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Topic 9 NT Letters I.Letters of Paul II.General Letters and Revelation.

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Presentation on theme: "Topic 9 NT Letters I.Letters of Paul II.General Letters and Revelation."— Presentation transcript:

1 Topic 9 NT Letters I.Letters of Paul II.General Letters and Revelation

2 I. Letters of Paul A.Character of Paul’s letters 1.Earliest NT writings; written 50-64; before any of gospels. 2.Written in typical Hellenistic letter style. a.Greek letters began with salutation naming sender and recipient and the word “greeting” (Sender to Recipient: Greeting). b.Paul does same, except he Christianizes the greeting: “grace and peace” (see 1 Thess. 1:1). c.Greek letters closed with a word of farewell; Paul’s closing is always a “grace” benediction (see 1 Thess. 5:28). 3.They are “occasional” writings. a.Writing to deal with particular problems in particular churches. b.Not writing systematically or for posterity; not consciously writing Scripture; but dealing with issues at hand. c.Interpreter needs to try to discover the “occasion” of a letter to better understand it. (Why was Paul writing? What situation prompted the letter?) 4.Number and authenticity of Paul’s letters. a.13 letters in NT bear Paul’s name: Romans—Philemon. b.Some may be “Deutero-Pauline” (written later in Paul’s name).  Most scholars question 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus (“the Pastorals”).  Many also question 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians.  Certainly genuine: Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon.

3 B.1 Thessalonians a.Written from Corinth c. 50; earliest letter; earliest NT book; earliest surviving Christian document Corinth b.Occasion: some Christians had died; would they miss out at the Parousia? c.Teaches resurrection of believers (4:13-18). 4:13-18 C.Galatians a.Perhaps written from Ephesus c. 53. Ephesus b.Occasion: “Judaizers” are demanding circumcision of Gentile Christians (1:6-9; 3:1; 5:12; 6:12-13). 1:6-9; 3:1; 5:12; 6:12-131:6-9; 3:1; 5:12; 6:12-13 c.Angrily defends his apostleship and gospel. d.Teaches “justification by faith,” not by works of law (2:16). 2:16 e.Freedom from law (5:1); equality of all in Christ (3:27-28). 5:13:27-285:13:27-28 I. Letters of Paul

4 D.1 Corinthians 1.Written from Ephesus c. 54. Ephesus 2.Occasion: multitude of problems (factions; immorality; questions about marriage/divorce; idol-meat; abuse of spiritual gifts/tongue-speaking; etc.); all rooted in an overemphasis on freedom. 3.Paul takes up a list of problems one by one. 4.Problem of factions in church each boasting of their special “wisdom” (ch. 1-4). a.Paul argues that the only wisdom worth boasting of is God’s “foolish wisdom” revealed in the Cross of Christ (1:18-25). 1:18-25 b.We have nothing to boast of except what God did for us in Christ. 5.Problem of abuse of spiritual gifts and over-emphasis on tongue- speaking (ch. 12-14) – setting for Paul’s famous “Love Hymn” (ch. 13) “Love Hymn” “Love Hymn” 12 – Many gifts – one church. Church is “body” of Christ with members playing different roles – like parts of the body. 13 – Highest gift is love (Agapē = unconditional, self-giving love); apart from love, all other gifts are pointless. 14 – Tongue-speaking is a lesser gift because it builds up the individual, not the church as a whole; closes with guidelines to control tongue-speaking. I. Letters of Paul

5 E.Romans 1.Written from Corinth c. 56 – longest, most influential letter. Corinth 2.Occasion: addresses church Paul did not establish. a.Announces Paul’s plans to visit on way to Spain. b.Explains his gospel to solicit support for his mission to Spain. c.Most comprehensive/systematic presentation of his theology. 3.Outline a.The sinful human condition (1:1-3:20) b.Justification by faith (3:21-4:25) c.The new life in Christ (ch. 5-8) d.Jews and Gentiles in God’s plan (ch. 9-11) e.Ethical application of the gospel (ch. 12-16) I. Letters of Paul

6 E.Romans 4.Key terms in Paul’s theology (cf. Rom. 3:21-26) Rom. 3:21-26Rom. 3:21-26 a.Sin – “missing the mark;” falling short; rebellion against God. b.Justification – being “declared righteous” (as in law court); acquitted; put right with God. c.Faith – not merely believing; trust; trusting God for one’s salvation; includes putting oneself at God’s disposal in genuine obedience. d.Grace – God’s “unmerited favor;” his “free gift” of salvation. e.Redemption – liberation from bondage to sin and death (as a slave’s freedom is purchased by a benefactor) I. Letters of Paul

7 A.The NT Period after Paul 1.Nero’s persecution (64-65 AD) – beginning of increasing tension between church and empire. 2.Fall of Jerusalem/Temple (70) – increasing tensions with Judaism. 3.Jewish Council of Jamnia (90) – reorganized Judaism in ways that excluded Christians; Christianity becomes increasingly gentile movement. 4.Passing of the apostles and others of the first generation – Parousia didn’t come; problem of preserving traditions and organizing church for indefinite stay. B.NT Writings 1.Gospels (65-100) 2.General Epistles (Hebrews – Jude) – c. 65-150 a.More broadly addressed than Paul’s. b.Some have no salutation. c.Revelation (c. 95) a.Addresses churches under persecution (pressure to worship emperor Domitian). b.Urges faithful endurance. c.Visions give assurance of God’s ultimate victory over powers of evil. II. General Letters and Revelation

8 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming (Parousia) of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

9 Galatians 1:6-8; 3:1; 5:12 1:6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel-- 7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! 3:1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? … 5:12 I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!

10 Galatians 6:12-13 6:12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised-- only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. Return to outline

11 Galatians 2:16 2:16 yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law.

12 Galatians 5:1-4 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. 4 You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.

13 Galatians 3:27-28 3:27 As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise. Return to outline

14 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 18 For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God... 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, God decided, through the foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, 23 but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God's weakness is stronger than human strength.

15 The “Love Hymn” (1 Cor. 13) 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. 4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. … 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

16 Romans 3:21-26 21 But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, … 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24 they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a sacrifice of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show … 26 … that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus.

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