Unless someone guides me

Acts 8:26-40; 1 John 4:7-21

The First Church of St. John, or “the community of the beloved disciple,” as the late Raymond Brown called it, seems a lot like the church around the corner when you read between the lines. Some of the faithful sound a little too sure of themselves. Others confuse the talk with the walk. Some members get mad and leave the church.

Above all they seemed to have a hard time getting along with each other. Again and again the author included a variation on “Those who say, ‘I love God’ and hate their brothers or sisters are liars.” Love must have been hard to come by in this beloved community; 29 times in the space of 15 verses the author uses one form or another of agape: Beloved, let us love one another, for crying out loud! If they had this much trouble mustering love within the church, how did they deal with outsiders?


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