Papias of Hierapolis: Special care to the necessities

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Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them. Acts 15:37

“Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord’s sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took special care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements.”

Papias of Hierapolis in Fragments of Papias (Roberts-Donaldson English Translation).

I hope you are finding the journey through ancient documents interesting. I am moved by the gratitude, commitment, and faithfulness of the Apostolic Fathers.

Today we turn to Papias, bishop of Hierapolis (mentioned in Colossians 4:13), a hearer of John the Apostle, and a friend of Polycarp. He provides ancient evidence that Mark gave us the Petrine gospel (Peter’s account).

Most interesting is his description of it this account. It did not intend to be a narrative of the Lord’s dealings but he took “special care” to write down “the necessities” for us.

He wrote everything he recalled. He neither omitted anything nor put anything fictitious in there. Mark’s Gospel comes to us as a gift, ‘the necessities” of the gospel! How might you give such a gift?

You too have “neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him” but undoubtedly you’ve learned from your own study. What are important teachings of Jesus you could pass on to others?

Think about it. Some of the richest generosity takes this form: You study the teachings of Jesus, put them to practice, and then testify to their veracity to others. You figure them out as you live them out.

And then you help the next generation. John taught guys like Papias and Polycarp. Peter poured himself into Mark who helped future generations know about Jesus. What can you do to help future generations know about Jesus?