“Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” From the letter to St. Timothy, As we continue our look at the first letter of St. Paul to St. Timothy, we notice language that is rich with theology, and full of encouragement to the bishop as he ministers among the people. Aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, and gentleness, says St. Paul.
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone…” From the first letter to St. Timothy. This week we continue reading the first letter to St. Timothy, in the second chapter. This bit is a teaching from St. Paul on prayer. The tradition handed down to us by the Church of England is contained in the Book of Common Prayer. The first prayer book was published in 1549 during the reign of Edward VI, and an updated version was produced in 1552. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer was the one that edited the book, and wrote most of the prayers in it. The latest version, still in use by the English Church was published in 1662. Yes, that version is still the official book in the Church of England. Traditional Lutherans, Methodists, and Presbyterians have incorporated many of the prayers into their own prayer books.
“When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus.” from the letter to Philmon. The letter to Philemon, from which we read today, is a very interesting letter, unlike any other of the letters of St. Paul. It starts off with a personal greeting; To Philemon our dear friend and co-worker, to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: The letter is addressed to Philemon, and the personal pronoun “you” is used throughout. At the same time it is addressed to Philemon’s wife Apphia, and to Archippus, who is a fellow minister, and to the church that meets in Philemon’s house. It is obvious that, while personal in nature, Paul intended it to be heard by everyone. I believe that this put Philemon on the spot, and everyone would be watching him, to see what he would do.