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Studying the Gospels by gjjur4356

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									Studying the Epistles
       Sunday, May 11, 2008
Epistles
1.   Why are the epistles laid out in the order
     that they are in the NT?
2.   Which epistle(s) was written earliest?
3.   Who else wrote epistles other than Paul?
4.   Which of Paul‘s letters was the ‗harshest‘?
5.   Which of Paul‘s letters was the most gentle?
Epistles
Where would you find:
   In your relationships with one another, have the same
   attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: Who, being in very
   nature God, did not consider equality with God
   something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he
   made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a
   servant, being made in human likeness.
Epistles
Where would you find:
   In your relationships with one another, have the same
   attitude of mind Christ Jesus had: Who, being in very
   nature God, did not consider equality with God
   something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he
   made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a
   servant, being made in human likeness.
Phil 2:5-7
Epistles
Where would you find:
 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver,
 costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be
 shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.
 It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the
 quality of each person's work. 14 If what has been built
 survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is
 burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be
 saved—even though only as one escaping through the
 flames.
Epistles
Where would you find:
   If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver,
   costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be
   shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light.
   It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the
   quality of each person's work. 14 If what has been built
   survives, the builder will receive a reward. 15 If it is
   burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be
   saved—even though only as one escaping through the
   flames.
I Corinthian 3:12-15
Epistles
 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24
 and all are justified freely by his grace through the
 redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
 eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do
 not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but
 rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in
 accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of
 you.
Epistles
 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24
 and all are justified freely by his grace through the
 redemption that came by Christ Jesus.            Rom 3:23

 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is
 eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.          Rom 6:23

 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do
 not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but
 rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in
 accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of
 you.                                             Rom 12:3
Epistles
 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy
 nation, God's special possession, that you may declare
 the praises of him who called you out of darkness into
 his wonderful light.
Epistles
  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy
  nation, God's special possession, that you may declare
  the praises of him who called you out of darkness into
  his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9
Epistles
 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down
 his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one
 another. If any one of you has material possessions and
 sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them,
 how can the love of God be in you? Dear children, let us
 not love with words or tongue but with actions and in
 truth.
Epistles
   This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down
   his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one
   another. If any one of you has material possessions and
   sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them,
   how can the love of God be in you? Dear children, let us
   not love with words or tongue but with actions and in
   truth.
1 John 3:16-18
NT Letters by Author

                   ?, 1
         Jude, 1
      James, 1

    Peter, 2




    John, 3               Paul, 13
NT Letters by Author
   Paul                                 John
       1 Thessalonians                      1 John
                          Early
       2 Thessalonians                      2 John
       Romans                               3 John
       1 Corinthians                    Peter
                          Doctrinal
       2 Corinthians                        1 Peter
       Galatians                            2 Peter
       Ephesians                        James (James)
       Philippians       Prison         Jude (Jude)
       Colossians                       ? (Hebrews)
       Philemon
       1 Timothy
       2 Timothy         Pastoral
       Titus
St. Paul‘s Letters
                               Paul‘s Letters
A. Be aware of the order           1 Thessalonians
  they were written                2 Thessalonians
B. Understand the                  Romans
                                   1 Corinthians
  ―occasional nature‖ of           2 Corinthians
  his writings                     Galatians
                                   Ephesians
C. Be aware of the                 Philippians
  structure of a letter;           Colossians
  something of how it was          Philemon
                                   1 Timothy
  composed, sent, and
                                   2 Timothy
  read; rhetorical styles          Titus
A. Order of Paul‘s Letters
A.D. 45-47 ―First‖ Missionary Journey



A.D. 49-52 ―Second‖ Missionary          First Group (AD 50-51)
Journey                                 1 and 2 Thess

A.D. 53-58 ―Third‖ Missionary           Second Group (AD 55-57)
Journey                                 1 and 2 Cor, Gal, Romans


A.D. 58 Jerusalem visit and arrest

                                        Third Group (AD 60-62)
                                        Philip, Col, Eph, Philemon, Heb
A.D. 60-63? Voyage to and
imprisonment in Rome
                                        Fourth Group (c. AD 64?)
                                        Titus, 1 and 2 Tim
A. Chronology of Paul‘s Life
  10 - 31   Paul is born (his father is a Roman citizen)
            Grows up in Tarsus (family may have had ties to Judea, e.g.
            Paul’s insistence that he is a "Hebrew" [2 Cor 11:22] and from
            the "tribe of Benjamin" [Phil 3:5])
            Becomes a zealous member of the Pharisees

  31/33     Actively persecutes members of a new Jewish sect centered in
            Jerusalem that claims Jesus as messiah (Gal 1:13; 1 Cor 15:9)

  33/35     Is called by God to preach to the Gentiles.

  35/38     Missionary activity in Arabia and Damascus (expelled under
            Aretas)

  37/38     Two week visit to Jerusalem, meets Peter and James but not the
            larger church (Gal 1:22)

  After     Missionary activity in Cilicia, Syria, from the Antioch church;
  37/38     possibly also Greece

  47/50     Writes I Thessalonians

  50/51     Gallio episode at Corinth

  49/51     Jerusalem Council

  52/57     Missionary activity in Asia Minor and Greece
            Writes Galatians, Philippians, Philemon, 1 & 2 Corinthians

  56/57     Writes Rome from Corinth

  57/58     Arrives in Jerusalem with collection, is arrested and imprisoned 2
            years at Caesarea

  59/60     Sea journey to Rome

  62        Executed after imprisonment at Rome
B. Occasional Nature
   Thessalonians
    Christians obsessed with the Second Coming
   Galatians
    Gentile Christians who were being led astray by
    ―Judaizers‖
    Explains Paul‘s discussion of faith (of Jesus Christ)
    versus works (of the law)
   Corinthians
    Problems with factionalism, doctrine, and behavior
   Romans
    An introduction of Paul and his theology
C. Characteristics of NT Letters
   Comparable to Other Ancient Letters
   Authoritative Substitute for Presence (1 Thes.
    2:13)
   Situational (Gal. 1:6-7)
   Carefully Written & Delivered
   Intended for Christian Community
C. Characteristics of Greco-Roman Letters

   Letter Opening
       Prescript (sender, recipient, & salutation)
       Health Wish
       Thanksgiving Formula (less common)
           Colossians 1:1-3 (NIV): Paul, an apostle of Christ
            Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To
            the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse:
            Grace and peace to you from God our Father. We
            always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus
            Christ, when we pray for you…
C. Characteristics of Greco-Roman Letters

   Letter Body
       Disclosure Formula (2 Corinthians 1:8)—commonly, ―I want
        you to know that…‖
       Appeal Formula (1 Corinthians 1:10)
         Verb ―I appeal‖ or synonym

         Persons Addressed, Authority

         Content of Appeal

       Peri de Formula (―Now about‖)—introduces the next
        subject (1 Corinthians 7:1)
       Ta de loipa Formula (―Finally‖)—introduces the last subject
        (Philippians 4:8)
C. Characteristics of Greco-Roman Letters
   Letter Closing
       Farewell Wish
       Health Wish
       Secondary Greeting
       Autograph

    14Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings.
        15
    Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha
        and
    the church in her house. 16 After this letter has been read to
        you,
    see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that
        you
    in turn read the letter from Laodicea. 17 Tell Archippus: "See to
        it
    that you complete the work you have received in the Lord." 18 I,
C. How Letters were Written
1. Paul did not sit alone in a quiet study writing his letters . . .
2. The role of the secretary
      Most ancient letters were written by professional scribes
      Some were directly dictated, others followed standard set forms
      Some scribes rewrote the ideas of the ―author‖ into more polished style
      Letters went through several drafts before the author applied his seal
      The cost of the finished letter included both the cost of the papyrus and
       secretarial labor
3. Paul‘s letters frequently included co-writers and missionary companions
    who left greetings at the end and collaborated on ideas.
4. Letters were delivered by private carriers
      Paul frequently used missionary companions
      The carrier usually read the letter aloud to the audience and would be able
       to clarify meaning and add nuance
      Performance (facial expression, tone, gesture, and voice) were part of the
       reading process
D. Putting it all together - Interpreting Letters

   What did the text mean to the biblical audience
       Survey (A Survey of the New Testament, Gundry)
       Introduction (New Testament Introduction, Guthrie)
       Commentary
       Other (Dictionary of New Testament Background)
   What are the differences between the biblical
    audience and us?
   What are the theological principles of the text?
   How should Christians today apply the principles in
    their lives?
D. Putting it all together - Interpreting Letters

1.       The Occasion
         Because all letters are written because of an occasion or
          a special circumstance, one of the major task is to
          reconstruct the occasion.
         We have the answer that was given by Paul but we don‘t
          have the original letter with the questions written by the
          church.
TASK – find the historical context through
    commentaries and dictionaries.
Eg. Church in Corinth wrote to Paul about certain
    issues and questions.
Stages of Paul’s Relationship with
the Corinthian Church
1.    Paul arrives in Corinth. After 18 months, he has founded a church of Jewish
      and Greek Christians. Acts 18.
2.    Paul writes a letter to Corinthian church (a previous letter which we do not
      have a record of but was mentioned in 1 Cor 5:9-11).
3.    The Corinthians respond with a letter of questions brought to Paul by
      Stephanus, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (1 Cor 7:1). As well, Paul hears verbal
      reports from the messengers (1 Cor 1:11, 11:18).
4.    Paul responds to the letter from the church and the news he has heard by
      writing 1 Corinthians and sends delegation back.
5.    Still concerned about Corinthian church, Paul sends Timothy to Corinth (1 Cr
      4:17-19, 16:10-11).
6.    A discouraged Timothy reports back to Paul, his visit has had little effect.
7.    Paul travels from Ephesus to Corinth to settle matters himself. Disappointing
      visit and leaves with matters unresolved (2 Cor 2:1)
8.    Paul sends a severe letter with Titus (2 Cor 2:3-4). The letter produces a
      change of heart, repentance (2 Cor 7:8-13).
9.    Paul writes 2 Corinthians.
10.   Paul plans a third visit to Corinth (2 Cor 12:14)
D. Putting it all together - Interpreting Letters

2. Structure of letter
     Context of passages is important to the overall logic or flow
      of argument.
     Look for transitions for natural parts, sequences, and next
      section.
     Internal evidence that reveals something about the
      recipients, timing, situation or author.
     Written with the intent of it being read publicly in its entirety.
     There is an oral nature to the Epistles.
TASK – read the letter in its entirety.
Eg. Structure of 1 Corinthians
Outline of 1 Corinthians
1.   How many different problems does Paul respond
     to in chapter 1-6? What were they?
         Division in the church
         Improper sexual relationships – incest
         Problem of lawsuits
         Problem of sexual immorality
2. What issues did Paul address in 7-15?
         Singleness and marriage
         Meat sacrificed to idols
         Head covering for women
         Abuse at the Lord‘s Table
         Spiritual gifts
         Bodily resurrection of believers
D. Putting it all together - Interpreting Letters

3. Understand the literary context
     Think in paragraphs and learn to summarize each
      paragraph in short phrases or one sentence.
     Collection of these summation statements will
      give you concise summary of chapters.
TASK – Outlining paragraphs and sections.
Eg. 1 Cor 1-3
Structure of Chapter 1-3
   1.10-17 – Factions and Divisions
    •  1.18-25, Wisdom of God is foolishness to men
    •  1.26-31, God chose you (weak, foolish, & powerless) to be His
       chosen people. Therefore, do not boast.
    •  2.1-5, I, Paul did not use the power of rhetoric to convince you. ―I
       came in weakness, timidity, and trembling. I only preach the
       cross.‖
    •   2.6-16, The power of the Holy Spirit enables us to understand
       the wisdom of God.
•   3.1-9 – Factions and Divisions
•   3.10-23 – Summary: Paul laid the foundation. We, collectively
    form the temple of God. Do not think you are wise, do not boast.
    Do away with pride. We are all part of Christ.
D. Putting it all together - Interpreting Letters

4. Application
     Once you‘ve done the work to understand the
      historical context and the literary point/argument
      then you are ready to make applications.
     What situation may be similar today and what
      situation is not?
TASK – think critically about our modern day
 situation
Corinth
1. Commercial and Economic Center.
2. Center of travel.

3. Diversity of Faith and Religions.

4. Liberal lifestyle. Entertainment.

For consideration:
   What might be some of the challenges
   living out the Christian faith in a place like
   this?
Factions and Divisions in the
Corinthian Church 1:10-17
Reconstructing the Problem and the issue:
1.  Itinerant philosophers in Paul‘s day were common. They
    commanded or produced a following.
2.  Paul started the church then he left. Apollos came to
    minister then he left. Peter came at one point and he left.
3.  Factions developed as a result of the Corinthian believers
    following different leaders.
4.  The Corinthian church was treating people like Paul,
    Apollos, and Peter as pagans treat their itinerant celebrity
    philosophers. They viewed Christian leaders in secular
    ways namely, identifying themselves with certain leaders.
Analyzing Factions and Divisions
in Churches
What might the message of 1 Corinthians
   say to us today?
1. In what ways, do we see leadership from a
   secular point of view?
2. How do factions and divisions form today?
3. Are factions the result of people willingly
   give their allegiance to a person? Or, is it
   the responsibility of the so called ‗leader‘ of
   the faction somehow commanding a
   celebrity status or following?
Analyzing Factions and Divisions
in Churches
For us to consider:
 In our church, what might be some lines along
   which divisions and factions may develop?
 What happens when a church is fractured along
   these lines?
 What lessons can we learn from the life of our
   church?
 What are potential ways that our church can end
   up like the Corinthian church?
 How might we move toward greater unity?

								
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