House rules and cultural accommodation: the Pastoral letters

This post is in the series Rite Reading.

Icon of St Timothy. Via Wikimedia Commons.

The Sunday lectionary reads selections from 1 & 2 Timothy through in sequence towards the end of Year C,1 and uses a couple of short excerpts from Titus in the selections for Christmas Day. As I noted in my introduction to Paul’s letters, these three are sufficiently like each other to be grouped together, and sufficiently different from Paul’s other letters for many people to wonder if he wrote them. Although they are usually called, collectively, the Pastoral Letters, I think they might better be thought of as “organisational letters” written for those who have some responsibility for organising the church.

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Paul: a health warning

This post is in the series Rite Reading. (1 of 2 introducing Paul)

I expect this to be the first of two posts introducing Paul. In the second, I want to take a look at some of his characteristic themes, but today, I want to renew a health warning I have occasionally mentioned elsewhere. Everything you read here is just my opinion. I hope my opinions are well-grounded in the text and the world it was written in. I hope they provide good, illuminating and helpful ways of reading the text. I hope they help you read it, for yourself, and to others, with fresh understanding. But there are always other opinions available.

This variety of views is nowhere more obvious than it is with regard to Paul’s writings. One of the earliest comments we have on them comes in the Second Letter of Peter:

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