Friday, December 7, 2012

2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews 1-6

1 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

When i was younger, i always wondered why some of the old testament books had made it into the canon. I mean, we get all of the laws in Exodus, right? And then we get Leviticus, and there are a couple of short stories, but mostly it's a detailed rehashing of the law. And then there's Numbers; once again, there are some stories, but it's mostly genealogies. And then we move on to Deuteronomy, and we go over the law. Again. Is all of this really necessary? Is my spiritual life really going to be enriched by reading the measurements for the first curtain in the temple a third time? The temple was entirely rebuilt by Solomon, anyway! And then it was destroyed and hasn't been rebuilt since! I mean, keep the blueprints on file if you must, but that stuff is all for the Jews, anyway. How can i, as a 21st century Christian, benefit from this stuff?

I've made my peace with a lot of it, and i'm sure we'll be revisiting that in a few months when i move on to the old testament. But for now, i'm in the new, and i'm once again wondering what the point of this is. 2 Timothy has some good stuff (For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love), but Titus is 46 verses long. It has some instruction about how to set up the elders of the church, but that's really it. The whole thing could be condensed into half a dozen bullet points and put in textbooks for religion majors. I feel like we only keep Titus so that we can point back to the Bible when someone asks us why our church is structured the way it is. And Philemon is even shorter, at 25 verses. Let me show you the section headings for this book: Greeting, Philemon's Love and Faith, The Plea for Onesimus, Philemon's Obedience Encouraged, Farewell. It's basically a text message saying, "You guys are awesome. It would be really sweet if you took Onesimus back. If you have issues with him, that's on me. I think I'm coming to visit soon. Peace." Why do we need this?

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