Saturday, December 17, 2011

Bible Challenge 12/18 - 12/24

Greetings All!

We are getting closer! This week with Christmas Eve, there are only six days of reading this week. So, by the end of the week we'll be through six more books and into the last book of Revelation.

Here is some more background information about what we will read this week.

I and II Peter - Attributed by their titles to the Apostle Peter, these are some of the latest writings to be included in the New Testament. The first letter is the only one scholars really attribute to Peter; probably written while Peter was the bishop of the church in Rome. This letter addressed to believers dispersed through five different provinces in Asia Minor (Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia) is a word of encouragement to those undergoing religious persecution.

The second letter is most likely not authored by Peter because it quotes a later letter extensively (Jude). The main purpose of this letter is to identify Jesus with God and to correct a growing heresy since Jesus had not yet returned.

I John, II John and III John - These letters are attributed to the disciple John who also wrote the Gospel of John and Revelation. The first two letters were probably written in Ephesus between 95-110 AD to counter the heresies that Jesus did not come in the flesh but only as a spirit. The first letter is a general one and lifts up how Christians are to discern true teachers: by their ethics, their proclamation of Jesus and by their love. The second letter is a private one written to "an elect lady" and much speculation exists as to who this person is. The final letter is another private one addressed to Gaius to commend a party of Christians who had gone on a mission to preach the Gospel, to encourage him and to warn him of a group of other believers who are not cooperating.

Jude - This book is often attributed to one of Jesus' brothers. This 25 verse letter was composed as an encyclical letter - not directed at any one church but rather intended to be circulated and read in all churches.

Addressed to Christians in general it warns about the doctrine of certain errant teachers. Many examples of evildoers and warnings about their fates are given in some of the most strongly worded language in the New Testament. The letter concludes with a doxology (short hymn of praise) one of the highest in quality found in the Bible.

Revelation - This book is also attributed to John the disciple and probably written during John's exile at Patmos. This book is a piece of apocalyptic literature, a genre that relies heavily on visions and symbolism (like Daniel in the Old Testament).

Now...on to the schedule:

18, Sunday: James 2-5

19, Monday: I Peter 1-4

20, Tuesday: I Peter 5 - II Peter 3

21, Wednesday: I John 1-4

22, Thursday: I John 5; II John; III John; Jude

23, Friday: Revelation 1-4

24, Saturday: Christmas Eve, A favorite reading of your choice

May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing and the living out of His holy word. Amen.


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