You can “Google” Six Honest serving men to get the whole poem.
However these six words provide us with a good start in trying to understand passages of scripture.
WHAT kind of literature am  I reading?  Is it prose or poetry or proverb or apocalyptic or history?  Our search for meaning will be influenced by understanding what kind of literature we are reading.  And the Bible contains a wide variety of literary form.
WHY was this written?  What was the writer’s purpose? To give information? To challenge, encourage, chastise?
WHEN was it written? For instance the Book of Daniel was written in the mid 160’s BCE  looking back over past events.  But the writer gives the impression that he/she is writing 4-5 centuries earlier and is looking forward predicting the future.  Paul’s letters were written before the Gospels – yet it easy to assume they were written after because of the way they are placed in the New Testament.
HOW did this become “Holy Scripture”?  We sometimes forget that nothing in the Bible was actually written as “Holy Scripture”.  It was later Councils that chose then to be that from a wide variety of material available.  The fights that went on to decide what was “in” and what wasn’t are interesting!!
WHERE was this written? For example, Genesis chapter one  (The Creation Story) was written by an anonymous priest while in captivity in Babylon (586-525 BCE).  It shows the influence of Babylonian astronomy and science.  He saw that new information could give us a new understanding of our origins.  His Creation Poem superseded the older story found in chapter 2 of Genesis and which came out of an ancient oral tradition.
WHO wrote this?  What do we know about the writer. Who is he/she writing about? Who are the characters we meet in this particular story.

As we seek to understand our faith these questions help us to dig deeper and get a wider perspective and vision.  So get to know the six “guys’ and let them help you understand the Bible better – if fact they can help us get a better understand of a wide variety of things.

This Sunday we will explore some of what it means to live in our world.
This weekend is also Waitangi weekend and in this e-news is a copy of a letter from the Moderator of the General Assembly.
Enjoy your weekend and hope to see you on Sunday.

Waitangi Day message from the Right Rev Fakaofo Kaio, Moderator Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Waitangi Day 6 February is regarded by many as our national day. It commemorates the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi/e Tiriti o Waitangi between the Tangata Whenua (Māori) and the Crown (British Empire), at the marae in Paihia in 1840 – 181 years ago. It was an incredible achievement by all concerned. No treaty is without faults and blemishes. With both parties involved, it was signed with hope for a fruitful future.

Our history, in the nearly two centuries since the signing of the Treaty, records stories of deception, distortion, abuse and manipulation. Grief and pain will never pass. This is always the case in treaties with land and control of people at the core of such an arrangement. How do we face this? We must learn the Treaty of Waitangi story, remember and honour the Treaty, with respect for one another. We must move forward as a nation, united in love, honour, and respect.  The Treaty of Waitangi is our story – look back, learn, remember, be gracious and resolutely move on.

What of today? As a nation, we are making progress. Treaty settlements continue, much has been completed. Our Pakeha/Palagi population still leads in the majority in all areas of our society. The Māori economy has improved. The study of the history of this land is now a reality from the earliest stages of schooling. Māori, Pacifica and Asian peoples are progressing slowly but surely in academic qualifications, management roles, and owning their own businesses. Representing us in the NZ Parliament are an increasing number of Māori, Pacifica and other ethnicities, more than ever before in our short history.

As a nation, we are young. We are one of a handful of nations leading the world in the battle with Covid-19. In the sporting arenas, we compete “above our weight” and our lack of resources (isolation, people, and the latest technology) does not hinder us. This attitude and demeanour is very much the reflection of who we are in the global landscape. We are a warrior nation of men and women influenced and nurtured by our heritage – Māori, English, Scottish, Pacific, Asian, European, plus many other origins.

Today, we the Tangata Whenua, the Crown, and the Manuhiri (late comers), stand on the shoulders of giants. We owe it to them to build up this land, to grow our potentials, to live in peace and harmony, be involved and participate in every level of our society.

Let us honour a bicultural treaty signed in 1840. We, a multicultural society, 5 million strong. We flourish and grow as a cross-cultural nation, emphasising building families, communities, and ourselves, on Godly values and principles.

Kia kaha, i te aroha o te Atua ia Ihu Karaiti. Be strong in the love of God in Jesus Christ.

Ke manuia/Blessings

Right Reverend Fakaofo Kaio
Moderator Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand

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