Thinking Backwards

By Jo Cottrell


a) is trustworthy and reliable,
b) makes clear the standards he lives by and wants his children to follow,
c) is consistent in his expectations,
d) listens patiently to what his children say,
e) helps them to learn from experience,
f) is always loving, even when punishing,
g) is always willing to forgive,
h) may sometimes put his children to the test, though never beyond their abilities.

Paul was chosen to be the apostle to the Gentiles
he needed to teach them what was in the Old Testament
(which Jews had already spent their lifetime learning)
then he could explain how and why the Jews were ‘God’s Chosen People’
After that he could explain the mystery,
Which few Jews had been able to understand from the Old Testament,
That, right from the beginning, God had been promising,
To extend His promise of salvation equally to anyone in the world,
Who even without the law, was able to give Him
WHOLEHEARTED honour and obedience.

Paul’s converts could then see the relevance of Jewish history to THEIR world,
Likewise, without Paul’s help,
WE would not be alert to the deeper ideas
Behind the stories we have known from childhood

Your turn now – Bibles ready – can you link Paul’s explanations of Bible stories below to the right “hearts” of the Father’s attributes? Some long readings, some short; but the short provoke some extra thought!