I just started my Beth Moore bible study on Paul.
And she's starting with the historical context?? Yes! And even using a witty story as an aid to her points? YES! She must have done this before, cuz she's pretty good at it! This Jesus-loving-history-buff is quite satisfied with the commencement.
It began so simply—reviewing the very beginning steps to how God prepared Paul for his ministry to come. He was born into a good family, one that could give him the education that would become such a large tool in the future, the social standing (Roman citizenship) that would save his life, and the traditions that would give him a strong understanding of the God who commanded his life. But despite this, Paul was born into a hostile world—one that did not smile upon his religious traditions—similarly to the world that we live in today. I was challenged to look at how I respond to the way that my faith is received around me. While in "the bubble", it is easier, in the 'real world', I know that I struggle with finally coming out and saying the truth—telling people how it is. I can live out the faith, I can stand apart and be a witness towards something better—and people do notice that I have something different and even tell me so—but aside from a few instances, I still stutter when I try to tell people why I am filled with hope (1 Peter 3:15).
Day one and I'm already hooked—it's going to be a good 90 days or so—challenging, but good. New book, new journal (also very exciting), new adventure (just finished classes for the semester—one final to go and I'm DONE), and a new drive to clean out the clutter in my living area! Who knows where this is going?
Excited for the new—but also glad to be returning to some of the old for a while (home!)