Early Christianity was weird (end of Bible tweets)

Previously in the series: Genesis and ExodusLeviticus through DeuteronomyJoshua through PsalmsProverbs through Song of SongsIsaiah through EzekielDaniel through MalachiMatthewMarkLuke and John, Acts through Titus.

My tweet-through of the non-Pauline epistles and Revelation ended up being pretty sparse. For one thing, Revelation is so weird that I hardly knew what to pick out to highlight. In lieu of reading me tweeting though Revelation in its entirety, I recommend you read the (sadly incomplete) manga version of Revelation, Apocamon.

Other than that… early Christianity in general was weird. The fact that large numbers of early Christians thought the world was ending in their lifetimes is just the beginning (see many verses from previous posts, as well as Hebrews 1:2, James 2:8, 1 John 2:18, and Revelation 1:1 below). Like, did you know that some early Christians believed not in a single “the Antichrist,” but applied the “antichrist” label to anyone they perceived as heretical?

This thing about antichrists points to probably the biggest source of weirdness among early Christianity, namely that early Christians had tons of often quite bitter disagreements with each other. I think Bart Ehrman, in his excellent book Lost Christianitiesmade a comment to the effect that for all the division you see among Christians today, there was actually more in Christianity’s early years. (Note I say I think, I’m being lazy and not checking which has gotten me in trouble in the past.)

This is significant for a few of the books I’ve tweeted below. James is perhaps the most obvious case, since part of James appears to have been written as a rebuttal to Paul’s letter to the Romans.  But many of the books below–particularly Revelation–were of disputed status in the early centuries of Christianity.

Oh, and apparently some early Christians thought the Archangel Michael and Satan got into a tussle over the body of Moses. Now for the last of the tweets:

  • Hebrews 1:2 “In these last days he [God] has spoken to us by a Son…”
  • Heb 6:4-6: “For it is impossible to restore again to repentance those who have once been enlightened… and then have fallen away.”
  • Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
  • 1 James 27: Pure religion is “to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
  • James 2:17 “faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.”
  • James 2:19: “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.”
  • James 2:21: “Was not our ancestor Abraham justified by works when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?”
  • James 2:8 “… the coming of the Lord is near.”
  • 1 John 2:18: “As you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. From this we know that it is the last hour.”
  • 1 Jn 2:22 “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father & the Son”
  • 1 John 3:8 “Everyone who commits sin is a child of the devil; for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.”
  • 1 John 3:9 “Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, b/c they have been born of God.”
  • 1 John 3:8-9 seems to create a huge theological problem for Christians. Christianity teaches everyone is sinful, and experience teaches /1
  • that becoming a Christian does not magically change people’s behavior. So pretty much all Christians are “children of the devil.” /2
  • 2 John 1:7: Many people “do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist!
  • The epistles are weird. Mostly boring, and then you learn something fascinating like how “antichrist” originally meant “gnostic,” basically.
  • Jude 1:9: “when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses…”
  • Okay, tomorrow I tackle the Book of Revelation.
  • The opening words of Revelation: “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place…”
  • Revelation not only has scrolls, seals, bowls, and trumpets, but also candlesticks (v. 1:12). How did I forget that?
  • Revelation 20:12: “And the dead were judged according to their works, as recorded in the books.”
  • Okay, most of Revelation is just too weird to tweet, but I do recommend reading it yourself.
  • And with that thought, I end my Bible tweets project.
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