Pastoral Letters 1

Today's Bible reading: 1 John 1:1-4

From Paul and his mission, I would like to turn together to his writings – his letters to the early Christian communities as well as to individuals.  Though 1 & 2 Timothy and Titus have come to be known particularly as the Pastoral Epistles, in reality, all of Paul’s letters are truly pastoral.  In is in his letters that we see Paul the pastor at work … carefully nurturing the tender faith of young congregations, correcting errors, warning against false teachers. 1 & 2 Thessalonians were written to correct wrong ideas and give answers to questions relating to the second coming of the Lord.  Galatians was penned in order to save young churches from lapsing back into Jewish legalism, which would destroy the Gospel of free grace.  In his two letters to the Corinthians, Paul has to fight for his apostolic authority, while counteracting evil forces at work which threaten the unity of the congregation.  Ephesians is beautiful circular letter on the nature of the Church as God’s people, in which the old barriers between God and man and between Jew and Gentile have been broken down.  Colossians warns against the errors of those who are teaching a new philosophy which attacks the Lordship of Christ.  It was written in the same time as Philemon, in which Paul pleads for a runaway slave to be accepted back by his master.  Philippians is the letter of joy, written to encourage Paul’s favorite congregation.  The Pastorals show Paul’s concern for true doctrine and strong pastoral oversight in the church, while Romans is Paul’s fullest and deepest statement of the Gospel.  This important letter was meant to introduce Paul to the Christians in far-off Rome, before he began, as he hoped, a new missionary campaign to the west.

Prayer: Almighty Lord, forgive our prejudices and teach us to see Your Son in every Christian.  Help us to abandon our self-confidence and rejoice in Your grace alone; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.