The Beauty of a Letter

9 March, 2012 § 2 Comments

Saint George Preca has been likened as a succe...

Imagine this…..this is the reality of today’s busy world so breathe deeply and slow the beat of your heart down to become a listening spirit who has ears to hear.

You walk to your mailbox to fetch the mail.  Inside you find the usual bills and junk about credit cards etc.  Weeks and weeks pass and then on one usual hectic day you check the mailbox again and there is a letter with a different marking… suddenly feel your heart beat a little faster than its status quo.

The letter you have is a hand written letter from a dear friend, we’ll say a female.  Inside it is written personally by her own hand.  Just think, this girl has taken the time to write everything out the old fashioned way on paper and in addition has added little drawings on it too to decorate.  It probably took her 45 minutes to complete the whole thing.  The effort that has gone into this has been taken for granted until now… that you have thought all this through.  The joy that now springs from reading the heart of your friend and acknowledging that she also took the time to also carefully fold it and put it in an envelope and subsequently walked to the postbox to mail it, all of this because she thought of you.

Receiving a letter is a blessing because the receiver experiences the joy of knowing that he/she was thought of as valued person, deserving of that person’s attention.  To me it is worth more than $100,000,000 because it’s invaluable – like receiving a picture made from the hands of a little child, not quite Leonardo Da Vinci but meaningful.  Letter writing is a method of revealing your heart to those you love.  On that note the apostle Paul valued his letters to his beloved churches that he planted that had become corrupt.  As quoted in Galatians 6:1 he says “See what large letters I use as I write to you in my own handwriting”

In our fast paced society where it takes nearly no thought to send an e-mail, a long hand written letter seems burdensome.  It’s tempting to think that there is something better I can do with my time.

What are you going to do with your time…………….?



4 October, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve been doing a study on Galatians recently. Next semester, I’ll be leading a bible study as we delve into the book. I spent two years learning how to study the Bible at Word of Life Bible Institute in Pottersville, NY; so I’m trying to implement all of what I’ve learned. So far it’s been an interesting journey. Here is what I’ve done so far.

Authorship: The Apostle Paul is the undisputed author of the text. He identifies himself in 1:1 and 5:2. Church father Clement of Rome also agrees that Paul wrote Galatians.

 Historical Setting: Galatia was founded by the Gauls and is literally “the country of the Gauls”, a warlike tribe of Celts that migrated from Europe to Asia Minor. Paul’s visit to Iconium is recorded in Acts 14 and marks the beginning of his relationship with the Galatian area. Later in Acts 16 Paul and Barnabas arrive in the Galatian area on account of the Spirit keeping them from speaking the gospel in Asia. This is manifested in that Paul felt he could not continue due to an infirmity of the flesh according to Galatians 4:13. Paul interprets this interruption and opportunity to preach in Galatia as the Spirit closing the door to speaking the gospel in Asia.

Recipients:     There is some controversy as to whether Paul wrote to Southern Galatia or Northern Galatia, affecting when Paul could have written the epistle. Most scholars believe that Galatians was written to the southern churches, in the political division of Galatia, in Northern Asia Minor that became a part of the Roman Empire in 25 B.C.E. This places the writing of the epistle around 49 C.E. after Paul’s first missionary journey. Although it is also projected that Paul could have written to Galatia Proper, also known as the country of the Gauls, in Northern Asia Minor between 53 B.C.E. and 56 B.C.E. after Paul’s second missionary journey. Regardless, the differing dates do not affect the interpretation of the text to any substantial degree.

Purpose: Judaizers, seeking to proselytize the brand new Christians of Galatia to a form of Judaism mixed with Christianity, preach Christ plus the Law. They claimed to come from Peter, implying that Peter had more Apostolic authority than Paul who introduced them to the gospel. The Judaizers tell the Churches of Galatia that Paul forgot to teach them that they must be circumcised to be accepted in Christ Jesus. The Galatians believed and turned. Paul, who is in prison, receives word of their deception and rebukes their swift turn from the true gospel and calls them to repent of trying to earn salvation and therefore make light of the finished work of the cross of Christ. He defends his own integrity and the integrity of the Word of God by taking them back to the life of Abraham who God accounted righteous through faith and not by works.

Geographical Setting: Politically, Galatia was the Roman province which included Isauria, Lycaonia, and parts of Phrygia and Pisidia. Geographically, it was the center of Celtic tribes and included Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch of Pisidia.[1] (KJV Bible Commentary)

Canonical and Theological Setting:  With a best guess approach to the date of the writing of Galatians (49 C.E.) it was probably Paul’s first epistle he ever wrote and the second earliest writing in the New Testament with James
(45-49 C.E.) preceding it.
            The circumcision of gentiles is a large portion of what is addressed in this epistle.  It is also a main topic of the first Jerusalem Council which probably happened shortly after this letter  as Paul does not mention the council’s ruling on the matter.

[1]KJV Bible Commentary. Nashville : Thomas Nelson, 1997, c1994, S. 2369

[1]Hughes, Robert B. ; Laney, J. Carl: Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. Wheaton, Ill. : Tyndale House Publishers, 2001 (The Tyndale Reference Library), S. 579

[2]Wiersbe, Warren W.: Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New Testament. Wheaton, Ill. : Victor Books, 1997, c1992, S. 514

That’s all for now. I’ll probably post my findings as they come.

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