Commentaries Written by Doug Bratt

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2 Thessalonians 3:6-13 Sermon Commentary

Proper 28C

Paul spends relatively little time in his second letter to Thessalonica’s Christians talking about Christian ethics. He might have spent that addressing things like healthy relationships and the proper attitude toward those in authority, as he does in his other epistles. However, in this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson the apostle talks, instead, about Christians’ work. Both…

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2 Thessalonians 2:1-5, 13-17 Sermon Commentary

Proper 27C

Paul spends much of his letters to Thessalonica’s Christians talking about Jesus’ second coming, about what he calls in this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson’s verse 2 “the day of the Lord.” That, however, may seem like an odd topic for the Lectionary to call Christians to contemplate just weeks before our celebration of Jesus’ first coming….

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2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12 Sermon Commentary

Proper 26C

Among the various elements of Paul’s epistles, two are, arguably, the most challenging to proclaim in a 21st century context: the apostle’s “personal touches,” and his eschatology. It can be as difficult to preach about the apostle’s more personal messages as about his proclamation of Jesus’ second coming. That might seem to make the challenge…

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2 Timothy 4:6-8, 16-18 Sermon Commentary

Proper 25C

It’s hard to read this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson without getting a lump in one’s throat. After all, it’s not just that it contains what are perhaps among the imprisoned Paul’s last recorded words. It’s also that it suggests that the apostle who has befriended to so many seems about to die virtually all alone. Acts…

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2 Timothy 2:8-15 Sermon Commentary

Proper 23C

Paul speaks repeatedly about suffering for the sake of the gospel. He does so not just in this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson but also throughout his letter to Timothy. Yet that kind of suffering may be largely unfamiliar to many of the preachers who read this commentary as well as 2 Timothy. Of course, some North…

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2 Timothy 1:1-14 Sermon Commentary

Proper 22C

Paul’s call to his dear son Timothy to “guard” (14) the gospel is evocative. It’s, what’s more, the title of John Stott’s commentary, to which I owe a lot for this message’s ideas, on the apostle’s second letter to Timothy. So Paul’s call to “guard the gospel” might also serve as a kind of on-ramp…

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1 Timothy 6:6-19 Sermon Commentary

Proper 21C

Few virtues are, arguably, rarer in the twenty-first century than “contentment.” Relatively few people seem deeply satisfied with their situation in life. A variety of things fuels this dissatisfaction. Many citizens of what we sometimes call the “first world” live in a conspicuously consumptive society and time. What’s more, the media that has such a…

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1 Timothy 2:1-7 Sermon Commentary

Proper 20C

Paul packs this Sunday’s Epistolary Lesson with “all’s.” In fact, he uses a form of the Greek word panta no less than five times in its seven verses. But while the apostle loads this text with “all,” nearly every use of the word carries with it both some mystery and the seed of controversy. So…

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1 Timothy 1:12-17 Sermon Commentary

Proper 19C

21st century culture is not, by and large, a patient one. It easily becomes impatient with the slowness of its electronic devices. Its citizens avoid friends who take too long to warm up, and politicians who take too long to enact legislation. It’s not just the 21st century’s oatmeal that we want to be “instant.”…

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Philemon 1:1-21 Sermon Commentary

Proper 18C

A colleague recently told me that he sometimes feels like members of his church think of him as a UPS package that’s all wrapped up and labelled. Ironically, however, those members don’t agree on what his label says. My colleague says they variously think of him as too liberal or conservative, lenient or intolerant, modern…

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