Philippians for the Practical Messianic

The letter of Paul to the Philippians is a frequently overlooked and disregarded text in the Bible by today’s Messianic community—yet it speaks so profoundly to many of the spiritual issues we are facing, or will undoubtedly be dealing with in the near future. Perhaps with the most Roman character of any other book of the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament), save Paul’s letter to the Romans, Philippians invites us into a community of First Century Believers on their own in the Roman colony of Philippi. These people are surrounded by neighbors who are hostile to both Judaism and the gospel message of Messiah Yeshua. Their numbers are few, but the Apostle Paul is able to consider them his close and affectionate friends, and seldom has a negative word for them. The Philippians are generous to his ministry work, and Paul has strong feelings for their well-being and calling in the Lord.

The Epistle to the Philippians presents us with many theological and social questions that cannot be avoided by anyone who reads it. Above all things, the Apostle Paul places Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) at the center of his life, and urges his Philippian brothers and sisters to do the same. He urges the Philippians to be kind, generous, and significantly different from their neighbors. He urges them to show humility and to be about the supreme service of the gospel, even unto death. He urges unity in the assembly, and that all demonstrate God’s love to others. He affirms the mystery of both the Divinity and humanity of Yeshua. Paul also recognizes the value of women in the local congregation as servants and leaders. For the modern Messianic, Philippians gives us a definitive example of how small fellowships and congregations on their own should function, in addition to the huge questions of how we must have a global vision that recognizes the virtues of other ethnicities and cultures, while still maintaining an Hebraic view of the Scriptures and God’s mission.

In the commentary Philippians for the Practical Messianic, Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee addresses many of the avoided issues that this text asks Messianic Believers. He takes into account the First Century Jewish and Roman background of Paul’s letter. He also considers the large amount of intertexual references that Philippians makes to the Tanach (Old Testament), deeply embedded in Paul’s vocabulary and mannerisms. Most importantly, he considers the centrality of Yeshua and His completed work for Paul, and how all human achievements pale in comparison to who He should be for us as born again Believers who have experienced His transforming power.

Also included in this commentary is an exposition on Acts 16:6-40: Paul’s visit to Philippi.

158 pages

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Ephesians for the Practical Messianic

The Epistle of Ephesians is a letter that contains a very important message for the people of God, who are to be encouraged in accomplishing His mission for the world. Yeshua the Messiah is portrayed as exalted above the cosmos, with His resurrection power being accessible to all Believers. God’s people have been selected by Him to be holy, corporately composing a Temple in which His presence can dwell. By the sacrificial work of the cross, Jewish and non-Jewish followers of the Messiah are to be united together as a “one new humanity”—the mystery of the gospel! All are to serve one another in the Body of Messiah in mutual submission, as Yeshua’s thoughts and mindset nourish the whole ekklesia. People are encouraged to emulate God in their behavior, living distinctively different lives from those around them.

In varying degrees, Ephesians has often been highly valued by today’s Messianic movement because of its emphasis of Jewish and non-Jewish Believers being a part of the Commonwealth of Israel. It does speak of the unity that we are to all have in the Lord, as a testament to the grander redemption of Creation that will come in the eschaton. But while Ephesians is a text that we often turn to, Messianics are often not aware of the more detailed issues surrounding this letter present in contemporary scholarship. Were the “Ephesians” the only audience who received the letter, or was this a general epistle written to Believers in Asia Minor? Did the Apostle Paul really write Ephesians, or was it written by a second generation Believer in his name? What is the specific debate surrounding the dividing wall that has been abolished by the cross—is the wall abolished really the Torah of Moses in its entirety or could it be something else? Are husbands the head/authority of their wives or the head/source of their wives? How interconnected is the composition of Ephesians with the composition of Colossians?

In the commentary Ephesians for the Practical Messianic, Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee addresses the known and unknown questions that this important letter asks us as Messianic Believers. A large Jewish and Greco-Roman Mediterranean background is considered of the issues. Careful and detailed attention has been given to the opinions present today surrounding the dividing wall, and complementarian and egalitarian views of the household codes. References to Tanach (Old Testament) concepts in the author’s words are considered, along with careful consideration for how Ephesians challenges us as a faith community trying to achieve our Father’s objectives. Poignant questions as to how we can be molded into a mature people are asked for today’s season of Messianic uncertainty.

238 pages

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1 Corinthians for the Practical Messianic

What has been commonly labeled the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, is actually a second piece of correspondence written to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 5:9), and is a letter which tends to be quite puzzling for not just Christian readers, but most especially Messianic readers. While 1 Corinthians is hardly a letter that goes unappreciated, being able to sort through the divisions, sectarianism, and inappropriate actions of the different groups among the First Century Corinthian Believers, is something that can catch many completely off guard. Not enough, in looking through 1 Corinthians, are aware that they are engaged in reading one side of a two-sided conversation, between the Apostle Paul and a group of people who widely, and in some cases desperately, needed discipline and help. Between the letters of 1 and 2 Corinthians, more was written from the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian Messiah followers, than any other group in the First Century C.E.

A diverse array of topics—ranging from Biblical faith being the true and genuine philosophy, to the proper application of God’s supremacy over all supernatural beings, to the gifts of the Spirit, to the personal status of different individuals—is considered in 1 Corinthians. Admonitions are issued to those caught in sin, as are answers to errant ideas or sayings circulating among sectors of the Corinthian Messiah followers. Pleas for the Corinthians to return to a steady and secure path of faith and trust in the Lord are issued.

Even with some discussion on parts of the letter of 1 Corinthians, here and there within the Messianic movement, 1 Corinthians still remains one of the most difficult and elusive writings within the Apostolic Scriptures (New Testament) for our faith community to examine. This resource, 1 Corinthians for the Practical Messianic, intends to change much of the insecurity that today’s Messianic people may have. Messianic Apologetics editor J.K. McKee focuses Messianic people on: the text of Paul’s letter, various translation issues from Greek into English, background issues from either Second Temple Judaism or Greco-Roman classicism, and academic proposals such as various statements in 1 Corinthians not at all being remarks of the Apostle Paul, but instead Corinthian slogans Paul is having to respond to or refute. This commentary is a significant resource for providing clarity to an epistle, where there has not been enough probing, for either its ancient or modern relevance.

Also included in this commentary is an exposition on Acts 18:1-18: Paul’s visit to Corinth.

410 pages

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 20-page excerpt