It is from these letters that we learn most of what we know about the man who's nickname was Theophorus, which means, God-Bearer. Ignatius was a disciple of the Apostle John and the older friend of Polycarp, also a disciple of John. From the account of his martyrdom,
"Ignatius, the disciple of John the apostle, a man in all respects of an apostolic character, governed the Church of the Antiochians with great care." (The Martyrdom of Ignatius, Chapter 1)Ignatius was a man beloved by those in the church and an example to other believes and even to his fellow bishops. The seven letters Ignatius wrote during his journey to Rome have been preserved for us in three separate forms, typically referred to as the shorter, longer, and the Syriac version. I am in no way a scholar of ancient writing so I have adopted the opinion of the majority and will use the shorter version of the letters in the following posts.
Over the next several post we will examine, one by one, the letters of Ignatius. I hope they are a blessing to you and that they also challenge you in your christian life and in your understanding of what it means to be "christian."