Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:3, NKJV)
The Romans had a particular format for beginning a letter. A typical opening line might read: “Hermas, to my dear brother Aristarchus, greetings.”
Paul followed this format in his epistles. He began by identifying himself: “Paul,” and often as “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ.” He would then identify the recipient of his letter by saying, “to Timothy” or “to the saints who are in Ephesus.”
Instead of simply saying, “greetings”, however, Paul invariably invoked blessing upon his readers. “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” The wording is almost identical throughout his epistles. Before anything else, Paul wished believers to have God’s grace and peace filling their lives.
In his last letters of Titus and 1 and 2 Timothy – as an aging man looking back over a lifetime of hardships and persecution – Paul added one more blessing. Now he wrote, “Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Timothy 1:2 NKJV, italics added).
God’s grace and peace are gifts of His Holy Spirit, helping us make it through difficult times. But sometimes we do fall – and it’s good to know God’s mercy is there to lift us up.
– From 365 Encouraging Verses of the Bible, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.
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