this area, obey the Lord’s convictions fully.
      3. Be mindful that some of your sins are a result of your own unnecessary strictness or even legalism (enforcing the man-made standard on someone else)
        1. 14:23 – “But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.”
    3. If you find yourself to be the less strict one
      1. You honor the Lord by appreciating your freedom trusting that his “yoke is easy”
      2. Do not argue for others to drop their standards
        1. 14:1 – As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.
        2. Check your motives, are you trying to “get away” with something immoral, or are you truly acting in the freedom of Christ with a clear conscience?
        3. Do not partake or participate in something that will offend someone else. This is becoming a “hindrance.” It will be difficult for the other believer to relate to you if you put this issue into the relationship. Honor them by obeying their standard when they are around.
          1. 14:13,15 – For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love.
          2. 14:20 – Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats.
      3. Notice, all along, the focus is on being mindful of one’s own actions and how they affect the body

Trans: Elder Paisios – “If you want to help the Church, it is better to try to correct yourself, rather than be looking to correct others. If you manage to correct yourself, one small part of the Church is immediately corrected. Naturally, if everyone did the same, the body of the Church would be in good health. But, today, people concern themselves with anything but themselves. You see, judging others is easy, whereas working on yourself takes effort.”

Unity

  1. The purpose of this section was to bring unity in a divided church without minimizing the importance of the guidance of the HS in individual lives.
  2. If a person is legitimately seeking to honor God, He receives that honor as honor.
  3. Ultimately what honors him and brings him satisfaction is our mutual submission and respect
    1. 12:16 – “Live in harmony with one another.”
    2. 14:19 – “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
    3. 14:18 – For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
  4. Fruit of the spirit v works of the flesh Gal 5 – walk in the spirit
  5. Where is the balance? Gal 5:16,18 “16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”

Trans: What must we do? Repent. Forgive. Repeat.

Conclusion: Pursue humility. Pursue sincerity. Pursue Christlike holiness.


God’s action in an evil world

I had the privilege of worshiping the Lord in music and in thought this morning. After an important message on the psychology and spiritual background to the evil actions of mankind from Dr. Ryan Darrow, I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion that dealt with the following:

  1. What is evil?
  2. Where does evil come from?
  3. Can we be rescued from evil?
  4. Where is God when evil happens?
  5. What is God doing in this calamitous season?

View the service here: https://venue.streamspot.com/video/f99d9d4618

Please comment below with any questions you wish we would have addressed or any responses of your own. I’d love to sort through these questions together here.


Read the Deuterocanon

There are many who follow a plan, often yearly, to read the 66 books of the  Protestant Bible. However, I find it also helpful and interesting to read books associated with and important to Christianity outside the Bible. This year, I’ve come up with a plan to read these books (very slowly) throughout the year.

I’ve chosen books from 2 categories. First are the Apocrypha or Deuterocanon recognized as Scriptural by the Catholic and/or Orthodox Christian faiths. Second are books highly regarded by early Christians. Some were even considered “canonical” by a bishop or two.

Even if not considered Scriptural, none of the books on this list have been rejected as heretical by any major Christian group and are usually considered helpful in understanding the history of Salvation.

Enjoy, modify, and feel free to pass it on.