The “Pastoral epistles” 1 & 2 Tim and Titus offer advice to two young companions of Paul’s travels called to church leadership – Timothy, in the big city of Ephesus and Titus on the island of Crete. There is even more debate about whether these letters were written by Paul than was the case for Ephesians – but as always the issues are highly technical and one needs good Greek as well as significant knowledge of both what we know and how we know it about the development of the earliest churches so I’ll ignore the issue here 😉 and as I did for EphesiansRead More →

Photo by Coolm36 Romans is a long letter, and the divisions between “sections” are often not clear. So the end of the opening greeting is not obvious somewhere in Rom 1:14-17, but where? Nor is it clear that the division between Rom 1 and Rom 2 is in the right place. 1Remember that chapter divisions were only added to the biblical text in the middle ages. But Romans is packed full of crucial 2Pun intended 😉 theology. Paul’s manifesto (Rom 1:16) sets up the book, and he continues to argue, first that Gentiles are “without excuse” since enough of the design of the Creator GodRead More →

As soon as Christian faith began to spread beyond its first (Jewish) homeland it became a faith based on community sustained by travel and letters. A bit just like blogs and FaceBook today, letters nourished community, and sustained arguments or brought them to peaceful conclusions. The combination of new(ish) technology and Roman roads and sea trade routes caused an explosion of letter writing. The newish technology was papyrus (not new since it was known since 3rd millennium BC but a rival technology, parchment (leather scraped to give a smoothe writing surface) in the 1stC BC & AD together with better trade (Empire) made writing materialsRead More →