ct: what Paul has to say about suffering

Put all too briefly: in 1 Thessalonians Paul challenges believers to recognize that acceptance of the gospel is acceptance of suffering; in Philippians Paul contemplates, defends, and describes suffering as a believer; and in Romans, Paul emphasizes that believers share the human lot, while illustrating the unique context in which we do so “in Christ” and clarifying our obligation to take on additional sufferings “with Christ” for the sake of God’s creation. This can be understood as a three-step progression: in 1 Thessalonians Paul challenges believers to recognize suffering as part of the vocation of the Christian, in Philippians he offers a rich conceptual context for understanding this vocation, and in Romans he offers an understanding of how we may both undergo the challenges that come to every human and participate in reducing suffering’s bite. (L. Ann Jervis, At the Heart of the Gospel: Suffering in the Earliest Christian Message, p.12)

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