When I was at UT, I was in a small discipleship group at the Texas Wesley. One of the first things we did together was to read the General Electric Power Company, which is pneumonic for Paul’s letters to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. We were asked to read one book each day for a week. That is, to read the whole book of Galatians every day for a week, and then move on to Ephesians the next week.
It is a powerful experience which I would encourage any to take because by reading the same passage multiple days in a row, we more embody the Scriptures and the power of Paul’s words. Each letter is dense with possible life verses and other insights that can cover much of our situations in life. Galatians and Ephesians are a little longer and cover a little more ground. Galatians is a little more autobiographical and contains Paul’s most robust wrestling with Torah and what the law means for Christians. It also includes one of the exemplary passages of Paul’s radical universal view of the good news of Jesus Christ in Galatians 3:28-29:
“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.”
Ephesians covers similar territory form another direction, emphasizing the unity of all in Christ: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Philippians is a little shorter, but contains two of my favorite passages in all of the bible. The Christ hymn of Philippians 2, and the hymn of joy in Philippians 4. The Christ hymn is thought to predate Paul’s writings and could be the first hymn to Christ written down.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5-11)
And then finally
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
And then to end with Colossians I find very fitting, for here is the good news of Jesus Christ presented as clearly as possible.
For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant. (Colossians 1:13-23)
That’s it. There are some challenging portions throughout these books. Some passages that have often been misread, but the point is here in the cross and resurrection of Christ. Jesus is the Son of the Living God, one with the Father, who came to reconcile us with God.