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A Week in the Life of a SlaveI appeal to you for my son Onesimus who became my son while I was in chains Formerly he was useless to you but now he has become useful both to you and to me These words written by the apostle Paul to a first century Christian named Philemon are tantalizingly brief Indeed Paul's epistle to Philemon is one of the shortes John Byron is Professor of New Testament at Ashland Theological Seminary and focused his doctoral research at the University of Durham on slavery metaphors in early Judaism and Pauline Christianity Since that time he has continued to write and publish on these themes and is well euipped to recreate the historical context for Paul’s letter to Philemon which is exactly what the book accomplishes Readers will follow Onesimus the slave as he encounters the apostle Paul Demas and other New Testament figures while he is on the run from his owner Philemon Through the witness of Paul and the Christian community Onesimus is converted to Christianity and sent back to his master along with Paul’s letter which became part of the New Testament canonThe greatest praise I can give this volume is that when I read the letter to Philemon at the end of the book it was as though I read it with first century eyes Compared to the many other times I’ve read Philemon in my life which could be compared to reading them in black and white this time the meaning and purpose of the letter came through in living color Any book that enables me to understand any part of the Word of God better is a gift and so this book has been to meOne of the features of the book that readers will appreciate are the numerous informational boxes in the text These sidebars contain helpful insights into the historical and cultural background that add layers of texture to the book and help the reader become better educated as they read the story and not simply entertained Among the highlights for me were his succinct treatment of the translational challenge of 1 Corinthians 721 p 118 and his discussion of how astounding it would have sounded for a freedperson to refer to themselves as “a slave of God” or Christ p114In terms of the content itself readers will find new light shed on their understanding of the gospel by considering its astonishing message through the eyes of a first century slave for example see pages 76 77 Additionally characters mentioned in the Bible that we typically pass over without a thought are given a history and a family and a place in the story Personally I appreciated the positive portrayal of Demas Byron effectively humanizes a man that I have simply written off as one of the people who deserted Paul But he was than that He was a partner to Paul at one point and valuable in the ministry which makes his falling in love with the world all the heartbreaking for Paul and cautionary for all of us in ministry todayAnother area the book brought to life for me was the warmth with which everyone was personally greeted in the Christian fellowships Not only would that have impressed and touched the heart of a slave as the book demonstrates but it would likely make an impact on the people who walk through the doors of our churches in the 21st century as well I found myself reflecting on my own personal greetings of others in the church and particularly how I greet or fail to greet those who are outsiders on account of their economic status race or history In an age in which loneliness appears to be our greatest affliction the warm welcome of a truly loving Christian community is a powerful apologetic for the good news we proclaimOne valuable effect of the book is that it forces one to think about how things might have been in the first century church In some cases I found myself imagining things to have occurred differently than the way Byron imagines but that I was imagining them at all is a testament to the power of the story he tellsFinally the epilogue introducing the reader to Bishop Onesimus was a surprising and thought provoking ending Even ardent students of the Bible will likely be unfamiliar with what may have happened to Onesimus after Philemon received the letter and his slaveWhile there is much to love about the book readers of good literature will find that much of the dialogue in the book feels forced and unnatural Additionally whenever Paul spoke in the book I freuently found myself writing in the margins “That doesn’t sound like Paul’s voice” To be clear I’m not in the same league as Dr Byron when it comes to Pauline studies But in my years of reading the vast corpus of Paul in the New Testament I believe I’ve come to know the voice of Paul the man at some level And the portrayal of him here sometimes did not line up with what I expected This might have been alleviated by having some of the imaginative dialogue that didn’t have to be spoken by Paul placed in the mouth of a character who is lesser knownFinally the informational boxes were loaded with helpful information but their placement scattered throughout the chapters greatly disrupted the flow of the story itself Perhaps in future editions the material in these boxes could form an introduction at the beginning of each chapter so the reader is well prepared for what he or she will encounter without having the storyline continually interruptedWhile I’ve shared a few brief critiues they should not discourage anyone from purchasing and reading this book Those who plan to preach or teach through Philemon will find this book a great aid to their study and imaginations It reads uickly and easily and can bring you up to speed uickly on the practice of slavery in the first century and how it should affect our reading of Philemon Additionally any who simply desire to have a better understanding of the language or practice of slavery in the New Testament will find a rich and reliable treasure trove in this eminently readable bookMy thanks to InterVarsity Press for sending me a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

EPUB A Week in the Life of a Slave

FREE DOC ñ READER A Week in the Life of a Slave ë JOHN BYRON ☆ ❮Read❯ ➮ A Week in the Life of a Slave Author John Byron – Dcmdirect.co.uk I appeal to you for my son Onesimus who became my son while I was in chains Formerly he was useless to you but now he has become useful both toIs imprisoned and fleshes out the lived context of that time and place supplemented by numerous sidebars and historical images John Byron's historical fiction is at once a social and theological critiue of slavery in the Roman Empire and a gripping adventure story set against the exotic backdrop of first century Ephesus This is a fictional book with lots of historical facts transporting you back to the apostolic days I had so much fun reading this book and thought the ending was so powerful Paul's letter to Philemon will never be read the same after reading this bookIf you'd like to learn about the Bible and have any interest in this uniue fictional work using story to teach read this book John Byron the author is no Ernest Hemingway but Ernest Hemingway is no New Testament scholar This is such a great book in that it teaches in a riveting way If you have any interest in this book pull the trigger and give it a try I will definitely be reading other works in this series

John Byron ¾ A Week in the Life of a Slave READER

T books in the entire Bible While it's direct enough in its way it certainly leaves plenty to the imagination A Week in the Life of a Slave is a vivid imagining of that story From the pen of an accomplished New Testament scholar the narrative follows the slave Onesimus from his arrival in Ephesus where the apostle Paul This book is partly fiction and partly nonfiction It read like a documentary show that's primarily made up of fictional reenactments to illustrate the points The purpose was to educate readers in an entertaining way about the social and cultural background to Paul's letter to Philemon so that we can better understand itThe story followed a week in the life of a runaway slave Onesimus as well as details about Paul's life in prison and the people in Ephesus who owned slaves A lot of educational material was worked into the story but additional information was provided in sidebars which could take up whole pages that were placed within the story The book included some pictures of archaeological artifacts that illustrated information in the non fiction sidebars or events in the story Overall I'd recommend this book to people interested in the insights gained from cultural background informationI received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley