Saturday, July 8, 2017

scripture in-the-making

The Word for today:
Acts 18:1-17
Yesterday, we listed the New Testament "books" (actually letters) written by Paul. Let's review:
Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians , Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews (1).
These letters constitute half of the New Testament titles. Here's how they came to be...
The Apostle Paul was the first to launch an organized effort to reach the Roman world with the gospel. In the process he developed an effective strategy.
Traveling with a team rather than alone, he went to areas where the gospel had not been preached. He would typically launch his campaign from an area's major city. Because of his regard for fellow Jews (and because any Gentiles there had some familiarity with Old Testament scriptures) he would speak first at the area's Jewish synagogues (which had been established throughout the Roman world.)
Those who responded to the gospel formed the nucleus of a local church. Paul and his team would then spend months or occasionally years teaching these new believers. Persecution inevitably developed, at which time the missionary team moved on, trusting the fledgling church to the Holy Spirit. It would then be up to these new believers to reach the outlying areas.
Later on, Paul's team or his representatives revisited the young church. Those who had emerged as spiritual leaders were appointed as elders and the church was given additional teaching.
When a visit was not possible or when Paul heard of special problems, he often wrote a letter of instruction and guidance to the congregation. Some of these letters found their way into your Bible.
As we watch the church being born in Acts, we are also watching scripture in-the-making.
(1) the authorship of Hebrews is uncertain

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