Ignatius was the pastor of the congregation in Antioch, Syria. He was arrested for his faith by the Roman authorities, and taken under guard to Rome, where he is believed to have died as a martyr. Along his journey to certain death, Ignatius wrote seven letters to different Christian churches. One of these was written to the congregation at Philadelphia.
These letters are generally dated sometime during the first decade of the 2nd century. Along with 1 and 2 Clement, and the Didache, Ignatius’ letters are the very earliest Christian writings outside the New Testament. Read the letter, and consider the pastoral advice this man had for fellow Christians, as he went to his own death.1
Ignatius, ⌊who is also called “God-bearer,”⌋ to the church of God the Father and of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is in Philadelphia in Asia, which has obtained mercy and is established in harmony of God and which rejoices greatly in the suffering of our Lord without wavering, and is fully convinced by all mercy in his resurrection, whom I greet in the blood of Jesus Christ, which is eternal and abiding joy, especially if they are in unity with the bishop and with the presbyters and deacons with him, who have been appointed in the purpose of Jesus Christ, who, according to his own will ⌊he securely established⌋ by his Holy Spirit.