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Being assured, therefore, that God is not mocked, we are obliged to live in a manner befitting His commandment and glory. Deacons, likewise, must be blameless when judged by His rule of rectitude. They are God’s and Christ’s servants, and not men’s: they must not be slanderous, not double-tongued, not attached to money, temperate in all things, tender-hearted, zealous — thus realizing in their conduct the Lord’s ideal, who became Servant of all. If we win His approval in the present world, we shall also win the world to come: He has promised us to raise us from the dead. If we behave as worthy citizens of His kingdom, we shall also share in His royalty — that is, provided we persevere in faith. — “The Second Epistle”


Polycarp (ca. 69–ca. 155) was a Christian bishop and early Church father from Smyrna, a city in Asia Minor (which also claimed the epic poet Homer as one of its sons). His own martyrdom was recorded in the anonymous
Martyrdom of Polycarp and he is considered along with Clement of Rome and Ignatius of Antioch one of the three Apostolic Fathers — because of a direct relationship with St. John the Apostle, who, tradition holds, had ordained him bishop. His one extant work, The Epistles to the Philippians is accepted as genuine by most if not all Christian churches and so represents an important non-biblical text for all of Christendom.

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