Today, June 28, the Christian world remembers Irenaeus of Lyons, an early church father from the 2nd century AD. We do well to remember him, as we have Irenaeus to thank for much, including the ordering of our four canonical gospels, his contribution to the establishment of scripture’s authority and a theology of the unity and goodness of God within the Trinity.
This guide is one of a column series that invites Adventist readers to reflect on classics important to the Christian spiritual tradition. Each guide provides 1) A brief biography of the classic’s author and a section on historical context 2) A short outline of the classic 3) Reflection and analysis of the classic 4) Questions for personal spiritual reflection.
1) Biography of Boethius & Historical Context for the Book
The story of English Christianity begins with a man who was being called “the Venerable” within a generation of his passing. That story and even the very concept of “the English people” began with a monk who toiled for years writing one of the great historical works in early European history. While monasteries originated with a desire to withdraw from the world to worship God, Bede embodied the great civilizing aspect of the medieval monastery—the production and transmission of knowledge. He helped set the standard for learning and scholarship and demonstrated the importan
"While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” [...] Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.
Puzzled wonderment fills the disciples hearts here on the Mount of Olives as Jesus sends two of them off to the village of Bethany to bring him a colt. Anticipation and expectations increase as they realize their master is going to ride this small donkey. Quickly, they throw their garments over the back of the animal and help Jesus get on. In no time at all a crowd gathers with palm branches. Some are waved in the air; others are thrown on the road. Activated within the hearts of the disciples is a roller coaster of emotions.
I can count on one hand the number of times Joseph—husband of Mary, carpenter, angel-dreamer, step-father of God—is mentioned in the Bible. What do we do with a biblical character who is so little mentioned, but who is so obviously important? We could study his lineage, make sure he satisfies all the prophetic requirements to be “parent” of the Messiah. We could find the literary parallels between this Joseph and the Old Testament dreamer. Once we’ve exhausted the ways of analyzing and exegeting Joseph’s story, what are we left with? Mostly mystery.
On March 7, 203, Perpetua fought with the beasts in the arena of Carthage just weeks after her baptism as a Christian. She and her maid Felicity and four companions had been arrested and convicted on the charge of being Christians. Perpetua left behind a prison diary recording the events of her arrest, trial, imprisonment, and martyrdom.[i] This diary, unusual in giving a first-person account of martyrdom, is also notable as the earliest writing known to be written by a Christian woman.
This guide is one of a column series that will invite Adventist readers to reflect on important classics of the Christian spiritual tradition. Each guide will provide 1) A brief biography of the classic’s author 2) A section on historical context 3) A short outline of the classic 4) Reflection and analysis of the classic 5) Questions for personal spiritual reflection.
1) Biography of Ephrem
O my God, without ceasing I step over the threshold of Your house;