Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Lectionary: Stripping Paul of His Warnings

This Sunday's Epistle, 2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18, contains another one of those annoying and potentially meaning changing lectionary edits where verses 9-15 get left out of the reading. Let's first look at what most people will hear today, the edited version,

6 "As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 
16 At my first defence no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Next, read it again with the lost verses reinserted and highlighted.
6 "As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
9 Do your best to come to me soon, 10 for Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful in my ministry. 12 I have sent Tychicus to Ephesus. 13 When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will pay him back for his deeds. 15 You also must beware of him, for he strongly opposed our message.
 16 At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them! 17 But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Note that in the version heard in most churches, Paul has but one minor comment about those who deserted him, and even that is tempered by his plea to not have it held against them,
16 "At my first defense no one came to my support, but all deserted me. May it not be counted against them!"  
In the missing verses we hear the details of some of the deserters and how Paul reminds his readers that God will hold it against those who oppose the Gospel,
14 "Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will pay him back for his deeds."
I suspect a similar fate awaited Demas who followed the cares of the world and abandoned the Gospel.

No, those warnings will go unheard today.

Just another typical Sunday for the mind numbed pewitters...

1 comment:

  1. 'Mwaahh!', clergy cry. It's so complex for them to explain. 'Mwaahh' -- too much research to do!

    I am so fed up with this. What are clergy paid to do but to preach the Good News? This includes the Epistles.

    Churchmouse

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