Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105 NASB
I love reading the Bible. Each time I read it, I learn something new. It’s amazing how even a second, third, or fourth time, I find new perspective and insight. My life circumstances change, and therefore, so does my application of the text.
As we dig into God’s Word it is important to keep a few things in mind. The author, as well as the time and place in which the book was written, are significant. It is also important to think about what was happening at the time in history and the author’s purpose for writing. When reading the Bible we must be careful to learn and apply its knowledge based on the context in which it was written.
We are about to start our study in Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. Three of the four Prison Epistles (Ephesians is the fourth,) these books are letters written by the apostle Paul to new Christian churches. It is believed that they were written between AD 60 and 62 while Paul was in prison. Although these letters were written long ago, the themes Paul addresses are still applicable to us today.
In Philippians and Colossians Paul encourages the new believers in Philippi and Colosse to stand firm in their faith. He expresses his gratefulness for their support of his ministry, yet also warns them about heresy they face. Although Paul finds himself in prison, the tone of his letters is joyful, thankful, and encouraging. In Philemon particularly, he urges a slave owner to forgive his runaway slave, who is now his brother in Christ.
Well, enough spoilers! Dig in and read the Prison Epistles for yourself. You are in for a treat!
*A version of this post appeared on Wayside Women’s Blog.