What do the writers of the New Testament epistles actually require of their readers? Quite the opposite of self-image practices. They constantly insist that their readers love God and one another in spite of any deprivation they may have experienced in their backgrounds. Indeed the issue of deprivation is never raised as an extenuating circumstance to explain away sinful living. Are we to infer that the recipients of the epistles had none of the deprivations ... wouldn’t you expect to see stroke after stroke given to converts in the epistles rather than commands and exhortations to love God and love one another? Commands to love, regardless of background and even in the midst of existing problems of every kind, appear in 1 Corinthians 13 and innumerable other passages. Indeed, Jesus Himself told us that Scripture can be summed up as a group of books that teach us how to love God and one another. If that is so, how is it that the all-important self-worth truth (that love for others rests on love for self, and this in turn on the love of others for one’s self) is not spelled out in Scripture?