Phileo and us

PhileoThe last chapter of Hebrews was probably penned by St. Paul. He did that a lot; dictated or delegated the body then added a personal exhortation and benediction at the end. If you were handed a letter by Mark Twain and another by William Faulkner, you would not need the title pages to know who wrote which. But Hebrews 13 is different.

It is as if we’re handed a letter by Faulkner with the last page written by Twain; complex language suddenly gets simple and clear. The Church lost track of who actually wrote what. I am guessing that Apollos or Priscilla wrote the letter and Paul gave it his imprimatur. Don’t hesitate to read it for itself.

It opens with a riff on the Greek word: phileo with meanings in the verb tense lost in translation.

Brother-love one another continuously.
Stranger-love visiting missionaries going forward.
Remember-love the church-folk in prison.
Husband-wife love is good and should be celebrated now.
Money-love is a dead-end always.
Leaders modeled this all for you because Jesus gave us timeless love that doesn’t need rituals or food laws or any of that.

It ends with a benediction: Peace, good news about Timothy getting out of prison, your friends say Hi. Grace.

I like to end what I write with a benediction too. Bene=good Diction=word. Email signatures are too short these days. My current one is “love bears all things”… another of Paul’s ideas. Grace is a pretty good idea to leave people with, too. Peace, some good news, a greeting, and grace.

6 thoughts on “Phileo and us

  1. Patrick Middleton

    This is one of the reasons I think Hebrews itself was not written by Paul. His last chapter endorses the rest of the letter. Pauls stamp of approval if you will. Why would that be necessary if Paul had written the rest of it? There are people that collect cookbooks. They enjoy reading about the food and the recipes. I have cookbooks so I can cook. I cook so I can eat. I eat so I can both enjoy the food and nourish my body. Seems a waste to me to just read and express interest in recipes. Hebrews presents some powerful ideas. I think those ideas are to be cooked, eaten and metabolized, not just read and discussed with interest. Right out of Bible college and seminary my faovorite letter was Romans. Mostly heady doctorine stuff, not all, but mostly. That appealed to my graduate school brain, Now my favorite letter is Hebrews because it is mostly of the heart. How does one live out because of Jesus we can now jump into the Creator’s lap and call Him Daddy? The implications of which are not exactly liberal. Is there really a Creator? Was there this God/man Jesus that sacrificed Himself for our sin so through Him, and only through Him, we can jump into our Creator’s lap? Lots of serious stuff taought in Hebrews. Sure hope you and your fellow group members cook, eat and digest those teachings. If so, a serious study through Hebrews is life changing.

  2. Patrick Middleton

    Not just abused, but it seems boundaries are an issue. The definitions I found had a hard time staying in the arena of Christian doctorine. Social and political ideology gets mixed in. Definitions I found have a hard time not passing judgement. There are some good comparisons out there, however, it is more like what you describe, abused and meaningless. Which I found odd. Pretty simple to lay out the differences in approach to the Bible (hermanuetics), salvation, identiy of Jesus, etc. There is a handful of things that can be easily laid out that would accurately describe each “camp.” Wonder why people have to throw all the other crap into the descriptions? One church we considered attending a few years ago presernted themselves as a conservative church. When I asked what that meant they replied with things like, “We teach that teens should not date, but engage in courtship when they are young adults.” Meaning, you don’t date until the person you date is the person you are going to marry. We did not join that church. That is not conservative Christianity, that is conservative social stuff. Right or wrong, that is not in the arena of conservative Christianity. Sadly, you are right. It has become useless to think in those terms.

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