1/22 Reading (Esther 4-6; 1 Timothy 1)

Esther 4: Esther learns of Haman’s plot to destroy all the Jews because Mordecai is dressed in mourning clothes outside the King’s gate. She initially tells him that she is safe, but he makes it clear that she needs to do something to stop this from happening. He even suggests that perhaps this is why she was chosen as queen, to stop this action.

Esther 5: Esther begins his effort to stop Haman. She convinces the king to feast with her and asks for him to bring Haman. Haman is all happy and then sees Mordecai, which makes him mad. While he boasts about all he has accomplished, he continues to complain about Mordecai. His family recommend he prepare a 75 foot pole to impale Mordecai. Kinda excessive.

Esther 6: Mordecai is finally honored for saving the king. Best part is that it’s at the expense of Haman.

Introduction to the Pastoral Epistles: Interesting little tidbit here: “The Pastoral letters – 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus – are placed as a collection at the end of Paul’s letters. They have been called “pastoral” for the past 200 years because they talk about issues that concern a pastor: running the Christian community, how believers live their lives together, how the community is managed, how members are expected to behave, and how the church should behave as a whole” (p. 403 NT).

They were written to two of Paul’s team, Timothy and Titus. Apparently scholars disagree over who actually wrote them. The introduction indicates that many scholars think the letters were written by someone else who used Paul’s name. I guess this was done as a way to get more attention.

Introduction to 1 Timothy: Nothing much to report. Just that the letters were written to Timothy while he was in Ephesus. Also, the purpose of the letter was to help Timothy correct problems in Ephesus with false teaching.

1 Timothy 1: After the typical greeting Paul gets right to the point of this letter, to combat false teaching. Specifically, Paul states that “the goal of instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith” (CEB Study Bible, p. 405 NT; 1 Timothy 5). This is followed by a prayer of thanksgiving (the notes indicate the structure is different from other Pauline letters) as well as Paul reminding Timothy of the importance of faith and a good conscience.

This whole emphasis on false teaching really resonates with me because of issues that are currently going on in our country. This past Sunday I talked with people in our bible study about my concerns with the main narrative around Christianity in our society. The loudest people, who typically control the conversation, present Christianity in such a close-minded way. They seem to be very judgmental. I’m started defending Christianity, especially in social media (Twitter is my preferred platform at the moment). I plan to write something for one of the Episcopal Church publications about this. I need to get on it. 

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