#1198… [DLT 12] “Reading Other People’s Mail? A Look at the Epistles” [sci, RELIG, etc]


   We get Divine Directions from 3 significant sources:

   (1) God’s commands in the O.T.¹

   (2) Jesus’ teaching:

(a) Underlining the O.T.

(b) Explaining the O.T.

(c) Adding new information

   (3) Paul’s “letters” (and letters of other apostles)


How to think about this?

Please use the DOOR.




   How do Christians know how to live? Simple. Go to the Bible and see what it says. And do it. Great truth is hidden within its leather covers. Look inside, read, and obey.

   A dozen or so books have been written about the dozen or so problems in that statement that for most of us–sort of–take for granted: problems of authority, inspiration, translation, reliability, timeliness, context, and  appropriateness, to mention a few. If this seems like opening Pandora’s box, books wading into these issues provide many satisfying responses–that we will not take on here. Any book of history and moral usefulness asks for satisfying reasons to take it seriously.

   Assuming that “God direction” is generally present here, we’ll take a “dozen seconds” to consider one Biblical feature that many fail to even consider: Many “marching orders” in the New Testament comes in the form of “letters,” generally referred to as epistles.

   But who are the for? Is a letter written by St. Paul for, say, to ancient Galatians appropriate to be taken seriously by 21st century Christians? That’s something to think about. Let me here throw in this verse from I Thessalonians:

“…have this letter read to all the brethren.”

–I Th. 5:27

   Fascinating things to keep in mind when reading epistles are the parts and pieces of what you’re reading. These letters were often to address local church problems. Individuals are even named. What does, say, Euodias’s problem have to do with you? Do the social expectations of then compare with now? Healthy social expectations may have radically changed. There are times when reading the mail in one place was encouraged to be shared in another. Sometimes the need to share what seems like obvious good information elsewhere is never mentioned.

   A good habit is to make note of things like this as you daily read.

   You have an advantage. Remember that back then almost no one had a personal Bible.

   We could go on and on, but our dozen seconds is up.


  ¹ Mainly the Torah, but also the prophets.

Author: John Knapp