The Salvation Epistle (A Fathers Epistles Book 5)
Rather, three clear purposes unfold for the writing of Romans. Paul wanted to inform them of his plans and to have them anticipate and pray for their fulfillment A second purpose was to present a complete and detailed statement of the gospel message God had called him to proclaim. A third purpose is related to the questions that naturally arose among the Jewish and the Gentile Christians at Rome like what does the gospel do to the Law and such Old Testament rites like circumcision? And what about the Jew?
Has God set the Jew aside? Had He forgotten His promises to the Jews? In this the apostle shows how God saves the sinner. In these verses, the great themes of the epistle are gathered together— the gospel, the power of God, salvation, everyone, who believes, righteousness from God, Jew and Gentile. Ryrie has an excellent summary of the theme and contents:. The theme of the epistle is the righteousness of God 1: A number of basic Christian doctrines are discussed: Picking out key chapters in Romans is indeed difficult for in this great treatise on doctrine and its application to life, one wants to say every chapter is key.
But certainly two sections of the book do stand out. Paul presents Jesus Christ as the Second Adam whose righteousness and substitutionary death have provided justification for all who place their faith in Him. Apart from the introduction 1: That Paul is the author of this epistle is supported by both external and internal evidence. From the first century onward A.
The internal evidence is obvious. The writer calls himself Paul in several places cf. Being written to the church at Corinth, this epistle came to be known as Pros Corinthious A , which in effect means First Corinthians. The A or alpha, the first letter of the Greek alphabet, was undoubtedly a latter addition to distinguish it from Second Corinthians which shortly followed this epistle. Paul first preached the gospel in Corinth while on his second missionary journey, about A. While there he lived and worked with Aquila and Priscilla who were of the same trade, tent-makers Acts As was his custom, Paul first preached in the synagogue but was eventually forced out by Jewish opposition.
However, he simply moved next door to the house of Titius Justus where he continued his ministry Acts Though accused by the Jews before the Roman governor Gallio a charge that was dismissed Paul remained 18 months in Corinth Acts This letter was written about A. From his reference that he stayed at Ephesus until Pentecost To grasp the theme and purpose, a little background is necessary.
Corinth was a large metropolis approximately ,; about two-thirds of whom were slaves located on a narrow isthmus between the Aegean Sea and the Adriatic Sea that connected the Peloponnesus with Northern Greece. As a city, it had a reputation for gross materialism and deep sinfulness. The city was filled with shrines and temples with the most prominent being the temple of Aphrodite that sat on top of an foot promontory called the Acrocorinthus. In the earliest Greek literature it was linked with wealth Homer Iliad 2. The playwright Philetaerus Athenaeus From the account in Acts it would appear as if Paul had little fruit among the Jews and that nearly all of his converts were Gentiles.
THE LETTER OF ST. PAUL TO THE EPHESIANS
Most of these came from the humbler ranks, although there appear to have been some of the nobler class also 1: Marked social and economic differences existed among them 7: Yet as Greeks they prided themselves on their intellectualism, although in their case it had degenerated into a crude and shallow type 1: One can certainly see, then, how the immoral and religious conditions of Corinth had negatively impacted the life of the church spiritually and morally. This new life in Christ calls for a new way of living through the Holy Spirit 3: Thus, 1 Corinthians was written as a pastoral corrective to the news he had received to the many problems and disorders in the church there.
The problems included divisions in the church 1: Undoubtedly, because of their religious and immoral background, aberrant beliefs and practices of an extraordinary variety characterized this church. Chapter 13 , the great chapter on agape love, undoubtedly stands out as the pinnacle chapter of this book. Certainly, there has never been a greater explanation of love written. The centrality of Christ as the essence, source, and means of the Christian life is stated in 1: Again as indicated in the opening salutation, Paul is the author of this letter.
Both external and internal evidence is very strong in support of Pauline authorship. Some critics have claimed that chapters 10—13 were not a part of this letter in its original form because of a sudden change of tone. A popular theory claims that chaps. Further, there is no evidence for so partitioning 2 Corinthians. To distinguish this letter from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, this letter received the title, Pros Corinthians B. The B represents the Greek letter beta , the second letter of the Greek alphabet.
This was then followed by 3 the second letter to Corinth 1 Cor. It should be pointed out that the two lost letters were lost only because they were not intended by God to be part of the biblical canon. Because of the riot caused by silversmiths Acts In the process, he made a preliminary stop at Troas hoping to rendezvous with Titus 2 Cor. There he met Titus, who brought good news about the general well-being of the Corinthian church but bad news about a group who were standing in opposition to Paul and his apostleship. From Macedonia Paul wrote a fourth letter, 2 Corinthians.
Paul then made his third visit to Corinth during the winter of A. In it he bared his heart and declared his steadfast love for the Corinthians even though some had been extremely critical and very fickle in their affection for him. The major theme is summoned by James K.
Lowery in the Bible Knowledge Commentary. What concerned Paul preeminently was the presence of false teachers, claiming to be apostles, who had entered the church. They promoted their own ideas and at the same time sought to discredit both the person and message of the apostle. Second Corinthians was written to defend the authenticity of both his apostleship and his message. As we face the various dilemmas of life, we must all learn to find our comfort in God who is the God of all comfort. Contained therein are the principles for giving 8: All we need for life is found in Him.
In this epistle, we see Him as our comfort 1: Further, his authorship is virtually unchallenged. The date when Paul penned this letter depends on the destination of the letter. Ryrie summarizes this and writes:. The former referred to north-central Asia Minor, north of the cities of Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe; the latter referred to the Roman province organized in 25 B.
If the letter was written to Christians in North Galatia, the churches were founded on the second missionary journey and the epistle was written on the third missionary journey, either early from Ephesus about A. If the letter was written to Christians in South Galatia, the churches were founded on the first missionary journey, the letter was written after the end of the journey probably from Antioch, ca.
In favor of this dating is the fact that Paul does not mention the decision of the Jerusalem council that bore directly on his Galatian argument concerning the Judaizers, indicating that the council had not yet taken place. They taught, among other things, that a number of the ceremonial practices of the Old Testament were still binding on the church.
Thus, the apostle writes to refute their false gospel of works and demonstrates the superiority of justification by faith and sanctification by the Holy Spirit versus by the works of the Law. In the first two chapters Paul vindicated his apostleship and message. In these two chapters Paul demonstrated convincingly that his apostleship and his message came by revelation from the risen Christ. Then, in chapters 3 and 4 he contended for the true doctrine of grace, the doctrine of justification by faith alone.
Some, however, would immediately claim such a doctrine leads to license, so the apostle demonstrates that Christian liberty does not mean license. Thus, chapters 5 and 6 show that Christians must learn to live by the power of the Spirit and that the Spirit controlled walk will manifest not the works of the flesh but rather the fruit of the Spirit.
In this sense, chapter 5 is a key chapter. Through His death by which believers have died to the Law and through the Christ exchanged life 2: The power of the cross provides deliverance from the curse of the law, from the power of sin, and from self 1: The Experience of the Galatians: Ephesians along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon are sometimes referred to as the prison epistles because they were each written while Paul was confined or in chains. Each of these letters contain references to this situation Eph. Whether he was imprisoned once or twice in Rome is debated, though two imprisonments seem to fit the facts better.
During the first, Paul was kept in or near the barracks of the Praetorian Guard or in rental quarters at his own expense for two years Acts He anticipated being released Philem. These, then, are the first Roman imprisonment letters, whereas 2 Timothy is the second Roman imprisonment letter. The fact these great epistles were written while Paul was imprisoned, either in Roman barracks or chained daily to a Roman soldier in his own rented house Acts It shows how we may be chained and hindered, but that the Word of God is not imprisoned see also 2 Tim.
As clearly stated in the opening verse of each of the prison epistles, Paul is declared to be the author. That the apostle is the author of Ephesians is strongly supported by both internal and external evidence. Twice, the writer calls himself Paul 1: As to external evidence, several church fathers Clement of Rome, Ignatius, Polycarp, Clement of Alexander, and others either quote from or use language closely resembling that found in Ephesians. In recent years, however, critics have turned to internal grounds to challenge this unanimous ancient tradition. There is some debate as to the title and destination of this epistle.
Several things indicate that Ephesians was a circular letter, a doctrinal treatise in the form of a letter, to the churches in Asia Minor. Some good Greek mss. There is an absence of controversy in this epistle, and it does not deal with problems of particular churches. Since Paul had worked at Ephesus for about three years and since he normally mentioned many friends in the churches to whom he wrote, the absence of personal names in this letter strongly supports the idea of its encyclical character.
It was likely sent first to Ephesus by Tychicus Eph. As previously mentioned, the apostle was a prisoner when he wrote this epistle Eph. Though scholars differ on whether Paul wrote Ephesians while he was imprisoned at Caesarea Acts As also mentioned, it is believed that Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon were also written during the same time period cf. After he was released he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus, was arrested again, wrote 2 Timothy, and was martyred in Rome.
No specific purpose is stated and no particular problem or heresy is addressed. Out of this, two great purposes emerge in the epistle. The first is to set forth something of the wealth of blessings that believers have in Christ, and how, through them, the eternal purposes of God are summed up in the person of Christ, the things in heaven and on earth 1: While not written to be remedial or to correct any specific errors, Paul designed this epistle as a prevention against those problems that so often occur because of a lack of maturity or a failure in grasping and applying what believers have in Christ.
While we are blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ 1: These are common Pauline expressions, but they appear in this epistle more than in any other. By this, we see much of what believers have through their position in the Savior. They are in Christ 1: Both the internal and external evidence again points to Paul as the author. Internally the letter reveals the stamp of genuineness.
The many personal references of the author fit what we know of Paul from other NT books.
Epistle of Barnabas
As with Ephesians, this epistle was written while Paul was imprisoned. His reference to the Praetorian guard Phil. Though death was possible, Paul also seemed confident of his release. This suggests Philippians was written after Ephesians later in A. Philippians guards against the failure to practice Christ-provided unity and against the failure of believers to rejoice in their blessings and position in Christ Phil.
Paul had several obvious purposes in writing this letter to the Philippians: Chapter 2 is certainly a key chapter in the way it sets forth Christ as our example in putting others before ourselves by having the mind of Christ. In the process of this, Paul then launches into a grand revelation regarding the humility and exaltation of Christ in 2: No passage is clearer and more declarative regarding the nature, fact, and purpose of the incarnation of Christ as is found in this book, the great kenosis passage 2: Because of the greetings in 1: But the authorship of this epistle has been doubted by some on the grounds of the vocabulary and the nature of the heresy refuted in this epistle.
That Colossians is a genuine letter of Paul is not usually disputed. In the early church, all who speak on the subject of authorship ascribe it to Paul. In the 19th century, however, some thought that the heresy refuted in ch. But a careful analysis of ch. Also, the seeds of what later became the full-blown Gnosticism of the second century were present in the first century and already making inroads into the churches. Consequently, it is not necessary to date Colossians in the second century at a time too late for Paul to have written the letter.
Paul wrote all four prison epistles during his first Roman imprisonment. This means he wrote it in A. The theme is the fruitful and effective power of the gospel message which heralds the supremacy, headship, and the utter sufficiency of Christ to the church which is His body. It is a cosmic book, presenting the cosmic Christ: Chapters 2 is key in that it demonstrates why and how the believer is complete in Christ and needs nothing added to the saving person and work of Christ.
Chapter 3 then builds on this as root to fruit or cause and effect. Because believers are complete in Christ 2: As declared in 1: Those things that characterize Paul are evident throughout cf. The first epistle was written during the earlier part of that period just after Timothy had returned from Thessalonica with news of the progress of the church. The second letter was dispatched just a few weeks or at the most a few months later. Any date assigned will have to be approximate, though probably A. The purpose and burden of the apostle in writing to the Thessalonians can be summarized as follows: Two key words and concepts stand out in this short epistle: The coming of the Lord should not only comfort our hearts, but stir us to godly living.
Chapters 4 and 5 undoubtedly stand out as key chapters because of their teaching on both the coming of the Lord for the church, the rapture 4: When He comes, He will deliver us from wrath undoubtedly a reference to the Tribulation 1: As with 1 Thessalonians, this letter was also written by Paul cf. There is no evidence among the writings of the early church fathers that his authorship was ever doubted. In fact several fathers mentioned Paul as the author of this epistle in their writings. It was not until the 19th century that certain questions were raised about the authorship of this epistle.
Regardless, external and internal evidence support Paul as the author. Objections are based on internal factors rather than on the adequacy of the statements of the church fathers. However, such arguments have not convinced current scholars. Because the historical circumstances are very similar to those of 1 Thessalonians, most believe it was written not long after the first letter—perhaps about six months. While conditions in the church were similar, the persecution seems to have grown 1: Second Thessalonians was evidently prompted by three main developments that Paul heard about: This belief was still being used as a basis for shirking their vocational responsibilities.
So the apostle wrote to deal with the condition of idleness or disorderliness which had increased 3: To meet the needs that occasioned this epistle, Paul wrote this epistle to comfort and correct. In doing so he pursued three broad purposes. In fact, in this epistle, 18 out of 47 verses 38 percent deal with this subject. In 1 Thessalonians, the focus was on Christ coming for His Church 4: Chapter 2 is key in that it corrects a serious error that had crept into the Thessalonian church which taught that the day of the Lord had already come. A major theme of this book, especially chapters , is the return of Christ in judgment when He will put down all rebellion and bring retribution.
Second Thessalonians anticipates Christ, the coming Judge. Apart from the salutation and benediction, the book easily divides up into five sections:. Paul addressed them to Timothy and Titus to guide them in matters concerning the pastoral care of the church, which is the household of God cf. These epistles deal with church polity , policies , and practice , all of which are concerns vital to the pastoral health of the church. However, the term pastoral is inaccurate in the sense that Timothy and Titus were not pastors in the present-day sense of the term.
So what were they? First, they were official representatives of the apostle Paul whom he dispatched to various churches like Ephesus and Crete. Once there, they functioned in an official capacity to deal with special situations and meet special needs. During the interim from the time of the apostles to the more complete transition to elders and deacons, these men were sent by Paul as his apostolic representatives to repel and deal with certain conditions and people who were threatening to hurt the work and ministries of these churches.
Biblical Studies (NT)/The Epistles of Paul: Saved by Grace
Second, Timothy and Titus undoubtedly possessed the gifts needed for pastoral ministry and while there was an element of pastoral care in what they did, they were not elders or pastors who are given by the Lord to various churches for more long-term ministries 1 Pet. Rather, as official delegates of Paul, they were sent to assist churches in establishing their ministries pastorally speaking cf. All in all, in their content, these books are pastoral in nature and give directions for the care, conduct, order, ministry, and administration of churches or assemblies of believers.
This is true whether they deal with personal matters or the corporate ministry of the church. In summary, then, these books were designed by God to aid us in our pastoral responsibilities and in organic development and guidance for the life of local churches. In this regard there is an important observation that might be made. What is so significant about that? Since these books deal with church order, ministry, and organization, why were they not first? If you or I were doing this especially today we would probably first try to get the administrative organization in order, the structure, and then worry about the doctrine.
So here are some suggestions to think about:.
Of course, organization and order is important. The church is a spiritual body, an organism, and each believer is a member with special functions and tasks to carry out, but the primary need so essential to functioning as God has designed the church is right theology teaching and understanding of the Word, along with its personal application for Christ-like living. This provides us with the spiritual and moral foundation on which we base our methods, strategy, and administration. So, while our methods will often vary, they must never contradict the moral or spiritual principles of the Word of God.
Giving, for instance, is a corporate and individual responsibility, but our giving and the collection of money must be so done that it does not violate certain biblical principles such as giving voluntarily rather than by methods that employ coercion or manipulation. Organization, or better, the organic and unified growth of a church, must be based on right teaching, which is based on rightly handling the Word, i. When we try to run an organization based on tradition or background, we end up with an organization that is not only not biblical, but which will lack the spiritual fervor and capacity to function as God intends.
These books, then, deal with matters of church order or ecclesiology not hitherto addressed, but before God gave the church directions for church organization or order as specific as those we find in the pastorals He gave us Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Is this because organization is unimportant?
It is because organization and administration are not primary. Closely related to this is another concept. Some areas of ecclesiology are more difficult to determine than others. As a result, students of the Word have debated certain issues for years like the exact form of government or how we select and appoint men to leadership. Is this selection to be carried out by the board of elders, by the congregation, or by both working together? Since there is such a divergence of opinion does this mean we should give up on matters of church government?
We should carefully study these issues and seek biblical answers so we might come to conclusions based on our study of the facts of Scripture. But the point is simply this: Because of their close relationship in thought and focus, the attestation and authorship of all three pastoral epistles will be dealt with here. It has also been pointed out that because all three are so closely connected in thought and style that they usually are either all accepted or all rejected as being written by Paul. Some early church fathers as Polycarp and Clement of Rome, allude to these epistles as Pauline.
Moreover, the books declare Paul as the author 1 Tim. In addition, the doctrinal teaching and autobiographical details fit with the life of an aged Paul at the close of his ministry see 1: Those who hold to the Pauline authorship reply: Since his death is not recorded in Acts, he was apparently released from his first imprisonment in Rome, traveled over the empire for several years perhaps even to Spain , was rearrested, imprisoned a second time in Rome, and martyred under Nero; 2 nothing in the church organization reflected in the pastorals requires a later date see Acts Vocabulary used to describe church organization, for instance, would be expected to be different from that used to teach the doctrine of the Holy Spirit.
There is no argument against Pauline authorship that does not have a reasonable answer. And, of course, the letters themselves claim to have been written by Paul. Because of this, 1 Timothy must be dated after his first release, around the spring of A. First Timothy was probably written in A.
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Titus was written around A. Paul died in A.
As a Roman citizen, he died by the sword beheaded rather than by crucifixion as did Peter. From Paul was slowly making his way through the Roman courts, arriving ultimately at Rome. For two years, , Paul was held under house arrest in Rome, at the end of which time, it can be surmised, he was released. From Paul traveled more or less freely, leaving Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete, and then subsequently writing each of them a letter. Thus the approximate dates for 1 Timothy and Titus are perhaps After being recaptured and once again imprisoned, Paul wrote Timothy a second letter, 2 Timothy.
Thus 2 Timothy, dated approximately A. At least five clear purposes can be seen in 1 Timothy. This would include such things as: Finally, 5 he wrote to warn against the evils of materialism chap. The theme of 1 Timothy, as with Titus and 2 Timothy, is twofold, one involving the individual and the other the church.
This is, of course, fitting, for sound doctrine should lead to godly conduct. Instead, Paul enumerates character qualities demonstrating that true leadership emanates from our walk with God rather than from achievements or vocational success. Several passages stand out in pointing us to the person and ministry of the Savior. He is the source of our calling, strength, faith, and love so needed for ministry 1: When we turn to 2 Timothy we find a very different atmosphere.
In 1 Timothy and Titus, Paul was free and able to travel, but here he is a prisoner in a cold dungeon and facing death. In this letter Paul had two major purposes in mind. He wrote 1 to urge Timothy to come to Rome as soon as possible in view of his impending death cf. As with 1 Timothy, there is a personal and a corporate aspect in the themes of the book:. I am convinced that Wilkinson and Boa are on target when they write: Paul lists the keys to an enduring successful ministry: A reproducing ministry ; an enduring ministry ; a studying ministry ; and a holy ministry Since, in reality, all believers are called to full-time ministry in one way or another, this chapter would be more than beneficial for all Christians.
At the heart of all ministry and our ability to endure in ministry is the doctrine of the person and work of Christ. It is not surprising, therefore, that even in a book stressing endurance in ministry, the doctrine of Christ is prominent. Since the Pastoral Letters have been treated previously on the matter of authorship, see 1 Timothy.
When Paul left Antioch for Jerusalem to discuss the gospel of grace Acts It also appears Titus worked with Paul at Ephesus during the third missionary journey. From there the apostle sent him to Corinth where he helped that church with its work see 2 Cor.
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A recap of the events pertinent to this epistle will help give some idea of a probable date for Titus, though the exact time is unknown. First, Paul was released from his house arrest in Rome where we find him at the end of Acts. Perhaps because Paul was a Roman citizen and they could not prove the charges, his accusers did not choose to press charges against him before Caesar see Acts ; In essence, then, their case was lost by default, and Paul was freed.
The apostle then visited Ephesus, where he left Timothy to supervise the church, and went on to Macedonia. From Macedonia northern Greece , he wrote 1 Timothy 1 Tim. He then visited Crete, leaving Titus there to put in order the remaining matters in the churches of Crete. Then, either from Macedonia or Nicopolis, Paul wrote the epistle to Titus to encourage and instruct him. Afterwards, he visited Troas 2 Tim.
As mentioned previously, it was from Rome, during this second imprisonment in the dungeon that he wrote 2 Timothy. These events took place from about A. To instruct Titus about what he should do to correct the matters that were lacking in order to properly establish the churches in Crete.
To give Titus personal authorization in view of the opposition and dissenters Titus was facing see 2: To give instruction on how to meet this opposition and special instructions concerning faith and conduct, and to warn about false teachers 1: To express his plans to join Titus again in Nicopolis for the winter 3: Whether this meeting ever occurred, we do not know.
Tradition has it that Titus later returned to Crete and there served out the rest of his life. The theme is to show how the grace of God that has appeared to us in the saving life and death of Christ instructs us to deny ungodliness and to live righteously and soberly as a people full of good works that are in keeping with the doctrine of God 2: Important issues discussed in the letter include qualifications for elders 1: Undoubtedly, chapter 2 is key because of its emphasis on relationships in the church 2: Again, as is so consistent with the teaching of Paul, we see how good works or the conduct of the Christian is so connected with the person and work of Christ, past, present, and future.
In this book we see the deity 2: According to this rule, in the article-noun- kaiv -noun construction the second noun refers to the same person described by the first noun when 1 neither is impersonal; 2 neither is plural; 3 neither is a proper name. For more discussion see Wallace, Exegetical Syntax , , esp. As with the other prison epistles Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians , Philemon was written by Paul during his first confinement in Rome. That Paul is the author is supported by both the external and internal evidence. It was also included in the canon of Marcion and in the Muratorian fragment.
The letter is written to Philemon, the owner of Onesimus, one of the millions of slaves in the Roman Empire, who had stolen from his master and run away. Onesimus had made his way to Rome, where, in the providence of God, he came in contact with the apostle Paul, who led him to trust in Christ v.
So now both Onesimus and Philemon were faced with doing their Christian duty toward one another. Onesimus was to return to his master and Philemon was to receive him with forgiveness as a Christian brother. Death was the normal punishment for a runaway slave, but Paul intercedes on behalf of Onesimus. In the process of this, Paul asks Philemon to charge this to his own account. As such, this epistle is a fitting illustration of Christ who took our place as our substitute see v. In the other prison epistles, Paul spoke of this new relationship Eph. In this letter we have a wonderful example.
The theme, then, is the life-changing power of the gospel to reach into the varied social conditions of society and change our relationships from bondage to brotherhood. Philemon was not the only slave holder in the Colossian church see Col. Paul did not deny the rights of Philemon over his slave, but he asked Philemon to relate the principle of Christian brotherhood to the situation with Onesimus v.
At the same time, Paul offered to pay personally whatever Onesimus owed. This letter is not an attack against slavery as such, but a suggestion as to how Christian masters and slaves could live their faith within that evil system. It is possible that Philemon did free Onesimus and send him back to Paul v. It has also been suggested that Onesimus became a minister and later bishop of the church at Ephesus Ignatius, To the Ephesians , 1.
The forgiveness that the believer finds in Christ is beautifully portrayed by analogy in Philemon. Onesimus, guilty of a great offense vv. Paul lays aside his rights v. In this analogy, we are as Onesimus. Onesimus was condemned by law but saved by grace. Sidlow Baxter's Explore the Book , pp.
For more detailed discussion, see note 2 on this at this verse in the NET Bible. Robertson, Paul and the Intellectuals , rev. Broadman, , p. Handing Off the Baton 2 Timothy 4: Walking the Romans Road. Facing Winter Seasons 2 Timothy 4: Background of Paul Paul was known for many years as Saul of Tarsus. Conversion of Paul Having energetically and consistently persecuted the church of Jesus Christ, while on the road to Damascus, Paul had an encounter with the glorified resurrected Christ, which had revolutionary effects on his life.
Christ the power of God to us. Christ the wisdom of God to us. Christ the comfort of God to us. Christ the righteousness of God to us. Christ the riches of God to us. Christ the sufficiency of God to us. Christ the fullness of God to us. Christ the promise of God to us. Christ the reward of God to us.
The Emphasis on the Gospel Message: The Gospel and its message. The Gospel and its ministry. The Gospel and its ministers. The Gospel and its mutilators. The Gospel and its heavenlies. The Gospel and its earthlies. The Gospel and its philosophies. The Gospel and the Antichrist. Romans Author and Title: Ryrie has an excellent summary of the theme and contents: But now apart from the law the righteousness of God, which is attested by the law and the prophets, has been disclosed—3: For there is no distinction, 3: This was to demonstrate his righteousness, because God in his forbearance had passed over the sins previously committed.
What shall we say then? Are we to remain in sin so that grace may increase? How can we who died to sin still live in it? Chapters 3 — 5 stand out for their teaching on justification by grace through faith in Christ apart from the works of the law. No place is the gospel of grace set forth more clearly than in these awesome chapters. Chapters 6 — 8 are perhaps the most foundational passages in scripture for the spiritual life. Christ as Seen in Romans: The first eight chapters are doctrinal and outline the basic doctrines of the gospel of a righteousness justification and sanctification of God through faith.
From the second century BC, Rome had expanded dramatically as money and merchandise flowed in from the provinces of the empire. It was the political and commercial hub of the largest empire the world had known until that time. Located on seven hills, Rome was famous for its wide scenic avenues. Most of the population lived in large multi-storied tenement houses, while the more wealthy residents lived in houses with rooms which opened onto a central courtyard.
The River Tiber, then as now, flowed through the center of the city. The epistle to the Romans was written after Paul arrived in Corinth in about 57 AD, towards the end of his third missionary journey. From a reference in the epistle, it appears to have been taken to Rome by Phoebe, a woman of Cenchrea in southern Greece. It probably was placed first because it so completely and clearly explains the significance of all that has preceded it in the gospels and Acts. It expounds in clear and logical terms the concepts which are at the very heart of Christian theology, and its influence on the thinking of theologians, philosophers, and other intellectuals down through the centuries has been immeasurable.
It may have been started by Jews who were converted at the Pentecost festival in Jerusalem in 30 AD see Acts, chapter 2. Regardless, it had expanded to include many non-Jewish believers. This letter served to introduce Paul to the Romans in anticipation of a future visit. It also gave them a clear and concise exposition of the basic tenets of the Christian faith.
The city of Corinth was the capital of the Roman province of Achaia, now in southern Greece. It was located on the isthmus narrow strip of land that joins mainland Greece with the area called the Peloponnesus. Its location on the narrow isthmus gave it access to ports on both the Aegean and the Adriatic Seas, which led to its position of importance as a center of culture and commerce in the ancient world. It was known especially for its pottery and brass.
Because of its large Roman population, Latin was commonly spoken as well as Greek, and there was also a Jewish community. Her temple on the Acrocorinth, an adjacent mountain, was served by more than a thousand prostitutes and drew visitors from all over the empire. Corinth still exists, but it has a greatly reduced population of about nine thousand people.
Paul wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians 1 Corinthians in about 55 AD, while on his third missionary journey. In the course of his travels, he spent two years in Ephesus, and it was during that time that he wrote this letter. He had established the church at Corinth several years earlier, during his second missionary journey. The Corinthian Christians were faced with the daily struggle of living in an environment where immorality was rampant and temptation abounded, and there must have been great pressure to conform to the ways of their fellow citizens. It is not surprising, therefore, that one of the major themes of 1 Corinthians was the need to avoid sexual immorality.
Paul also addressed other problems, particularly disputes among church members and confusion concerning spiritual gifts. Some of the clearest and most detailed teaching in the Bible in regard to spiritual gifts is found in the first epistle to the Corinthians. Paul also wrote 2 Corinthians during his third missionary journey.
After his two-year stay in Ephesus, he traveled to northern Greece, where he spent several months in the province of Macedonia. He was planning to continue south to Corinth after his stay in Macedonia, and he wrote this letter from there, knowing that he would soon be in Corinth in person. Paul defended his own ministry and warned the Corinthians not to be misguided by individuals whose goals were self-serving. The name Galatia dates back to the time of the ancient Gauls, who settled the area in the third century BC. It is in their synagogues that Paul first preached the Gospel when entering a new town.
It is not known exactly when and where Paul wrote Galatians, but it is thought to have been in about 56 AD, about the time that the epistles to the Corinthians were written. He revisited these churches on his second and third missionary journeys. Many of the early Christians in these communities were Jewish converts. Notwithstanding their faith in Christ, most of them were still practicing Jews, a practice which Paul, as a practicing Jew himself, did not discourage. While Paul encouraged a moral lifestyle, he felt that with Christ, the age of law i.
He did not want the believers in Galatia to get caught up in trying to observe a code that was both difficult and, in his view, unnecessary. In refuting the Judaizers, Paul was able to draw on his own credentials as a former leader in the Jewish community. He was not just an authority on the Gospel, but also on the Hebrew scriptures and traditions. Ephesus was a major city in the Roman world. It was at the heart of Greco-Roman civilization and was a thriving business and cultural center. It was an important seaport and was connected to other important cities by first class highways.
There was also an amphitheater in Ephesus which could accommodate twenty-four thousand people, and the main street was lined with columns and paved with marble. Notwithstanding these distractions, the Christian church at Ephesus was a thriving and healthy spiritual community. In the epistle, he speaks of the nature and unity of the church, and the responsibilities of believers as followers of Christ. The city of Philippi was in Macedonia, in northern Greece, about sixty miles east of Thessalonica.
It was ten miles inland from the Aegean port city of Neapolis, known today as Kavala. The city was named after Philip II of Macedonia in BC, who had a particular interest in the gold and silver mines in the area. Its importance as a commercial center was partly due to its location on the Via Ignatia, the major east-west highway. The residents worshiped a mixture of Roman, Greek, Egyptian and local gods, and there was also a synagogue. Continuing excavations have uncovered extensive remains on the site, which is now uninhabited.
Philippians was the latest of the so-called Prison Epistles it was actually a house-arrest. The year was probably 62 AD. According to Acts, the church in Philippi had been established by divine guidance Acts It was the first of the churches founded by Paul in what we now know as Europe. He apparently took great joy in the Christians at Philippi, for his letter is upbeat and personal.
It was one such gift that occasioned this joyful letter of thanks and encouragement to the Philippian Christians. The city of Colossae was in the southern part of the Roman province of Asia, about eighty miles from the Mediterranean coast in what is now southwestern Turkey. It was located on the Lycus River in the region of Phrygia. From the fifth century BC, it had been an important commercial center, well known for its wool products and cloth-dying industries.
The city ceased to exist in later Roman times. Its site was discovered in , but it has not yet been excavated. The church at Colossae, while not founded directly by Paul, was an offshoot of his work in Asia Minor. We do not know for sure if Paul visited Colossae or not, but there is no doubt that the Colossians were well-acquainted with his work and reputation. He wrote to them to put an end to certain corrupting influences in the church there.
From the contents of the letter, it appears that there were people who were trying to blend the teachings of the Gospel with other doctrines, a practice called syncretism. These doctrines came from such diverse sources as Jewish legalism, pagan religion, and Greek philosophy. The city of Thessalonica was in the Roman province of Macedonia, in what is today northern Greece.
It was located at the top of the Thermaic Gulf, at the northwestern corner of the Aegean Sea. There is still a town on the site, though it is now known as Thessaloniki. This was largely because Thessalonica, like Philippi, was located on the Via Ignatia, the main east-west route from the Balkans to Asia Minor, and also because of its busy sea-port. Some remains of the ancient city still exist. Of particular interest is the Roman forum, which can be seen in the center of modern Thessaloniki.
Yet they were actually the first to be written. Paul had established the church at Thessalonica on his second missionary journey in approximately 52 AD. He had to leave the town as a result of persecution, so he continued south to Berea, Athens, and Corinth. It was at Corinth that he wrote these epistles to the Thessalonians, probably in 52 or 53 AD. The first letter was written to clarify issues surrounding the second coming of Christ and the resurrection of believers. Some erroneous ideas had sprung up in the Thessalonian church which Paul found it necessary to correct.
The second letter was written just a few months later. He therefore wrote to further clarify the issue and to remind them of their responsibilities as Christians. The two epistles to Timothy and the one to Titus are referred to as the Pastoral Epistles, because they contain instructions for Timothy and Titus in their roles as pastors of the churches at Ephesus and Crete, respectively.
The first of the epistles to Timothy is believed to have been written after Paul was released from his period under house-arrest, but before his final imprisonment and execution, which would place it between about 62 and 66 AD. Paul wrote it from his prison cell, knowing that his execution was close at hand, which makes it especially poignant:. We are introduced to Timothy in the sixteenth chapter of Acts.
Paul] came to Derbe and Lystra. Luke goes on to tell us that Timothy was well-respected in the local church and that Paul decided to take him along on his missionary travels. Timothy traveled with Paul to Macedonia in northern Greece where he assisted him in his work in Troas, Philippi and Thessalonica. Afterwards, Timothy stayed on in Berea to care for the new church there while Paul went on ahead to Athens. Timothy later joined Paul in Athens for a time, before being sent back to Thessalonica to strengthen and encourage the new church.
He then rejoined Paul, who had moved on to Corinth, and they lived and ministered together there.