An Introduction to Paul’s Letters

An Introduction to Paul’s Letters

Labirint Ozon. Dating Paul’s Life. Robert Jewett. Dating Paul’s letters is of vital importance for understanding the development of his thought, and dating Paul’s letters means dating the main events of his life. This is a very difficult task, provoking much argument among scholars; studies of the last decades are no closer to agreement than those of more than a generation ago. Dr Jewett’s book represents a real advance in solving the problem, above all because of the method which it adopts. Written almost like a detective story, assembling all possible evidence rather than jumping to premature conclusions, and using clear-headed arguments and explanations, it will be a basic point of reference in the future for anyone seriously interested in Paul. Dr Jewett begins by considering the relative merit of the evidence in Acts and Paul’s letters. Then he looks closely at the information which can be correlated with dateable events in other literature.

Letters of Paul to Timothy

New Testament chronology page. See History. For the letters explicitly attributed to Paul the apostle a. Saul of Tarsus it is almost always possible to determine where they were written except Galatians and Titus and when they were written except Galatians based on information provided in the letters themselves. Names of letters and their places of writing are in red and dates and major time periods are in green.

These are always mentioned at the very beginning of each letter.

This manuscript dating from the 12th century, written in Caroline minuscule in one hand throughout, contains the Epistles of Saint Paul with an.

Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Nearly all of them were pious lists that emphasized reading in an order that reinforces a particular theology. But first: an explanation. The late Marcus Borg urged us to read the New Testament in the order in which the books were actually written rather than the order in which they appear in modern Bibles. Don’t read Acts, don’t read the gospels. Save those for later.

Paul’s letters came first. Where did the other letters come from? His letters provide a “window” into the life of very early Christian communities.

Paul, The Letters of

Paul was a strict Pharisee and a primary persecutor of Christians soon after Jesus’s death. After Paul had been doing this for some time, Jesus came to him in a vision Acts , and Paul converted to Christianity. He spent the rest of his life as a traveling missionary, spreading the gospel good news to the world; and his letters were part of this. Because of his writings, we know more about him than any other person mentioned in the New Testament; but there are still notable gaps.

Philippians (c.

Skeptical New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman offers a brief look at how many Bible scholars estimate when the Gospels were written. These estimates are very popular, and not just among skeptical scholars. Many conservative scholars accept them as well. My own view is that they are too late by a couple of decades, but Ehrman correctly reports their popularity in the scholarly community. Before trying to assign dates to particular Gospels, it can be helpful to try to identify a broader range of years in which they were composed.

To begin with, none of the Gospels appears to have been known to the apostle Paul, writing in the 50s. This point is largely fair. He does echo a lot of things we find in the Gospels, but that could be due—and likely is due—to his use of oral tradition about Jesus. Luke was a travelling companion of Paul Acts , , , ; cf. When it came time to write his Gospel, he likely used the Pauline version of the words of institution that he was familiar with. In fact, the passage is normally taken as a reference to a brother Christian who was famous for preaching the gospel—not for having written a Gospel some Bible versions even translate the verse that way.

Pauline epistles

Consequently, there will always be a certain amount of storytelling, speculation, and uncertainty involved in determining when the epistles were written for at least three reasons:. Acts 28ers , then you are standing on the weak foundation of higher criticism, and you would do well to change your theology. The Bible believer would do well to remember that what is clear is always more important than what is not.

What Paul said is always more important than when he said it. Meanwhile, there are plenty of things we can know about when the epistles were written based on scripture alone. Those books that include strong evidence are 1 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians, Romans, Philippians, and 2 Timothy.

PRINT PAGE. By Justin Johnson. None of Paul’s epistles contain an inspired date of authorship. When they were written during Paul’s ministry.

Skip to content. Quick links. Dating of genuine Pauline epistles Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc. Is it essentially achieved via a correlation of the internal evidence with Luke-Acts? Previously, only speculations. The earliest surviving manuscripts all, with the possible exception of P52 date to around CE, based on paleographic analysis.

Since both these documents were recovered from Egypt, it does demonstrate that Paul’s letters and GJohn were available there in that time-frame. His “New Testament” consisted of a modified Gospel of Luke which he believed was written by Paul , Galatians, Corinthians treated as one epistle , Romans, Thessalonians as one epistle , Lacodiceans his name for Ephesians , Colossians, Philipians, and Philemon.

He did not include 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus or Hebrews.

Chronology of Acts and the Epistles

I am primarily concerned with the relative dates of the letters. It makes no difference to me if the real person behind them was Buttox who sold the world on his pen-name Paul. What counts is the place of the letters in the history of Christian origins. There are, of course, various other arguments than those addressed below for sometimes dating the letters well into the second century.

The First and Second Letter to Timothy. 1 and 2 Timothy are letters written by Paul not to a particular church, but to his apprentice, Timothy. Most scholars who hold.

The writer of the Revelation of St John — one of the earliest books of the New Testament and in origins probably the only one to date from the 1st century — addresses his end of the world gore-fest to the very region central to Paul’s mission, Roman Asia. The “seven churches” of the preface were Ephesus where “Paul caused a riot” and lived for 3 years , Thyatira home town of Lydia, Paul’s first convert in Philippi , Laodicea sent a copy of Colossians, we are told , Sardis, Philadelphia, Pergamum and Smyrna.

Yet the writer of the apocalypse betrays no knowledge of the activities of the apostle Paul or of his letters. Though “John” relishes the martyrdom of the saints, Paul’s “execution in Rome” does not get a mention. Similarly, the earliest reliable Christian source, Justin Martyr, in the mid-2nd century, has nothing to say of Paul or his epistles. Paul’s letters composed more than half of his new Scripture.

5.4 Authorship and Dating of Paul’s Letters – Evidences for Christianity

The remaining books of the New Testament contain letters written by early Christian leaders and taken by messengers to the new churches recently established across the Roman world. The letters — from Paul , Peter , James , John and Jude — were written to encourage believers in the face of persecution, to explain the Christian faith and to point out its relevance to everyday life. Paul’s Letters Paul dictated his letters to an amanuensis a scribe who attempted to copy his words verbatim using his exact words.

Paul started life as a Jewish Pharisee, thriving on intense religious debate and steeped in obscure arguments about the Jewish law.

The Dating Game II: Getting Paul’s letters in order. One of the easy mistakes in the dating game is to shoot too quickly for absolute dates, to look.

Dating the epistles of Paul from scratch, without recourse to either the Acts of the Apostles or to patristic tradition, is an interesting exercise in its own right. Here are the main indications as I see them:. Dating the Pauline epistles from scratch. Chronological considerations. Here are the main indications as I see them: On the terminus post quem side of things, S.

Carlson has pointed out that Corinth was razed to the ground some years before Christ and was not refounded until 44 years before Christ. About 77 years before Christ Cicero wrote in Tusculan Disputations 3. This would seem to date the Corinthian epistles to after the refoundation of the city of Corinth. Andrew Criddle has added that the way in which Paul in his epistles to Corinth refers to Achaea and Macedonia as distinct regions, with Corinth a prominent place in Achaea refer to 2 Corinthians 9.

On the terminus ante quem side of things, some verses 1 Corinthians Furthermore, Paul frequently mentions Jerusalem as a viable destination with a functioning church Romans Similarly, Galatians 1.

The authorship of Paul’s letters – by Dr Stephen Spence.

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