Bring Me My Books!
At the end of his second pastoral letter to his spiritual son Timothy, the Apostle Paul, likely writing from prison, says this "When you come, bring the cloak I left in Troas with Carpus, as well as the scrolls, especially the parchments." (2 Tim 4:13)
What an enigmatic thing to say, especially for those of us today who try to put together the pieces of this great Apostle's earthly life. After all, we wonder, what were these mysterious scrolls and parchments Paul so desperately wanted? Why ask for parchments of all things while sitting in prison? It seems like a nail file, or a rock hammer (Shawshank Redemption reference there), might be more appropriate requests, would they not?
Parchments here could be seen as the equivalent of our books today. Thus, very near the end of his ministry, likely close to his own death, Paul is still doing the difficult yet fundamental task of reading and painstakingly researching books, all so he might become a better evangelist and spokesperson for the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To say that Paul was a "learned man" would be an understatement of epic proportion. Here was a man who pressed his entire mind into the service of the Good News, scrutinizing over a wide variety of manuscripts and texts, the Hebrew canon of the Old Testament, as well as contemporary Jewish and Greco-Roman theology and philosophy, just so he could better contextualize what God had done in the world through Jesus Christ, and reach the culture of his day. This model of scholarship for the sake of Gospel service should not be lost on us in the church today. After all, we have the same call now as Paul did then!
So, how are you doing in your reading and researching for the sake of the Gospel? Perhaps you're not even sure how to begin such a discipline, especially with so many resources available today. How does one even know where to start learning about the Bible and Christ's Church, let alone to read and write well about what the Word of God has already taught and continues to teach His people?
Come and join us at the New Hope Academy on Friday night, October 11th at 5pm in room #4 where Jeff Lee (MA Philosophy, MA Bible Exposition) will guide us through the basics of how to do proper theological research, and learn how to write on and clearly defend a theological position--the fundamental task of any good evangelist!
To sign up just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
in Christ, Tony Costello
Director, New Hope Academy