John 3 – Nicodemus: The Best Dialogue Plato Never Wrote

Ah, the third chapter of John: home to the favorite verse of sports fans everywhere! If you’ve ever gone to a football game or channel-surfed for more than ten seconds (remember television?), you’ve doubtless seen the “John 3:16” signs in the crowds, pointing sports enthusiasts to perhaps the most concise statement of the gospel in all scripture. You’ll find this verse situated in the midst of a covert dialogue between Jesus and a powerful Pharisee named Nicodemus. Nicodemus has questions, and Jesus has answers.
And Nicodemus has more questions in response, because dang if Jesus’ answers don’t seem unnecessarily cryptic.

2 Timothy 4 – Paul in the Endgame

Time to say goodbye to Timothy. Paul signs off with his usual encouragement, exhortations, and personal notes mentioning various individuals by name, but it’s clear Paul wrote this letter late in life. He speaks about his life as a drink offering poured out to God, the conclusion of a victorious battle, the final hundred-meter push at the end of the eight-mile, and he urges Timothy to visit him as quickly as time permits. If Paul’s letters were a chord progression, this one would be a V chord, anticipating a move back to the tonic chord and the end of the song. This is the final chorus; this is the outro.

Colossians 3 – Don’t Do That, Do This

In my last few years of high school, I got into Dance Dance Revolution. I remember one song that began with a guy shouting, “Hey, you! Don’t do that! Do this!” And for the correct values of “that” and “this,” Colossians 3 is basically Paul telling his readers exactly that. It’s more moral instruction: having established where Christians stand in Christ, he discusses how they should therefore walk. Don’t do that; do this.

[On Sabbath] The Sabbath at the End of the Universe (Hebrews)

Some mentions of the Sabbath in the Bible won’t tell you much of anything about how to keep the Sabbath because they’re too literal. Remember all those times the Sabbath comes up in Acts that we skipped over because it’s just “on the Sabbath this thing happened?” Well, the fourth chapter of Hebrews is almost on the opposite side of the spectrum: you’ll barely find any guidelines or pointers on keeping the Sabbath because the chapter’s so metaphorical. …Or will you?