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Thursday, 15 December 2011

Day 350: Paul in Rome

So Paul reaches his final destination.  
Paul’s earnest desire
Philippians 3:1-21
Exhortation to stand firm
Philippians 4:1-9
Paul’s contentment
Philippians 4:10-19
Philippians 4:20-23
Paul’s conference with the Jews
Acts 28: 17-29
Paul stays in Rome
Acts 28:30-31
First letter to Timothy: Greeting
1 Timothy 1:1-2
The purpose of the law
1 Timothy 1:4-11
Paul’s call
1 Timothy 1:12-17
His charge to Timothy
1 Timothy 1:18-20

Yet again, Paul has something to say about the Judaizing false teachers who dogged his steps. He calls them dogs, evildoers, mutilators of the flesh. Very strong language. And he goes on, listing his achievements as a Jew and the spectacularly casting them onto the dung heap in comparison with the wonderful joy of knowing Jesus.  Paul would lose everything, life, health, status, contentment, so long as he could have Jesus.
He concludes the letter with a plea for unity, by urging them to thanks God in all circumstances, and by thanking the Philippians for helping him out. He wants to say that because of Jesus, he can cope whether he has money or not, which sounds a little ungrateful, but that’s not the way he means it. As always with Paul, Jesus is so much more important than anything else, that he comes across as a little weird. And that’s on a good day.
The conclusion of Acts finds Paul in Rome, under house arrest, but free to meet with people, and still spending every moment talking to anyone and everyone about Jesus. It’s slightly odd that we don’t hear what happened to him in the end. Did he meet Caesar? Was he executed? Was he spared and released? But then it’s kind of fitting that the last we hear of him he is still talking about Jesus. It’s like he’s never stopped.
On then to his first letter to Timothy.
Familiar themes emerge in the first chapter. Paul corrects false teaching, praises God’s wonderful grace in saving him, the worst of sinners, and issues a few commands and instructions to Timothy, one of his most trusted lieutenants.

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