Daily Devotion for October 22, 2014
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer of St. Richard of Chichester (1230 A.D.)
Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
For all the benefits thou hast won for me,
For all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, Friend, and Brother,
May I know thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
And follow thee more nearly
For ever and ever.
For Patience in Time of Suffering
Heavenly Lord, who brings the rain upon the parched earth, that our crops might feed us, and in due time makes the sun to break through the raging storm: I pray for an end to my suffering; and until that day may come, I pray, teach me patience and fortitude in my affliction. Establish my heart in you, that your strength may sustain me through my trials. Comfort me with the knowledge of the glorious life to come, and fill me with confidence in the victory of your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray,
[Fortitude in my afflictions.]
Now to him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present ourselves blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Proverbs 8:1, 17 (ESV)
Does not wisdom call?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
“I love those who love me,
and those who seek me diligently find me.”
2 Corinthians 1:12-14 (NKJV)
Introduction to the Pauline Epistles
For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.
For we are not writing any other things to you than what you read or understand. Now I trust you will understand, even to the end (as also you have understood us in part), that we are your boast as you also are ours, in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Notes on the Scripture
Paul's energy, his labor, and his sufferings were phenomenal. He wrote one-quarter of the New Testament; he is responsible for the most books in the NT, although LukeLuke wrote only two books, his Gospel and the book of Acts, but they are the two longest books in the NT. beats him for total words.(Chart) His writings were not collated in any specific order, but the order is not completely random. One could claim that his two greatest works, Romans and 1 Corinthians, are placed first. The non-church epistles (“pastoral” and “personal” epistles) are grouped together at the end. Longer epistles also tend to come earlier.
We have prepared a reference page, The Pauline Epistles, giving the basic facts about them and also opinions about dates, reliability of authorship, etc. We will put a tiny link in each lesson to the reference page. (Remembering dates is not important, except for the general time frame of Paul's writing: 50 to 69 A.D. The Second Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.)
We will see three primary features of Paul's writing:
- First and most important, his theology, which centers on the significance of Christ's death and resurrection.
- Second, issues of Christian morals and/or ethics, that is, how should a Christian live?
- Third, more practical matters about the governance of churches. /li>
Paul's early epistles are the oldest writings in the New Testament, which gives rise to a perplexing question: why does Paul write almost nothing about the life and teachings of Jesus? Paul almost never quotes Christ or refers directly to the lengthy teachings, miracles, parables, and events in the life of Christ. Nobody really knows why.
ne possibility is that Paul simply did not know very much about Jesus' life! Many scholars believe the Gospel of Mark was written around 65-70 A.D., after Paul's epistles, which means Paul would not have read it; and some claim that Paul, not having Mark's Gospel, actually knew very little about Jesus' life and teachings. But there are reasons why other scholars discount this idea.
First, the date of Mark's Gospel is not really known, and could be as early as 50 A.D., before Paul's epistles. Even more importantly, everybody agrees that there were older source documents — in effect, shorter gospels — from which the four gospels in the Bible took material. These no longer exist, but Paul probably had access to writings about Jesus' life that predated Mark by decades! And in addition, Paul spent considerable time with disciples and other prominent eyewitnesses (Peter and James are mentioned by name) who, one would assume, would have told him about what Jesus was like during his ministry.
We will revisit this question several times; the point of presenting it here is to get us thinking. Primarily, our study of these epistles will be study of the content, the meaning, theology, and historical context; i.e. “Bible study”. But from time to time we will touch on issues of Bible scholarship, addressing some difficult questions a bit beyond what one hears in Sunday School.
The greatest issue we must wrestle with are apparent inconsistencies between the teachings of certain Pauline epistles and the teachings of 1) Christ Himself, 2) other epistle writers, 3) the theology of churches today, and 4) even between different epistles written by Paul!