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Presentation on theme: "NEW TESTAMENT FOUNDATION NT 102 THE CHURCH AT CORINTH (II) LETTERS FROM PRISON (I)"— Presentation transcript:


2 II CORINTHIANS Introduction Background A. Provisional

3 B. Relationship & correspondence history thus far: 1. Founding visit 2. “Previous letter” – lost (1 Cor. 5:9) 3. I Corinthians 4. Paul’s plan to return to Corinth (via Macedonia) C. I Cor. did not solve the situation

4 Occasion A. Matters in Corinth do not improve (cf. 1 Cor 9:12) 1.Source/s (who is behind this is not entirely clear) 2.Dissention against Paul

5 Initial Plans: Macedonia then Corinth

6 Sudden visit and sudden departure

7 B. Collection is still a pressing concern for Paul (1 Cor 16:5ff) C. Paul changes his plans—instead of coming via Macedonia, he arrives directly from Ephesus making a surprise, 2 nd visit (cf. 1 Cor. 16:5; 2 Cor. 1:15ff) D. Instead of returning from Ephesus to Corinth, he writes a 3 rd “severe/sorrowful” letter, which is now lost (2:3-4; 7:8-12)


9 More unexpected events… Titus is not in Troas

10 E. Something happens in Ephesus: a severe trial in which Paul expected to die (1:8-11) F. Paul composes a 4 th letter (2 Cor 1-9).

11 Sequence of I-II Corinthian Correspondence: 1.“previous letter” (lost) 2.I Cor. 3.“severe/tearful” letter (lost) 4.II Cor. 1-9 5.II Cor. 10-13

12 Literary Integrity of 2 Corinthians A. Clearly entirely authentic (but cf. 6:14—7:1) B. Problematic features C. Proposed relationships between 1-9 & 10-13 1. II Cor. 10-13 part of the 3 rd “severe” letter 2. II Cor. 10-13 a 5 th letter

13 Purpose A. II Corinthians comprised of two letters both of which prepare for Paul’s 3 rd visit. B. II Cor. 1-9 is a conciliatory response C. II Cor. 10-13 is written in the light of new trouble

14 Content A. Explanation & Reconciliation (1-7) 1. The recent past & his changes of plan a. Paul’s life-threatening experience & God’s comfort & deliverance (1:3-11)

15 b. Explanation for changes in itinerary (1:12—2:4) (i) his integrity & sincerity (vv.12-14) (ii) not casual in my planning (vv.15-17) (iii) to spare you the grief of an even tougher visit, I wrote instead (vv.18—2:4) c. Speaking of grief: Forgiveness to Paul’s opponent (2:5-11) d. Return to itinerary (2:12-13)

16 2. Paul’s apostolic ministry (2:14—7:4) a. A celebration of his ministry under God’s call (2:14-17) b. Discussion of the two covenants (3:1-18) (i) that of Moses came with a glory, but: - the glory faded - it was only letter, not Spirit - the letter brought death

17 (ii) that far greater ‘transforming’ covenant which Paul announces - unfading glory - with Spirit - brings life c. Exposition on the nature of this glory & its ministry (4:1—7:4) d. Return to itinerary (7:5-16)

18 Clay jars

19 B. His initial purpose: the collection (chs. 8-9) 1. From Macedonian example, excel in generosity (8:1-7) a. “severe trial” + “overflowing joy” + “extreme poverty”  rich generosity (v. 2) b. As you excel in all else, so this. 2. Consider the example of Christ (8:8-9) 3. Make good on your former eagerness (8:10—9:5) 4. In the light of God’s grace, give joyously (9:6-15)

20 5. Jerusalem collection Why was Paul so concerned about the success of this collection? i. Spiritual ii. Ecclesiological iii. Diplomacy

21 C. “Defense” of Paul’s apostolic ministry 1. Dealing with accusations (ch.10; cf. 1 Cor 1-4) a. Against him b. Against them

22 2. The boast of the “fool” (11:1-12:10): turning everything on its head a. Patronage (11:1-15) b. A series of 4 boasts: Graeco-Roman drama: the “fool’s speech” (11:16; 12:11) (i) his “power” (11:16-29) (ii) his “courage” (11:30-33) (iii) his “great visions” (12:1-6) (iv) his “miracles” (12:7-11) 3. Concluding warnings in the light of his impending 3 rd visit (12:11-13:10)

23 D. One of Paul’s finest moments: i. 3 features ii. 2 central issues iii. Discipleship & a suffering Messiah (Mark) iv. Christian ministry

24 PRISON EPISTLES Introduction A. Include: Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, Philippians B. Indicate: Later stage of development: Paul and/or Churches? C. Dates are approximate and can vary by several years.

25 Setting in the Life of Paul A. Review of Paul’s correspondence history to date 1. Two letters during 2 nd missionary journey, 1 and 2 Thessalonians (AD 50) a. written from Corinth when he founded the church b. primary concern was eschatology

26 2. Four letters during 3 rd missionary journey (Acts 18:23—21:14; AD 53-57) a. Letters: (1) 1 Corinthians (from Ephesus, AD 54/55) (2) 2 Corinthians (from Philippi, in Macedonia, AD 56) (3) Galatians (?) (4) Romans (from Corinth, AD 57) b. Primary concerns (1) significance and meaning of the gospel (2) nature and defense of Paul’s apostleship

27 B. Subsequent events 1. The writing of Romans 2. Speech to Ephesian elders in Miletus (Acts 20:17- 35) 3. Has three fundamental concerns about the future: a. Imprisonments (v.23) b. Profound pastoral concern for them c. False teaching … from within (v.30)!

28 C. Themes which dominate these Epistles 1. Written from prison 2. Reflect Paul’s profound & on-going pastoral concern 3. Combat heretical teaching

29 Critical Issues in the Study of the Prison Epistles A. 4 major concerns: 1. Location of Paul’s imprisonment (Ephesus, Caesarea, Rome?) 2. Authenticity of Ephesians (and thus Colossians) 3. Destination of Ephesians 4. Integrity of Philippians

30 B. Issues involved in determining imprisonment location 1. Impinges only on dating 2. Raises possibility of two different imprisonments a. Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon (1) All written at same time and carried by the same people. (2) Possible scenario to occasion the writing of all three b. Philippians might have been written on a separate occasion

31 3. Geographical & other elements to be considered 4. Conclusion: a Proposal… a. Roman imprisonment is probably best suggestion (although Ephesian setting a possibility) b. Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon written during imprisonment’s early stages c. Philippians almost at imprisonment’s end: he expects to be soon released (Phil 1:19; cf. 2:17)

32 PHILIPPIANS Introduction A. History: Acts 16:6-10: Macedonia & Philippian imprisonment B. Location at time of writing: again in prison this time in Rome

33 C. Critical issue: integrity of the letter 1. “Fragments” theory a. 3 fragments proposed (1) 4:10-20: thanks for their gift (2)1:1—3:1; 4:4-7, 21-23: Paul warns against internal rivalry and complaint (3) 3:2—4:3; 4:8-9: this having failed, he vigorously attacks agitators

34 b. Problems with theory (1) much too complex & subtle (2) doesn’t explain why “stitched” together in the present form (3) Paul could move from one thought to another without strict logical sequence 2. Supposed non-genuine themes


36 The City of Philippi A. Established by Alexander’s father, Philip II of Macedonia B. Controlled nearby goldmine C. Overlooked a fertile plain D. Conquered by Rome in 168 BC

37 Roman Forum

38 Paul & the Church at Philippi A. Founded by Paul around 50 AD – on his 2 nd missionary journey (Acts 16:12-40; cf. 1 Thess 2:2; Phil. 4:15).

39 Via Egnatia to Philippi

40 B. Perhaps Paul’s most beloved congregation 1.They are gracious & generous (2 Cor 8:1-4) 2.Paul’s evident affection for them, and pervasive joy of the letter (Phil 1:4-5, 8; 4:1; cf. 1:1 and Philem 1) 3.Mutual affection (2 Cor 11:8-9; Phil 4:14-19)

41 4.Genre is “a friendship letter”: celebration of fellowship & mutual fondness a. Basic features b. Friendship in the ancient world

42 c. Note the frequent employment of the language of: (1) fellowship/ koinonia (1:5; 2:1; 3:10; 4:15) (2) togetherness/ syn -prefix (struggle together with, rejoice, share, worker, soldier, imitator, yoke etc.) (3) “equity”/oneness (1:27; 2:2; cf. 1:6, 30; 2:2, 18; 4:3)

43 Occasion & Purpose A. Occasion 1. Epaphroditus & some companions arrive 2. Writes this letter for Epaphroditus to take home

44 B. Purpose: a number of matters but tends to be “looser” than other epistles 1. Expresses thanks for their friendship & gift 2. Informs his situation 3. Exhorts to Christ-mindedness & unity 4. Warns against false teachers from the outside

45 Content A. Thanksgiving and Prayer (1:3-11) B. Report on his circumstances (1:12-26) 1. In the present (vv. 12-18) 2. Looking toward the future (vv. 19-26)

46 C. Exhortation to maintain unity (“whether I come or remain absent” 1:27—2:30; cf. Eph) 1. Standing firm in one spirit, striving with one mind for the faith of the gospel 2. Given our special relationship, fulfill my joy by being one (2:1-4)

47 3. Examples (2:5-30) Phil. 2:6-11: Self-humiliation & the exaltation of Christ Exegetical issues: i. Meaning of morphe (“form”) ii. Meaning of harpagmon

48 (1) Christ as very God (2) Christ as a man (“being found in human form”) (3) The result: Exaltation (4) Your response: “Work out” your salvation in this very spirit (vv. 12-18)

49 D. Attack against false teachers (3:2-—4:1) 1. A warning against Judaizers (3:1-3) 2. A discussion on why their teaching is futile (3:4-21) a. A word of personal testimony (1) When it comes to keeping the law, Paul has “been there, done that” (2) Instead, everything is now Christ: (3) consequently: a warning against complacency (4) Parallelism between Phil. 2 & 3 b. A final condemnation of the false teachers 3. A final exhortation

50 E. Concluding exhortations (4:2-9) F. Thanks for the gift (4:10-19) G. Final greetings

51 Conclusion A. Life in Christ B. Unity C. Joy

52 PHILEMON Introduction A. On Slavery & Absconding

53 1. Pliny, Letter 21: To Sabianus : “The freedman of yours with whom you said you were angry has been to me, flung himself at my feet, and clung to me as if I were you. He begged my help with many tears, though he left a good deal unsaid; in short, he convinced me of his genuine penitence. I believe he has reformed, because he realizes he did wrong. You are angry, I know, and I know too that your anger was deserved, but mercy wins most praise when there was just cause for anger. You loved the man once, and I hope you will love him again, but it is sufficient for the moment in you allow yourself to be appeased.

54 You can always be angry again if he deserves it, and will have more excuse if you were once placated. Make some concession to his youth, his tears, and you own kind heart, and do not torment him or yourself any longer—anger can only be a torment to your gentle self. I’m afraid you will think I am using pressure, not persuasion, if I add my prayers to his—but this is what I shall do, and all the more freely and fully because I have given the man a very severe scolding and warned him firmly that I will never make such a request again.”

55 2. Aurelius Sarapammon, AD 298 “I commission you by this letter to journey to the famous city of Alexandria, and search for my slave by name _______ about 35 years of age, known to you. When you have found him, you shall place him in custody, with authority to shut him up and whip him and to lay a complaint before the proper authorities against any persons who have harbored him, with a demand for satisfaction.”

56 3. Profile of slaves B. Importance of Paul’s letter The message is theological concerning the practical outworking of the gospel in a social reality. 1. Reveals the gospel in action 2. Illuminates a very serious matter of property, persons & the gospel 3. Unique in Paul’s writings

57 Setting & Style A. Paul & his companions are in prison B. Onesimus appears on the scene 1. commits theft (?) before absconding (v.18) 2. makes contact with Paul. 3. is converted (v.10) & serves as Paul’s personal attendant (vv.11, 13) during his imprisonment.

58 C. Paul has some obligations 1. Onesimus must be sent back to his master … 2. Reconciliation

59 Plan of Large House

60 D. Philemon, Onesimus’ master, is introduced. 1. Philemon’s identity a. wealthy b. a church met in his home c. probably a member of the Colossian church (cf. Col. 4:9) 2. Paul & his relationship a. thorough-going friendly ambience (vv.7, 17, 21; cf. Pliny); delicately informal

61 Cloistered Garden

62 b. probably converted through Paul (v.19) or one of his co-workers (vv. 23-24; Epaphras?) c. if Appia is Philemon’s wife Paul knows her (v.2) and may have stayed in their home before (cf. v.22)

63 E. Paul writes a letter to Philemon. 1. Purpose 2. Nature of the concern: a. 2 very serious offences: (1) Onesimus in absconding (possibly with theft) (2) Paul for harboring b. a delicate manner of approach: how to communicate from a gospel perspective?

64 3. Style of writing To help defuse a potentially tense situation, there are a number of delightful puns. a. double pun on Onesimus = “useful” ( Chrestos ≈ Christ) v.11: formerly “useless” ( achrestos, ≈ apart from Christ) but now as a brother “useful” ( euchrestos ≈ a good Christian) to you and to me b. heart & refreshment

65 Content A. Format: “classic” letter 1. greeting (vv.1-3) 2. thanksgiving (vv.4-7) 3. body (vv.8-20) 4. greetings (vv.21-24) 5. farewell (v.25)

66 B. Issues: seeking pardon 1. for Onesimus 2. for Paul C. Motive: love

67 Conclusion A. The gospel & slavery Why doesn’t the NT take a stand against the practice of slavery or social injustices?

68 B. A unique look at Paul C. Philemon as the gospel of reconciliation D. Possible outcome of the letter?

69 Ignatius of Antioch (Ephesians 1:3): “In God’s name, therefore, I received your large congregation in the person of Onesimus, your bishop in this world, a man whose love is beyond words. My prayer is that you should love him in the Spirit of Jesus Christ and all be like him. Blessed is he who let you have such a bishop.”


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