Friday, March 8, 2013

Job 27-28 and Ignatius' Epistle to the Philadelphians [Introduction through 2]

Job 27 – Job continues, maintaining that for “as long as there is life in me and God’s breath is in my nostrils, my lips will speak no wrong, nor my tongue utter deceit” (27:3-4).

“I will never concede that you are right; I will defend my integrity until I die. I will maintain my innocence without wavering. My conscience is clear for as long as I live” (27:5-6).

Job goes on to speak nearly the same “wisdom” he has heard with such frustration and anger from his “friends” – wisdom about how the wicked will obtain punishment from God in the end. “The wicked go to bed rich but wake to find that all their wealth is gone” (27:19). And not only will they lose everything, they will also be jeered and mocked by everyone.

Job 28 – Job describes the amazing creation of God – its riches and resources for man and man’s ability to mine every one of those riches. “They cut tunnels in the rocks and uncover precious stones. They dam up the trickling streams and bring to light the hidden treasures. But do people know where to find wisdom? Where can they find understanding?” (28:10-12).

“God alone understands the way to wisdom; he knows where it can be found, for he looks throughout the whole earth and sees everything under the heavens. He decided how hard the winds should blow and how much rain should fall. He made the laws for the rain and laid out a path for the lightning. Then he saw wisdom and evaluated it. He set it in place and examined it thoroughly. And this is what he says to all humanity: ‘The fear of the Lord is true wisdom; to forsake evil is real understanding.’” (28:23-28).

Ignatius to the Philadelphians
Introduction: This letter from Ignatius is the first of three that he wrote from Troas. He passed through Philadelphia on his way from Smyrna. Apparently many in the church were from a large Jewish community in the city, and he is disturbed by remnants of Judaistic thinking in the church community. As in most of his other letter, Ignatius believes that the solution to the problems he sees as submission to the authority of the bishop who is in charge of the church.

While he is in Troas, he learns that the persecution of Christians in his own city – Antioch – had died down and he suggests that the Philadelphians should send a deacon there with a message of congratulations and good will.

Greeting: Ignatius greets his addressees “in the blood of Jesus Christ, who is our eternal and enduring joy, especially if [men] are in unity with the bishop, presbyters, and the deacons, who have been appointed according to the mind of Jesus Christ, whom He has established in security, after His own will, and by His Holy Spirit” [New Advent Translation:].

Philadelphia was east and a little north of Ephesus in Asia Minor.

1 – The bishop, though meek and silent, is “able to accomplish more than those who vainly talk. For he is in harmony with the commandments [of God], even as the harp is with its strings.”

2 – “As children of light and truth, flee from division and wicked doctrines; but where the shepherd is, there follow as sheep. For there are many wolves that appear worthy of credit, who, by means of a pernicious pleasure, carry captive . . . those that are running towards God; but in your unity they shall have no place.”

No comments:

Post a Comment