Friday, December 03, 2021

Read the Bible with Me!

Welcome to the Pauline Family's "Year of the Bible"! We've been reading the Bible clear through this year. We are finishing the New Testament, so read along with me. But first, let us pray: 


When the fullness of time had come, you sent your Word in the One who said, “Whoever sees me, sees the Father.” No revelation can surpass this until Jesus comes again. By your gift, the Church continues to receive unfathomable riches from the inheritance handed on from the Apostles and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.

Let the Spirit who inspired the writing of today's pages "guide me in the truth and teach me" to follow Jesus ever more closely, until he calls me to follow him to the Kingdom where he lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.

Today's chapters are 1 Timothy 3-5.

After describing the qualifications necessary for various roles in the Church (including women deacons) and giving us an outstanding, if brief, canticle about the Incarnation, Paul addresses questionable practices that seem to have arisen, including a rejection of marriage, and gives guidance about how the young "overseer" of the community can relate to the different members of the Church. The concern for widows reminds us Acts 6 (but care of "orphans and widows" is a constant throughout the Bible), but here Paul seems to be indicating something more than a soup kitchen with his mention of women keeping a "pledge" and being someone who "continues in supplications and prayers night and day." (I am reminded of Judith in the Old Testament, who chose to live as a widow to the age of 105.)

Paul's advice on "presbyters" ("priests" is a derivative) is still valid, though the sad experiences we have witnessed indicate that 5:20-22 needs to be taken as literally as possible.

Start reading here.

For additional background

N.T. Wright's Paul: A Biography is the book I would recommend to someone who wanted to read one (only one) book that combined the life and letters of St Paul. Written by a noted Scripture, this is a flowing narrative that is scripturally enlightening and historically sound. Wright gives the reader a way of following Paul through the Acts of the Apostles and the writing of his letters, making Paul the person that much more approachable, and the letters themselves more readable as a result of having a social and historical context.

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