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  • New Testament Introduction: 2 Corinthians
    of time Rudolf Bultmann a very important New Testament exegete from the first half of the 20th century suggested that 1 and 2 Corinthians actually consist of 4 letters plus one that has not been preserved Letter A 1 Corinthians Letter B The Tearful Letter now lost Letter C 2 Corinthians 2 14 7 4 9 1 15 10 1 13 14 Letter D 2 Corinthians 1 1 2 13 7 5 16 8 1 24 Bultmann saw 2 Corinthians 6 14 7 1 as a non Pauline interpolation The intriguing thing about Bultmann s suggestion is that if these 4 letters are read in this sequence they show a progressive improvement in Paul s relationship with the Corinthians If they are not read in this order they are confused and rollercoaster like in the respect that they move swiftly from one idea to another without any cohesion or order I think that Bultmann is correct in his reconstruction of the order of these letters It seems that an early scribe simply combined Letters C and D while ignoring or not having access to Letter B The possibility exists nevertheless that 2 Corinthians is not a composite as suggested above but an integrated letter as 1 Corinthians is In light of that possibility the following outline is offered which may show the purpose of Paul in writing this document 1 Greeting and Personal Remarks 1 1 11 2 Bad Relationships with the Corinthians and the Letter of Tears 1 12 2 13 3 Personal Defense 2 14 7 16 with 6 14 7 1 interpolated by another writer 4 The Collection for Jerusalem 8 9 5 Paul Responds to those who Challenge His Authority 10 1 13 10 6 Conclusion 13 11 13 Paul s letter s to the Corinthians

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/ntintro/2COR.htm (2013-12-09)
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  • New Testament Introduction: Galatians
    Christian one must be circumcised if a male of course The Christians preached this message to the Galatian churches which Paul had established and it made Paul unspeakably angry when he found out about it This is the historical situation which gave rise to the writing of Galatians This epistle was written to combat these false brothers as Paul called them Paul wrote Galatians in the mid 50 s of the first century nearly a decade after the churches there had been established n b Galatia is a region in Asia Minor and not a city This letter is crammed full of hostile language regarding the people in Galatia who have fallen for the false teachers as well as the false teachers themselves At one point Paul says if they think circumcision avails anything let them go all the way and castrate themselves Paul s outrage stems from the fact that these false brothers were telling the Galatians that they must add circumcision to grace in order to be saved Paul taught that grace was added to nothing for salvation As far as he was concerned the false brethren were heretics and liars An outline of the text will show

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/ntintro/GAL.htm (2013-12-09)
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  • New Testament Introduction: Ephesians
    to imitate their teacher Independent thought was not encouraged Rather students were made to memorize their teachers ideas and repeat them as if they were the teacher himself So for example a student of Paul the Rabbi would learn to think as Paul thought and speak as Paul spoke When he had completed his schooling he could proceed to speak in the name of his teacher Paul No one would think a thing of it if he said Paul says etc In fact he would have been expected to do so Thus as time passed and Paul s students began to circulate in the early Church after Paul s death they would speak and write in his name to new situations The letters above originated in this circle of Paul s students and thus when written were written in the name of Paul Again the modern student sometimes thinks this is a deceitful or disingenuous procedure since after all there was only one Paul But to the ancients such things were commonplace and everyday So when modern scholars describe books as pseudonymous all they mean is that the book in question was written in the name of a famous teacher by a later student In our discussion of several of the books attributed to Paul that are pseudonymous this is the understanding that we have in mind We can now turn to Ephesians Ephesians attributed to Paul is most likely a pseudonymous writing The vocabulary sentence structure and theological perspective are Pauline but the situation addressed historically is later than Paul This means that a s tudent of Paul utilizeulary to address a later situation Why was Ephesians written To encourage Christians at the end of the first century to look up at Jesus and find strength for ethical behavior

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/ntintro/EPH.htm (2013-12-09)
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  • New Testament Introduction: Philippians
    42 CE received land as pension and the land they received was in and around Philippi The city itself set on the Via Egnatia just to the east of another important town Thessalonica The Christians at Philippi were probably ex soldiers and their families which puts a whole new spin on the meaning of the text for it must be read with this military audience in mind Paul evangelized the city around the year 50 during his Second Missionary Journey It was one of his favorites and one which was most supportive of him The outline of the little epistle shows the reason that it was written 1 Greeting and Thanksgiving 1 1 11 2 Paul Describes his Situation in Prison 1 12 26 3 A Hymn to Christ 1 27 2 16 4 Paul s Wish to See them Again 2 17 3 1a 5 Beware of False Teachers 3 1b 4 1 6 Exhortation to Unity 4 2 9 7 The Philippian s Generous Gift of Support to Paul and His Gratitude for It 4 10 20 8 Blessing 4 21 23 This letter then is about Paul and his friends at Philippi and how that friendship has

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/ntintro/phil.htm (2013-12-09)
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  • New Testament Introduction: Colossians
    NT scholars and because they are so extraordinarily similar in content character and purpose it seem appropriate to consider them both in close proximity The letter to the Colossians was written by a student of Paul s who lived in Ephesus and wrote around 80 CE Colossae was a major city located in the Lycus River valley in Phrygia in the province of Asia Minor The church there was established not by Paul but by an associate of his Epaphras The purpose of this letter is identical to the purpose of Ephesians which see above This has led some to suggest that there may have been a certain group of Paulinists disciples of Paul who associated together and shared many of the same ideas and theological perspectives This is certainly a possibility though there is no way to demonstrate it One of the more interesting aspects of Colossians is the very old hymn found in 1 15 20 This hymn must have been in widespread use among the Christians of the early Church An outline shows the similarity to Ephesians 1 Greeting 1 1 2 2 The Lordship of Christ 1 3 23 3 The Mystery of Christ 1 24

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/ntintro/col.htm (2013-12-09)
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  • New Testament Introduction: 1 Thessalonians
    Christianity Before Paul the Church was Palestinian and quite Jewish Only after Paul did the Church begin to spread into purely Gentile areas Because Paul was striking out into new territory it was necessary for him to adapt his message to his audience Because he did make certain adaptations some of the vigor and ambiance of the earliest Church was replaced by a more worldly message In other words earliest Christianity was a religion of the village and field whereas Paul transformed it into a religion of the city and the marketplace I Thessalonians is Paul s first effort to put into words this new viewpoint He wrote the letter around the year 50 some 20 years after the death of Jesus Paul established the Church at Thessalonica on his second journey and wrote the letter from Corinth shortly after his visit to Thessalonica The issues he addresses have to do primarily with the early Christian expectation that Jesus would return before most of them died An outline of the letter will aid us in seeing clearly its purpose 1 Greeting and Thanksgiving 1 1 10 2 Paul s Activity There 2 1 12 3 Their Reception of the Gospel

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/ntintro/1thess.htm (2013-12-09)
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  • New Testament Introduction: 2 Thessalonians
    around the same time that Revelation was composed At that period of the Church s history apocalyptic fervor and end time speculation was at its height As a result of this speculation many Christians were abandoning home and work in order to gaze up at the sky This led to disastrous results for if no one was working no one was eating And if many were on the dole of the Church receiving resources which should rightly go to the truly needy the Church would be unable to meet its responsibilities It is this situation which called forth the letter An examination of the structure of the letter will make clear this purpose 1 Greeting in the name of Paul 1 1 2 2 Thanksgiving for their Patience in Waiting for the Coming of Christ 1 3 12 3 The Signs of the Times 2 1 12 4 Another Thanksgiving for their Patience 2 13 17 5 Paul s Prayer Requests 3 1 5 6 Exhortation Against Idleness 3 6 15 7 Conclusion 3 16 18 It is important to note that Paul gives thanks twice for their patience This clearly means that they were NOT waiting patiently and that

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/ntintro/2thess.htm (2013-12-09)
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  • New Testament Introduction: 1 Timothy
    a pure democracy where anyone who felt like speaking had the right to speak see 1 Cor 12 14 Churches met in houses and had no structure per se After the lifetime of Paul the Church began to develop more structure as more people became members It became impossible time wise to allow everyone to speak It also became necessary to standardize the doctrine that was taught The best way to achieve this goal was to allow one person to speak So the office of Pastor was born out of necessity and not by design This portrayal of the transitional history from charismatic church to structured movement means that the issues addressed in the Pastorals would not have existed in the day of Paul That is why most scholars describe these three letters as pseudepigraphal though there are a multitude of other reasons as well such as vocabulary syntax and theology What has been suggested here about 1 Timothy in particular applies to all the pastorals as well As the Church grew and structures developed a need for guidance for the leaders of the Church arose as well That is the hole which the Pastorals strive to fill 1 Timothy then was most likely written towards the close of the first century when these offices and church officials were being born into the life of the Church The letter was sent to Ephesus first and from there spread to other regions of the Mediterranean basin A look at the outline will make clear the major concerns of the writer of the epistle 1 Greetings 1 1 2 2 Warning Against False Teachers 1 3 11 3 Charge to Timothy 1 12 20 4 Ordering Public Worship 2 1 15 5 Instructions for Church Leaders 3 1 16 6 Correct those

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/ntintro/1tim.htm (2013-12-09)
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