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How Do These Books All Fit Together?

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...

Titus 3:3–7
How Do These Books All Fit Together? Book Cover

After Jesus rose from the grave, he spent forty days on earth continuing to witness to his disciples and others. After that time, he ascended into heaven. The disciples expected his return to be quick. As Luke described it in the book of Acts, after the birth of the church the new believers would gather together daily. They sold their belongings and shared whatever they had with one another, all as they waited for Jesus to return (Acts 4:32). But as time passed, it became clearer to the apostles and the early teachers of the church that their wait would be longer than they had originally anticipated, and life needed to go on. Motivated by their love and concern for the wellbeing of the church, they began teaching the early believers what it meant to live as followers of Jesus in their ordinary lives, even as they waited for their savior’s return.

And that’s exactly what the New Testament letters bring to the story of the Bible. Beginning with Romans and all the way through Jude, whether we’re studying Paul’s instructions to Philemon about how to receive a runaway slave back into his home or John’s call to love one another, the letters teach us how to live lives that reflect Jesus—what Paul called “walking in a manner worthy” of God’s calling—in practical, ordinary ways all the while never letting go of “our blessed hope,” which is the day Jesus will return (2 Peter 3:11–12; Ephesians 4:1; Titus 2:13).

teaching the church hope

But the letters aren’t the only books that have something to teach. The book of Revelation does its own kind of teaching. While through their letters, Paul, Peter, James, the writer of Hebrews, Jude, and John teach us how to live as followers of Jesus, John’s prophetic vision in the book of Revelation teaches us how the story of the Bible will come to its ultimate fulfillment. As John shares his vision of thrones and scrolls and trumpets, we see the story of the Bible, from Genesis to Judges to the Prophets and the Gospels and finally to Revelation, is all about God redeeming his people and offering a path to life. A redeemed life. A new life that is found in Jesus alone. A life where one day tears and injustice and death will be no more.

There’s a word that captures that kind of life: shalom. Although this Hebrew word is often translated “peace,” there’s no English word that captures everything shalom represents. Because while shalom does stand for peace, it also stands for wholeness and harmony and completeness and prosperity. And not only does it stand for the presence of everything that is good, it also stands for the absence of everything that is not. Shalom is the rhythm of the life to come. It is the rhythm of life with God. As the letters teach us how to live, the book of Revelation teaches us to live with hope, knowing that the story of the Bible is a story of a God who moves all of history to restore his shalom.

May John’s words take root in our hearts and lives. “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20)

Revelation is all about God redeeming His people and offering a path to life.


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Daily Question

As followers of Jesus, we are not only waiting for God’s ultimate shalom, we are also called to be bearers of shalom in our communities and in our world. Where do you see a need for God’s shalom? How can you bring a little bit of shalom to your neighborhood, workplace, friend group, or family?

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Comments (12)

I see the need for God’s shalom in the faces and lives of so many (including myself) who have gone through loss of something this past year and a half. So many things that were thought to be a given, even amongst believers, have shown not to be and that has led to the loss of peace, joy, hope, and trust. We have been reminded that this world is not our home. Yet, as Christ followers, we get to walk alongside Him in bringing a bit of shalom here on earth. I can do this by reminding myself and others of the promises of His Word, by loving others, by praying for one another and by choosing and sharing joy each day.

Shameika thank you so much for your thoughts, words and insight. I look forward to reading your responses each day! God has given you a gift with words.

We need The peace that God gives everyday not as the world gives. I can be Gods hands and feet and choose joy over fear.

It is not difficult to see where Shalom is needed. Today, we see more hate for others with differing viewpoints, more unsettled hearts, more selfishness and greed, more self hate, more homelessness and more of God’s people needing help. God calls us to LOVE one another, no matter the obstacle. By being the light for everyone I encounter, whether a neighbor, co-worker, student, friend, family member, someone I met on the street, anyone, I can bring a small piece of Shalom with me wherever I go. That confident feeling of Hope in Jesus Christ, no matter what the circumstance, may possibly make someone stop and ask what it is that gives me thatlight, that Hope and Love for others no matter what I am faced with!

I see a need for God’s Shalom everywhere today. We live in a time of unrest and division that is growing. Starting in homes that are dealing with change due to Covid and the economy, to the streets with those that have become victims of this time, to our cities and communities with crime and uncertainty, to our provinces, country and the world. The uncertainty and fear that people are feeling creates a longing for Shalom. Being a bearer of God’s peace and hope wherever I am is a way I can bring Shalom. Listening and sharing calmness, prayer and being the hands of God in His work.

God’s Shalom right now is needed in every state, our country, the world. I feel the pandemic really pushed people
to fear, panic and know they aren’t in control. This has brought out the ugly, meanness, hatred of so many lost people.
I feel we really need to be on our knees praying for our country and the world. I can help bring a little bit Shalom to my friends, family by encouraging when, listening when they need to talk, share their concerns. I pray for them and spend time together. I share bible verses and some articles, readings I get from my church weekly.
I can be a support by listening and praying for my neighbors and those in my workplace. I can share the peace, hope I
have through Christ. I have sent cards, made homemade food for them just so they know they are in my thoughts.

Yes AMEN your thoughts are so encouraging and the heart of Christ HE is waiting so none will perish
GOD wants us as HIS followers to be the peacemakers so where ever there is stress or anger we need to sow peace. Trying to bring unity and oneness to the believers . In Canada it is way worse than the US they are taking our freedoms away. Especially those who follow Christ JESUS. So much peace and Christian unity is needed

I see a need for God’s shalom at work at the hospital amongst the patients who are sick. "Father you know our needs, so we pray…" I see a need for God’s shalom amongst my fellow residents, whenever I sense anxiety in the room, in me or others. I can bring shalom by meditating on Truth and praying daily and staying connected to the Vine! I see a need for shalom in my family and in my church community too. I shall also continue to ask God to give me eyes to see and ears to hear, to know what He is doing, and to be part of it!

I try to share the Word whenever I can, through daily chats, work scenarios, daily life errands. Some conversations aren’t easy for me to slip in the Word so I usually end it with, I am going to pray for you, is that ok? I have yet to get told no. Sor some people it is the reminder that you will be thinking of them and they need that. I have noticed as I have gotten older my friends groups have changed more to where I am guided towards more Godly women and this is such a different environment and I believe what I need.

While as the author indicates, peace is the first notion of Shalom in the English language and an awesome place to start – within our families, our jobs, our churches…a greater good may be to encourage balance – respect and value of each human, swift forgiveness when faced with wrongs, the understanding of truth without harsh judgment, and making kingdom work a first priority in our lives. For me, it might mean giving another opportunity to the difficult relative to join us for a family meal, it might be including others that would not normally be in my inner circle, it could be always on the lookout for ways to express the love of Christ – in practical terms to His children while also hoping for a chance to share my story of salvation.

I see a need of Shalom in our communities schools and churches. we need to be praying 🙏 for one another and to love everyone. we need to tell others about our Lord and show them by our imitation of Christlike faith and hope. It is so much hatred and corruption going on in the world today so we need to be praying 🙏 without ceasing. We can call or write people when we know that they are hurting.

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