Page 4 - May 2022 - Truth & Tidings
P. 4

I                                     meals. The practice of social fellowship
            have been asked to write an article
                                              is invaluable and, if conversation is con-
            which provides a definition of hos-
            pitality. While it is not good to begin
        on a negative note, perhaps it is best to   trolled, can be a great spiritual help to
                                              those in attendance.
        start with what it is not. Contrary to what   We need, however, to transfer our-
        someone once thought, it does not mean   selves into first-century society. Christi-
        visiting the hospital. That having been   anity was making great strides through
        said, I am faced with a formidable chal-  Asia Minor and parts of Europe. As a
        lenge: I am assigned a 1,000-word article.   result of the gospel, families were be-
        Since Mr. Vine defines hospitality with   ing divided. The gods and idols of the
        three words, “love of strangers,” and Mr.   heathen were being discarded. The syna-
        Webster employs only a few more words   gogue was being exchanged for simple
        in his definition, “the activity or business   gatherings of believers in each other’s
        of providing services to guests,” I still   homes. Seismic changes were occurring
        have over 900 words to add to the article.
                                              throughout the world. 1 Corinthians 7
        The Meaning                           even hints at people leaving spouses who
          Let’s start, however, with Mr. Vine’s   had received Christ, refusing to continue
        definition, which is derived from the   in a marriage with someone who no lon-
                                              ger worshiped the gods.
        Greek words  philoxenos or  philoxenia,
        used in at least five instances in the NT   The Hebrews epistle recounts the
        (Rom 12:13; 1Ti 3:2; Titus 1:8; Heb 13:2;   reality that some had known the “spoil-
        1Pe 4:9) and embedded in the truth of   ing of their goods” (Heb 10:34). In all
        1 Timothy 5:10. Combining the literal   likelihood, for many believing Jews, it
        meaning of the word, the contexts in   meant being disinherited. They were left
        which they are found, and the conditions   without home or possessions. Others,
        of the times in which the letters were   like Paul, “suffered the loss of all things”
        written, we can arrive at a contextually   (Php 3:8). Persecuted believers would
        appropriate understanding.            be driven out of their homes and even
          “Love of strangers” means something   from their cities, consigned to wander-
        other than inviting the believers from   ing from city to city, looking for friendly
        the assembly to your home for a meal or   believers. When the writer of Hebrews
        for an informal gathering after meeting.   13 enjoined the saints to “be not forgetful
        Please, by all means continue this valu-  to entertain strangers,” he had in mind
        able activity. But we are considering a   those who were previously unknown,
        love of “strangers.” This form of “hospi-  who would appear on the doorstep and
        tality” would not involve reciprocal visits   claim that they needed a place to live and
        to each other’s homes for socializing or   food to eat.

        132 TRUTH kTidings   May  2022
   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9