This week we will finish up the Pauline letters and also make our way through James and begin I Peter.
Titus - Titus is mentioned in Galatians as one of Paul's traveling companions to Jerusalem. He was then dispatched to Corinth and later went to Crete as the bishop there. This letter mainly deals with the requirements for bishops and elders in the church.
Philemon - Philemon was a wealthy Christian and leader (possibly bishop) of the church in Colosse. This is the shortest of all Paul's letters and deals mainly with the topic of forgiveness.
Hebrews - The author of this letter is not known or identified although many associate it with Paul or suppose it to be written in his style by one of his followers. The book provides a unique look at Jesus as both exalted Son of God and high priest of the people. Most believe the title to be a reference to its original audience: Jewish Christians of the second century who are apparently being tempted to avoid sever persecution by "shrinking back" in their faith. It is a letter written with hope and perseverance in mind.
James - Most believe the author of this letter to be James the brother of Jesus. Many people wrestle with this letter because it appear to contradict Paul's stance on justification by faith alone. James emphasizes works, but not in the sense of justifying oneself before God; rather in the sense that works are evidence of a person's inward faith.
I Peter - Attributed by its title to the Apostle Peter, this letter and its counterpart II Peter 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. In 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.
May you be enriched by this week's readings. Here is the schedule:
19, Sunday: II Timothy 2 - Titus 1
20, Monday: Titus 2-3; Philemon; Hebrews 1
21, Tuesday: Hebrews 2-5
22, Wednesday: Hebrews 6-9
23, Thursday: Hebrews 10-13
24, Friday: James 1-4
25, Saturday: James 5 - I Peter 3
May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing and the living out of His holy word. Amen.