This week we will finish up Paul's letter to the Ephesians, then read all the way through Philippians, Colossians, I and II Thessalonians, I Timothy and parts of II Timothy. One of my favorite passages is Paul's admonition in Ephesians 6 to put on the full armor of God.
Philippians - Philippians has a different tone than many of Paul's letters - it is written about 62AD to the church in Philippi (now Filippoi, Greece) which was one of the first church's that Paul ever started. From the tone of his letter, Philippi is often called Paul's "sweetheart" church.
Colossians - Colossians is directed to the church at Colosse (now Honaz, Turkey) and was probably written during Paul's first imprisonment in Rome. Apparently, the church had been incorporating pagan elements into their practice including the worship of elemental spirits and Paul's letter declares Christ's supremacy over the entire created universe and reminds the believers to live godly lives.
I and II Thessalonians - Thesaalonica was a city in Greece that still exists today. These two books were written probably only months apart around 52AD. Paul only stayed with this church for a few weeks after beginning it and seems to be writing the first letter to encourage them in their faith and remind them of some important doctrines of the faith. Apparently there was some misunderstanding regarding the return of Christ and the second shorter letter appears to deal solely with correcting that understanding.
I and II Timothy - Paul found Timothy during one of his visits to Lystra where Timothy is mentioned as a disciple. From the Scriptures it seems his mother and grandmother were Jews who had become believers; the only thing mentioned about his father was that he was Greek. Timothy becomes Paul's traveling companion going to Phyrgia, Galatia, Mysia, Troad, Philippi, Veria and Corinth. Eventually around 65AD, Paul installs Timothy as the bishop of the church at Ephesus, a post he would hold for at least the next fifteen years. Timothy was eventually stoned to death when he took a stand against a pagan procession of idols, ceremonies and songs. The first letter from Paul to Timothy seems to deal mainly with forms of worship, organization of the church, the responsibilities of the bishops and deacons and keeping faithful amid surrounding errors. The second letter seems to be more of a personal goodbye as Paul is nearing the end of his life.
Here is the schedule:
7 - Ephesian 4-6; Philippians 1
8 - Philippians 2-4; Colossians 1
9 - Colossians 2-4; I Thessalonians 1
10 - I Thessalonians 2-5
11 - II Thessalonians 1-3; I Timothy 1
12 - I Timothy 2-5
13 - I Timothy 6; II Timothy 1-3
May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing, the understanding and most importantly the living out of His holy word. Amen.