Thursday, October 16, 2008

Reading Ahead -- Pentecost 23

In this week's readings you may be tempted to ignore the Epistle. It's from the first chapter of Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians. Don't skip on so fast!

This is the oldest piece of the New Testament, the earliest written part of our Christian scriptures. It predates the writing of the gospels, and the writing of any other of the epistles. Written about 50 AD, this is the closest part of the Bible we have to Jesus and his earthly ministry.

Paul did not know he was writing scripture. Paul was writing letters to the communities he had founded. In Thessalonika, the little house churches were concerned because Christians were dying, and Jesus had not returned yet. They clearly were suffering some level of persecution for their faith, and Paul called a scribe, who picked up pen and ink, and as the apostle spoke, began to take down his words. The very first words of our New Testament:

Paul, Silvanus and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace ...

So it begins ...

+ Kit

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