Bible 100 Lenten Edition Summary 7

Pastoral Epistles to Revelation

Bible 100 Lenten Edition Summary 7

This Lent we went through the entire Bible, Bible 100 style. In other words, we’re developing an overview of the entire collection of 66 books. Here’s a summary of what we covered this week. If any of this sparks your curiosity, I hope you will watch the short videos I recorded through Facebook Live (each  takes you to a video). Of course, you can always turn to the Bible to learn even more!

Lessons 37-40

 Lesson 37: Paul’s Letters to People

Paul wrote 9 letters to churches and 4 letters to people. (Although the authorship of many of these letters is disputed, we set that aside for Bible 100 purposes because we want to start by knowing what the books say.)

1 Timothy 

  • 6 Chapters
  • We first meet Timothy in Acts 16:1-5, during Paul’s second missionary journey.
  • Paul wants Timothy to lead the church in Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3), where Paul had previously lived and ministered for two years (Acts 19:1-10).
  • 1 Timothy is the source of a lot of moralism and discussion about morality:
    • Women should dress modestly, not with their hair braided or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes (1 Timothy 2:9)
    • Women should learn in silence and aren’t permitted to teach men (1 Timothy 2:11-13)
    • Women are “saved through childbearing.” (1 Timothy 2:15)
    • Any man who wants to lead the church should “be above reproach, married only once, temperate, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an apt teacher, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way—for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? He must not be a recent convert…” (1 Timothy 3:2-6)
  • 1 Timothy includes some trouble references to slavery. For example, 6:1 says, “Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed.”
  • Paul encourages Timothy to drink wine. (1 Timothy 5:23)

2 Timothy

  • 4 Chapters
  • Can be read as Paul’s final letter to a man he loved like a son.
  • Paul tells Timothy to warn the Christians “to avoid wrangling over words, which does no good but only ruins those who are listening.” (2 Timothy 2:14)
  • 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”
    • There has been a lot of scholarship on the word “inspired” because it is unique to this Epistle.
    • The “scripture” in place at the time of Paul was the Old Testament.

Titus

  • 3 Chapters
  • Who is Titus?
    • Paul says in Galatians that when he and Barnabas went to Jerusalem after the first missionary journey, Titus was with them. (Galatians 2:1)
    • Titus was not Jewish and, therefore, unlike Timothy, he was not required to be circumcised and Paul uses that almost like evidence of the Jerusalem Council’s decision, “even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.” (Galatians 2:3)
  • The letter to Titus is similar to 1 Timothy:
    • Titus is encouraged to choose church leaders wisely. (Titus 1:5-9)
    • Slaves should be “submissive to their masters.” (Titus 2:9-10)
  • Unique to Titus is Paul’s condemnation of the Cretans: “Cretans are always liars, vicious brutes, lazy gluttons.” (Titus 1:12-13)

Philemon

  • 25 Verses (1 Chapter)
  • The letter to Philemon isn’t about pastoring a church or correcting doctrine, it’s about slavery. Actually, it’s about a specific slave, a man named Onesimus.
  • Paul wants Onesimus to be set free. (Philemon 17-19)
  • Onesimus is first mentioned in Colossians 4:9.
  • St. Ignatius who was Bishop of Antioch (in Syria) from AD 67-107 (very early Christian) wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus where he mentions Onesimus as a Bishop.

 Lesson 38: Hebrews

  • No one knows who wrote Hebrews, but it’s still worth reading.
  • We know from its location in the Bible that Paul didn’t write it. If Paul wrote it, it would be with Paul’s letters to the churches.
    • The position of the Epistle to the Hebrews is altogether unsettled.” –Dr. Bruce Metzger
    • Throughout history, Hebrews has hopped around in the Bible. In the Codex Sinaiticus, it is between 2 Thessalonians and 1st Timothy (after the letters to church communities and before the letters to people).
    • In the Codex Vaticanus (perhaps the first Bible to have chapter delineations), Hebrews is between Galatians and Ephesians.
    • In the Geneva Bible (the first Bible translated to English from the Hebrew and Greek texts), Hebrews sits where we have it today, between Philemon and James.
  • Hebrews teaches who Christ is and who we can be through him.
  • Hebrews navigates the difficult first-century conflict between Christianity and Judaism by stressing what both groups have in common, while emphasizing the supremacy of Christ. (See e.g., Hebrews 3:3)
  • Christ is simultaneously divine and human. (Hebrews 2:16-17, 4:15)
  • Heroes of the Faith: Hebrews 11
  • “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

 Lesson 39: The Catholic Epistles

“Catholic” meaning universal. These letters are written to the church in general, not to a specific group of believers.

James

  • 5 chapters, just over 100 verses
  • Mentions Jesus by name only twice, but is unmistakeably about how to live as a Christian
  • Perhaps written by the brother of Jesus, the same James who rendered the decision of the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15.
  • Endurance produces maturity. (James 1:2-4)
  • God gives wisdom if you ask for it. (James 1:5)
  • God doesn’t tempt people. People are tempted by their own desires. (James 1:13-15)
  • The “royal law” is to love your neighbor as yourself. (James 2:8)
  • Faith will display itself in the way you live. (James 2:14-20)
  • Don’t give the devil too much credit; he runs away when you resist him. (James 4:7)
  • “Let your ‘yes’ be yes, and your ‘no’ be no.” (James 5:12)

1&2 Peter

  • Combined 8 chapters and fewer than 200 verses.
  • In Peter’s letters, hope is placed in a future that is better than the present. As we see throughout the NT, things are hard for Christians. Remember, Peter himself is ultimately executed via crucifixion. Knowing the actions the Empire is taking against Christians, Peter calls Rome, “Babylon.” (1 Peter 5:13)
  • If you have trouble understanding Paul’s letters, don’t worry, Peter did too. He says in 2 Peter 3:15-16, “our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.”

Johannine Letters

  • 1, 2, & 3 John are called the Johannine Letters.
  • 1 John is 5 chapters long, about the same length as James or 1 Peter. 2 John and 3 John are 1 chapter each, with only 13 and 15 verses respectively.
  • There are five books in the New Testament traditionally ascribed to the Apostle John, the beloved disciple: The Gospel of John, the 3 Johannine letters, and Revelation.
  • In the Johannine letters, the main concept is God is love. God loves and is loving, but beyond that, love is one of God’s defining characteristics.
  • These three letters, like Paul’s letters, are organized by length, from longest to shortest and can be read in any order.
  • 1 John 1:8-9 might sound familiar from church, especially if you attend a church with a liturgical service: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
  • In 1 John 2, John calls his readers “my little children.” He is The Elder of the church. He’s not writing to his beloved brothers who experienced the earthly ministry of Jesus with him, but rather, to the next generation, a group he helped birth in a sense.
  • Just as in the Gospel of John, we see in 1 John that Jesus is “the word.” (1 John 1:1-4)

Jude

  • Jude is traditionally ascribed to the younger brother of Jesus.
  • It has no chapter delineations because it is only 24 verses, long.
  • These 24 verses are packed full of references to the Old Testament and other ancient writings.
  • Jude is extremely concerned for people who are being exploited and misled by religious leaders gone astray.
  • Jude and 2 Peter are very similar. Reading 2 Peter, especially chapter 2, together with Jude shows us how early Christians struggled to discern correct doctrine and fully express their faith. Here is a very limited sampling of their similarities:
    • Jude 4 refers to “intruders” who “have stolen in among you” and will “deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 2:1 refers to “false teachers” who will rise “among you” and “will even deny the Master.”
    • Jude 6 says “the angels who did not keep their own position, but left their proper dwelling he has kept in eternal chains.” 2 Peter 2:4 says, “God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to chains of deepest darkness to be kept until the judgment.”
    • Both refer to Balaam. (Jude 11; 2 Peter 2:15)
    • False teachers are “waterless clouds carried along by the winds … for whom the deepest darkness has been reserved” in Jude. In 2 Peter they are “waterless springs and mists driven by a storm” and “the deepest darkness has been reserved” for them.

 Lesson 40: Revelation

  • The Revelation to John or the Apocalypse of John
  • Only place in the New Testament we read about a dragon, giant bugs, flying horses, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
  • In Revelation we learn of a future with a new heaven and a new earth.
  • Traditionally we have accepted the author of this book to be the Apostle John.
  • While John is on Patmos (possible exiled there by the Roman Emperor Domitian), the risen and glorified Christ appears to John and dictates seven letters to seven churches. (Revelation 1:9-11)
  • In chapter 4, John ascends to heaven and receives visions from God concerning Christ’s return (the Second Coming).
  • In Genesis, creation is very good, but sin and death immediately enter the world. The narrative has on overall downward spiral, but by Revelation 21 the dust settles. We have a new heaven and a new earth and we’re back to something like the Garden of Eden. There’s no longer any sin. There’s a new Jerusalem, a new Holy City and there’s a loud voice that says, “Now, the dwelling of God is with man.” That’s exactly what we had when we started Genesis because God was walking with Adam and Even in an ideal relationship.
  • We’re told in Revelation that there will be a perfect environment, no mourning, no crying, no pain or death. We will be God’s people. The old order has passed away. God says, “I am making everything new.” The curtain comes down in Revelation and everything is restored to what it was in the beginning.

Thank you for joining us for the Bible 100 Lenten Journey. If you would like information on having Beth come for a Bible 100 Live Event, please click here. To access the videos, click here. To contact Beth directly, click here.

A Christian who loves to think, read, and laugh. A wife and mom with more love than I deserve. I have a passion for public speaking. I'm a licensed Methodist pastor, a blogger, and a lawyer, but wait ... there's more, I'm still figuring it all out.

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