This week we finish read the entirety of the book of Hebrews, as well as James, I and II Peter and I John. We are getting so close to the end once again! Below are a few tidbits to help you in your reading this week.
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 severe 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 appears 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 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. 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. 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 - Along with its counterparts, II John and III John, this letter is 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.
Here is the schedule:
15, Sunday: Hebrews 1-4
16, Monday: Hebrews 5-8
17, Tuesday: Hebrews 9-12
18, Wednesday: Hebrews 13 - James 3
19, Thursday: James 4 - I Peter 2
20, Friday: I Peter 3 - II Peter 1
21, Saturday: II Peter 2 - I John 2
May God add his richest blessings, to the reading, the hearing and most importantly the living out of his holy word. Amen.