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 Wisdom Books & IV Maccabees

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PostSubject: Wisdom Books & IV Maccabees   Tue Mar 30, 2010 12:22 am

My favorite books of the Apocrypha are the wisdom books, which include; The Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus or the wisom of Jesus son of Sirach, and Baruch. And I like 4th Maccabees.

Sirach 21.2 states, "Flee from sin as from a snake; for if you approach sin it will bite you, it's teeth are like lion's teeth, and can destroy human lives." - NRSV. We certainly see in this country just how sin destroys human lives.

In Romans 9.21 Paul wrote, "Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use?" - NRSV. Ever wonder where Paul got that? Well, let us consider the Wisdom of Solomon 15.7, "A potter kneads the soft earth and laboriously molds each vessel for our service, fashioning out of the same clay both the vessels that serve clean uses and those for contrary uses, making all alike; but which shall be the use of each of them the worker in clay decides." - NRSV. One could wonder if Paul read the Wisdom of Solomon. Paul was very educated. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, and no doubt had the best education money could by at the time. True, there are other places in the Bible that speak of the the potter and the clay, but none this precise to Romans 9.21, unless I missed it.

Now let's look at I Peter 1.7, "so that the genuineness of your faith - being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire - may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed." - NRSV. Now let's consider Sirach 2.5, "For gold is tested in fire, and those found acceptable, in the furnace of humiliation." You can see the similarities. Perhaps Peter read Sirach.

I am not trying to say the books of the Apocrypha are inspired. Quite frankly, I just don't know. I do know they are a good read, and for someone such as me, who hates reading. that's saying something.

Now to 4th Maccabees. This is probably my favorite of all. For you fellow-trekkies, you'll understand when I say, there is almost a Vulcan quality about the book. Let me quote 4th Maccabees 1.15-19, and I think you will see what I mean. "Now reason is the mind that with sound logic prefers the life of wisdom. Wisdom, next, is the knowledge of divine and human matters and the causes of these. This, in turn, is education in the law, by which we learn divine matters reverently and human affairs to our advantage. Now the kinds of wisdom are rational judgment, justice, courage, and self-control. Rational judgment is supreme over all of these, since by means of reason rules over the emotions." See what I mean?

It goes on to explain that the emotions are rooted in pleasure and pain. Control these two, then you will be able to control the emotions.

Well folks, there is your first lesson in the Apocrypha.

Professor Didy

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