Thursday, April 2, 2009

The first circuit judge?

A former pastor suggested that I start at Genesis and read through the entire Bible. At first, my pride was a bit offended, because I have already read the entire Bible 5, 6 or maybe even 7 times, from cover to cover. In addition, I have practiced daily devotional readings for many years, and have done multiple Bible studies, including the very intensive BSF (Bible Study Fellowship, Int'l.), which I did for over 3 years. However, I am now glad that he suggested that, because, as a result, I am finding gems in areas that I have not looked at in years. Sometimes they are things that are incredible, and other times they are merely interesting tidbits. In addition, I am also finding more and more humor, wit, sarcasm and irony in the Bible. For example, here is a cute tidbit that I found just this morning:

"And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the LORD." (1 Samuel 7:15-17)

Samuel was the first circuit judge! LOL!

circuit judge

-a judge who holds office in a circuit court

This also reminds me of a circuit preacher or circuit rider. For example, Samuel "went from year to year in circuit," while Wikipedia says that circuit riders visited "each church in his charge at least once a year." So, in a loose sense (with tongue in cheek), Samuel might be referred to as the first circuit preacher as well.

Circuit preacher
from Wikipedia
"A circuit preacher is a Christian minister who, in response to a shortage of ministers, officiates at multiple churches in an area, thus covering a "circuit"."

Circuit rider (religious)
"A circuit (nowadays referred to as a charge) was a geographical area that encompassed two or more local churches. Local pastors met with their bishops annually for appointment to either a new circuit or remain at the same one (often they were moved to another). Once a pastor was assigned a circuit, it was his responsibility to visit each church in his charge at least once a year in addition to possibly erecting new churches.

Because of the distance between churches, these preachers would ride on horseback. They were called circuit riders or saddlebag preachers. They traveled with few possessions, carrying only what could fit in their saddlebags. They traveled through wilderness and villages, they preached every day at any place available (peoples' cabins, courthouses, fields, meeting houses, later even basements and street corners). Unlike preachers of settled denominations, Methodist preachers were always on the move (most circuits were so large that it would take 5 to 6 weeks to cover them). This is what boosted Methodism into the largest Protestant denomination at the time, sparing no effort to bring the church to the common people. In 1784, there were 43 circuits. By 1844, the denomination had grown to the point that there was a need for almost 4000 circuit riders."

4 comments:

thekingpin68 said...

For any Christian, scholar or not, a look through the Scripture with commentaries, language texts, lexicons and theology texts is a very good idea.

Russ:)

Jeff said...

Thanks, Russ. I agree, and I think Bible reading and Bible study (if it is really proper to separate the two) are both important. In fact, the study of God's Word is more beneficial than the study of anything else in this world. I use NIV footnotes, commentaries, cross-referencing, etc. all the time. Mainly, we should be in God's Word daily, as that is the Christian's spiritual nourishment.

satire and theology said...

All the blog comments always much appreciated, Sir Jenkins. Cheers.

I just posted another goofy multi-email scam.

Russ:)

Jeff said...

Satire and Theology,

All the blog comments always much appreciated, Sir Jenkins. Cheers.

You're welcome, Russ.