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Archippus is Encouraged to Complete His Work

Learn about Archippus

Archippus is mentioned twice in the Bible, both times in letters from Paul. First, in the letter to Philemon, Archippus is one of the addressees and is called “a fellow soldier.”

Then in Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, he inserts a personal message to Archippus. Paul says, “See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.”

When God calls us to a task, we need to complete it. Click To Tweet

Over the years, I have talked to scores of people who enthusiastically share what God has called them to or told them to accomplish. Sadly, when I run into them later, I learn that they haven’t followed through. 

I find that something distracted them, that they decided their own ideas superseded God’s, or some such other excuse.

When God calls us to a task, we need to complete it.

[References: Philemon 1:2 and Colossians 4:17.]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

What Kind of Person Are You?

Paul affirms Tychicus as a dear friend, faithful minister, and servant of God

Tychicus is a character in the Bible who most people don’t know. His name occurs only five times, once in Acts and four times in Paul’s letters. The letter to the Colossian church is one example.

Each time Tychicus’s name is mentioned, it’s in passing, and we know little about him, except that Paul often uses him to carry messages to the various churches.

We learn the most about Tychicus’s character in Paul’s letter to the church in Colossi. Once again Paul plans to send him to this church, carrying news about Paul. After he tells them this, he also gives us three characteristics of Tychicus:

A Dear Brother

First Paul affirms Tychicus as a dear brother. Think of him as a much loved, valued friend. We all want to have friends like that. But the place for us to start is to be a friend like that. May we be a dear, loved, and valued friend to others.

A Faithful Minister

In addition to Tychicus’s loyalty, Paul confirms he’s also a faithful minister. First, focus on the word faithful. Tychicus is trustworthy, dependable, and consistent in his work. Paul knows he can count on him.

Next, look at the word minister. Today we think of a minister as someone who preaches sermons and leads a church. But given what we know of Tychicus’s activities, his work as a minister carries the connotation of a helper, representative, and liaison.

That means he works behind the scenes, not upfront where people would see him or offer praise. Tychicus seems both competent and content in this role that other people today may deem as unworthy. May we be a faithful minister like Tychicus.

A Fellow Servant of God

The final trait Paul mentions is Tychicus is a servant of God, just like Paul. Though we may equate the word servant to slave, that could be an overreach. A true servant has a desire to serve others. This means serving God, with the practical application of serving Paul and the church.

Being a servant requires humility. Not many people possess this characteristic, but Paul values Tychicus as God’s servant. May we likewise aspire to serve God as we help others in his name.

May we aspire to serve God as we help others in his name. Click To Tweet

These three traits reveal so much about Tychicus. Though he’s not a celebrated leader or a prolific writer, he’s a godly person, a worthy example for us to follow.

May we be more like Tychicus, someone who’s a dear friend, faithful minister, and servant of God.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Colossians 1-4, and today’s post is on Colossians 4:7.]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Aristarchus Suffers for His Faith

Learn More about Aristarchus

Another of Paul’s friends, mentioned in his letter to Philemon, is Aristarchus. We first hear of him in Acts. We learn that he is a Macedonian from Thessalonica who is traveling with Paul on one of his missionary journeys.

Later, when Paul is sent to Rome as a prisoner, faithful Aristarchus (along with Luke) travel with him. By his actions we see that Aristarchus is both loyal and supportive.

He is also esteemed by Paul as a fellow worker, as well as being mentioned as a fellow prisoner. Just like Epaphras, his assistance to Paul and service to God does not preclude him from suffering.

While righteous suffering for our faith is not a given, it should not be viewed as an anomaly either. Like many others, Aristarchus is afflicted for following Jesus and living a life of service to him.

If we suffer because of something foolish we said or did, that is not suffering for God, but suffering for our errors. Click To Tweet

If we do suffer, however, it is important to suffer for the right thing. If we suffer because of something foolish we said or did, that is not suffering for God. It is suffering for our own shortcomings. There is nothing noteworthy or godly about that.

If we suffer, may we suffer for the right things.

[References: Acts 19:29, 20:4, & 27:2, Philemon 1:24, and Colossians 4:10.]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Who is Barsabbas?

Learn More about Barsabbas

Barsabbas is by no means a familiar character in the Bible. In fact, he is only mentioned twice—both times in the book of Acts. What makes him an intriguing fellow is his character and integrity.

You see, Barsabbas, along with Matthias, were both considered to become Judas’s replacement, to become the twelfth disciple. Instead of conducting interviews (as would be done nowadays) or even taking a vote, the decision was made by a game of chance. That seems a cavalier and unspiritual thing to do.

To do this, the people prayed for God’s guidance in this process, trusting him in the outcome—and then they drew lots. Matthias was selected (Acts 1:23-26). Barsabbas could have pouted, felt rejected, left the group in a huff, or been mad at the leaders.

He could have even been angry with God. After all, if God’s hand was really in this selection, as they had prayed, then it was God who decided to not pick Barsabbas. Its one thing for a person to tell you “no,” but for God to say “no” carries much more weight.

Yet we don’t hear of him having any of these negative responses. We see no indication that he reacted with disappointment. Apparently, he stuck around and continued to make God his priority and focus, for we next hear of him in Acts 15:22 where he was chosen to be part of an important delegation sent to Antioch.

He proved his true character in how he reacted to not being chosen—that’s integrity.

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Demas, the Deserter

Learn More about Demas

Whereas John-Mark had an early collapse and then made a comeback, Demas started strong but ended in failure.

He began well. In Paul’s letter to Philemon, Demas is called a co-worker and in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Demas sends his greetings. Clearly he was involved with Paul’s ministry in a helpful and supportive role.

However, in one of Paul’s darker moments, he sadly laments that Demas “loved the world” and “deserted me.” Despite his one-time standing as a co-laborer of Paul, the man did not finish well.

Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Demas first looked back and then he went back, turning his back on Paul, on ministry, and on God.

Looking to our past, we see both successes and failures. Today we stand at a crossroads. What will our future look like? Click To Tweet

Unlike John/Mark who started poorly and finished strong, Demas started well and finished poorly.

Looking on our past, we see both successes and failures. Today we stand at a crossroads. What will our future look like? Will we turn our back on our faith like Demas or finish well like John-Mark?

May it not be said of use that we loved the world more than God or that we deserted our friends and colaborers when they needed us the most.

[References: Philemon 1:24, Colossians 4:14, 2 Timothy 4:10, Luke 9:62.]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Lessons from the Life of John Mark

Learn More about John Mark

There is an interesting story that begins in Acts 13. From it we can learn about the life of John Mark.

God tells the church to commission and send out Barnabas and Paul to other cities, telling the people they meet about Jesus. They do this, taking with them John (also called, John Mark or just Mark).

A Rough Start

The thing is, God didn’t tell them to take John Mark. He apparently doesn’t belong there. This is borne out later, when John Mark deserts Barnabas and Paul to return home.

Later, Barnabas wants to give John Mark a second chance (an example of mercy), but Paul says “no” (an example of justice). They part company over this disagreement, each going their separate ways.

This might seem like a bad development, but it turns out to be good, as they are then able to cover twice the ground, doubling their effectiveness and outreach.

A Strong Finish

For John Mark, his story ends on a positive note, too, with him and Paul later being reconciled (an example of grace) and Paul esteeming John Mark as his fellow worker and as being useful to him.

This is a great lesson in life. Despite making mistakes along the way, we can still finish well. John Mark did and so can we.

[Acts 13:2-3, 5, 13; Acts 15:36-41; Colossians 4:10, Philemon 1:24, and 2 Timothy 4:11]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Epaphras Wrestles in Prayer

The letter to Philemon ends with a list of supporting players who send their greetings and implicitly endorse Paul’s missive of reconciliation.

First up is Epaphras, who by being singled out, stands alone in noteworthy acclaim.  Simply and succinctly, Paul notes that Epaphras is “my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus.”

The Bible only contains two other references to Epaphras, both occurring in Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae.  First, in the opening lines, Paul calls him a “dear fellow servant” and then a “faithful minister.”

Suffering for Jesus, may just be affirmation that what we are doing for him is right. Click To Tweet

Later, in his closing remarks, Paul, again confirming that Epaphras is a servant of Jesus, adds that “He is always wrestling in prayer.”  I’m not really sure what it means to wrestle in prayer, but it is a compelling image. 

I welcome anyone who would wrestle in prayer for me—and I hope to do the same for others.

So, Epaphras is a servant of Jesus, a faithful minister, and a devotee to prayer.  For this, he spends time behind bars.

Doing the right things for Jesus doesn’t necessarily keep us from suffering for him.  In fact, suffering for Jesus, may just be affirmation that what we are doing for him is right.

[Read about Epaphras in Philemon 1:23, Colossians 1:7, and Colossians 4:12.]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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The Friends and Foes of Jesus

Discover How People in the New Testament React to God’s Good News

Jesus Was Loved. He Was Hated. But He Was Never Ignored

Some people think Jesus was easy-going. Hardly. Everything he did and said sparked passionate reaction. He polarized people. Some adored Jesus to the point of dying for him. But those who feared and hated him ended up killing him.

The Friends and Foes of Jesus, by Peter DeHaan

If You’ve Never Looked Deep into Both Perspectives . . . It’s Time You Did

  • Discover the surprising things those who loved him did—and how you can do the same
  • Dig into those who hated him and avoid their tragic mistakes
  • See yourself in each character—the good and the bad—and face some fascinating choices

Plus, at the end of each example, you’ll find a thought-provoking question that will stir you into action.

Will this book challenge you? Yes. Will it make you uncomfortable (in a positive way)? Absolutely. Will it change your life as you look at the people who surrounded Jesus in a way you’ve never seen them before? Without question.

Let the revelations begin.

Get your copy of The Friends and Foes of Jesus today.

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Onesimus, the Useful One

The focus of Paul’s letter to Philemon is Onesimus, the runaway slave. Ironically, Onesimus means “useful.”

After Onesimus flees, he encounters Jesus through Paul. Paul mentors the escaped slave and the two begin working together. However, it is not right for him to remain with Paul—even though what they are doing is important. To do so would be to defraud Philemon of Onesimus’s labor.

So Paul encourages the runaway to return to his master, despite the risk it involves. A recaptured slave could have been punished or imprisoned for an attempted escape. To facilitate a positive reunion, Paul writes a letter to Philemon, pleading that mercy be accorded his salve.

While we don’t explicitly know the outcome of this drama, we can reasonably deduce it.

First, Paul’s petition on Onesimus’s behalf is so powerfully worded that it is hard to image anyone not complying.

Second, in the only other mention of Onesimus in the Bible, Paul announces that he is sending him and Tychicus to the people of Colossi. Paul also affirms the runaway slave as being faithful and a dear brother.

Since this trip could not have reasonably occurred prior to him returning to Philemon, it can be safely assumed that Philemon did as Paul requested, allowing his slave to return to Paul to work with him on Philemon’s behalf. This would put Onesimus in a position to take a trip to Colossi.

At last Onesimus can be useful indeed—to both Paul and Philemon, as well as to the Colossians and to God. This all happened because he did the right thing, returning to his master despite the risk.

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Colossians 1-4 and today’s post is on Colossians 4:7-9.]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Bible Insights

Inherit Eternal Life

The Bible tells the story of a rich young ruler who asks Jesus the question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

His use of the word inherit is interesting—and a bit confounding.

His question implies that salvation is inherited. Is this a misconception of the man posing the question? Surely we cannot inherit a right relationship with God from our parents or relatives. This is not a condition that is passed on to us, but one we need to seek and receive on our own.

The man’s use of the word inherit, however, does imply that eternal life is a gift given after the death of a benefactor and it can’t be earned. These conclusions are both true.

We do not earn our future life in heaven; it is given to us.

And, yes, someone had to die before we could receive this inheritance, but it’s not a relative; it’s Jesus.

Jesus died so we could have life. Thank you, Jesus!

[Read through the Bible with us this year. Today’s reading is Luke 16-18 and today’s post is on Luke 18:18.]

Read more about other people in the New Testament in The Friends and Foes of Jesus, now available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.