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Thursday, August 24, 2006
"Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long" (Psalm 119:97). "Greet Philologus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olympas and all the saints with them" (Romans 16:15).
We went to a new church last night where I was invited to share the message. As we greeted the people and introduced ourselves we asked them their names. Names are important to us. People like to be addressed by their name.
Here in the USA we have a number that uniquely identifies us called our social security number. Can you imagine how different it would be if that's how we were known! For example, I would extend my hand and say "Hello, I'm 672-58-2208." They'd smile and say "I'm 843-97-4382."* I have a hard enough time with names now, so I can’t imagine a system of memorizing numbers. I've had a difficult time memorizing phone numbers in recent years so I usually call out to Brooksyne who's my walking telephone directory.
Names identify us. Last night I met a lady named "Ivy" and she gave me an interesting memory aid by saying "just remember poison ivy." (She obviously doesn't have an esteem problem!) Well, I'm well-acquainted with poison ivy so I am quite sure I will remember her name.
I am named after Stephen (in the Bible) and not surprisingly he is a favorite Bible character. Stephen means "crowned one." Brooksyne's name was made up by her Mom and we really don't have a meaning behind it, although she is usually the first Brooksyne anyone meets. She helps people with the pronunciation by saying remember, "scene of a brook" but turn it around and say, "Brook scene" with the accent on the second syllable.
The second daily text today is tucked among a long listing of Paul's friends and ministry associates in Romans 16. In fact this chapter has 35 proper names! One of them was Philologus, the only time he is mentioned in the Scriptures. Very little is known about him (I presume he was a male) but he has a neat name, a compound of two words; Philo meaning "love" and logos meaning "word."
We can't do more than conjecture but I wonder if this was a name with a meaning as was often the case in the Bible? I think this is likely and if so it means "lover of the word." Or it might have been, like Barnabas, a descriptive nickname based upon what others had observed. Barnabas means "son of encouragement" and after he had acquired the nickname he is never again known by his birth name of Joseph (Acts 4:36). Perhaps others had observed Philologus as a diligent student of God's Word and had given him this nickname!
Philologus will be an interesting person to meet in heaven and then we'll find the story behind the name for sure. However we should all have a lifelong love for God's Word. The psalmist declared, "Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long" (Psalm 119:97).
An interesting glimpse into the Apostle Paul is seen in a request to Timothy in his final letter when he knew his time of departure was near. "When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments" (2 Timothy 4:13). I still specifically recall one of my Bible School teachers pointing out that this was likely a request for the Scriptures. Paul wanted to always be learning and evidence of his love for the Word is seen right up to his death.
May we be those who love the Word of God!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen and Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Jesus, clinging to Your Word is like holding tightly to a bright lantern on a darkened path. I can't see what's ahead but the light shines bright enough for me to proceed step by step. I am strengthened, encouraged, convicted and challenged by the Holy Bible as I faithfully read and meditate upon the inspired words written by believers throughout the generations. I join with the Psalmist who proclaims, "Oh how I love Your Law. I meditate on it all day long. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey Your Word." Amen.
Today's message was inspired by a Sunday School class we visited while in Easton, PA several weeks ago. Rick, the teacher, brought out the additional meaning of Philologus and several other Bible names and it really stayed with us as we discussed it on our trip back to Mount Joy. We hope it will stay with you as well!
Family note: Tomorrow we will be traveling up to New England. Sunday I will be speaking at Liberty Christian Center, the church I pastored from 1993-2000. Monday we take Ester to Boston Children's Hospital in preparation for a heart pacemaker replacement on Tuesday. I hope to continue this series while I am up there, but I don't expect to be able to Tuesday particularly since at this time she is scheduled to arrive at the hospital at 6:30AM! We do appreciate the prayers of Daily Encouragement readers. We hope to see a number of our friends when we are up that way.
As we were preparing this message a couple friends from our local church stopped by on their bikes. They rode five miles to get here so they could pray for Ester, knowing we were leaving tomorrow morning. As a matter of fact we featured Roanna yesterday in the photo where she was standing next to Ester. Not only do we love God's Holy Word, we sure do love God's loving people!
* These aren't real numbers that I know of. I just made it up. (But possibly they are somebody's!) On a tech note locations on the internet are actually made up of numbers called IP addresses. For Daily Encouragement Net that number is http://188.8.131.52/~de/ Early on they came up with the domain name system.
Proper names in Romans 16 (for those that like detail)
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