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  • Bible Survey: The Book of Galatians
    system Was the church to open her doors wide to all comers regardless of their relationship to the particularized traditions of Judaism Were her boundaries to be as wide as the human race Or was she to be only an extension of Judaism to the Gentiles In more particular terms was it necessary for a Gentile believer to observe the law of Moses in order to become a Christian Should a Gentile be circumcised Questions like these must have been raised with increasing force throughout the Roman Empire wherever the church of Jesus Christ camped on Gentile soil Galatians is a record of the form this struggle took in one area of Asia Minor but it is also a reflection of the way in which the issue was being debated and handled in Jerusalem and at Antioch in Syria Acts supplements this information Was it right for Gentile and Jewish Christians to eat together And could they eat the same food Was an orthodox Jew contaminated by such fellowship as Jewish traditions declared or was he not for a time debate seemed to move in a direction destructive of Christian unity and of the survival of the gospel of grace but Paul almost singlehandedly withstood this trend and turned the tide At Jerusalem the question was taken up formally in council and Paul s approach was upheld Acts 15 1 29 The date of the letter is to some extent dependent upon the trip to Jerusalem he might be referring to in Galatians 2 If he is referring to the trip that resulted in the decision of the Council of Jerusalem Acts 15 then perhaps the letter can be dated to a time after AD 48 or 49 which is when the council took place Peter visited Paul in Antioch

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/galatian.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: The Book of Ephesians
    be determined But from the fact that Marcion attributed the epistle to Laodicea possibly because it was so written in the first verse and from the connection with Colossians it is at least probable that two of these churches were at Colosse and Laodicea On this theory the letter would seem to have been written from Rome to churches in the neighborhood of or accessible to Colosse dealing with the problem of Christian unity and fellowship and the relations between Christ and the church and sent to them by the hands of Tychicus the inscription was to be filled in by the bearer or copies were to be made with the name of the local church written in and then sent to or left with the different churches It was from Ephesus as the chief city of Asia in all probability that copies of this circular letter reached the church in the world and from this fact the letter came to be known in the church at large as that from Ephesus and the title was written to the Ephesians and the first verse was made to read to the saints which are in Ephesus Charles Smith Lewis Ephesians Epistle to the in The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia vol II Grand Rapids Eerdmans 1939 p 958 It is by no means universally held that the phrase in Ephesians is a later addition Markus Barth argues persuasively that the letter was written by Paul late in his life while he was imprisoned in Rome Barth believes that Paul is addressing people in the Ephesian church who were of gentile origin whom he did not know personally who had been converted and baptized after his final departure from the city Barth suggests that the strange diction occasionally found in Ephesians results from

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/ephesian.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: The Book of Philippians
    in 356 BC the name was changed by Philip II king of Macedonia from 359 336 BC and father of Alexander the Great Paul had visited Philippi on his second and third missionary journeys see Acts 16 11 40 20 6 The letter was probably written sometime between AD 59 and 61 during Paul s first imprisonment in Rome Acts 28 11 31 III An Outline of Philippians I Introduction

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/philipi.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • The Book of Colossians
    sought by its oriental myths and Greek philosophy to absorb the various religions with which it came into contact It lent itself to an air of exclusiveness cultivating an enlightened elite for whom alone salvation was possible Gnosticism in all its forms was characterized by belief in the evil of matter in mediating beings and in salvation through knowledge Beginning with the assumption that all matter is evil the Gnostics argued that god and matter were therefore antagonistic Indeed they contended that God didn t create this world and that he has absolutely no contact with it However intellectual necessity did not permit them to break completely the bond between divinity and the material world They therefore taught that God put forth from himself a series of aeons or emanations each a little more distant from him and each having a little less of deity At the end of this chain of intermediate beings there is an emanation possessing enough of deity to make a world by removed far enough from God that his creative activities could not compromise the perfect purity of God The world they argued was the creation of this lesser power who being so far removed from God was both ignorant of and hostile to him These aeons offshoots of deity Martin calls them were thought to inhabit the stars and rule man s destiny They therefore were to be placated and worshiped Paul s references to thrones powers rulers authorities 2 15 and worship of angels 2 18 are allusions to these supposed intermediate beings Belief in the inherent evil of matter made it impossible for the Gnostics to accept the real incarnation of God in Christ Some of them explained it away by denying the actual humanity of Jesus holding that he only seemed to be human The body of Jesus they taught was an illusion a phantom only apparently real In their view Christ was only one of many intermediaries between God and the world but he was sufficiently related to God to share his abhorrence of any direct contact with matter The advent of Christ was a piece of play acting when God wore a mask of humanity on the stage of human history giving the appearance of being a man but really being still God in disguise Other Gnostics explained away the incarnation by denying the real deity of Jesus That is they stopped short of making a complete identification of the man Jesus with the aeon Christ Both these tendencies were perhaps present at Colosse in embryo form and both may be alluded to in the Epistle for example in the affirmation that in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form 2 9 Belief that matter is evil also lead to a distorted view of the Christian life Some Gnostics turned to asceticism others to libertinism The ascetics felt that they had to free themselves from the influence of matter the body by inflicting punishment on

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/colossi.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: 1 Thessalonians
    about AD 50 it is probably the earliest Pauline letter Thessalonica was a free city ruled by its own council of citizens Since 146 BC it had been the seat of Roman government for all of Macedonia How long had Paul stayed in Thessalonica when he founded the church there Robert L Thomas writes For three consecutive Sabbaths Paul spoke in the synagogue but met with the usual Jewish resistance Luke s description of the events may be interpreted as meaning that the resistance forced him to leave the city immediately On the other hand we may understand that he continued to work in the city for some time after it was terminated in the synagogue Three points make the latter alternative more probable 1 Paul engaged in gainful employment at Thessalonica 1 Thess 2 9 2 Thess 3 8 Tow to three weeks are not sufficient time for settling into a trade and freeing converts from the burden of supporting their missionaries Besides Paul used his working as proof of his self sacrifice for them something he could hardly have done during a limited stay 2 Upon his departure from Thessalonica he left a thriving church not one still in the throes of separation from the local synagogue Indeed by the time he left this church included many Gentiles fresh from their heathen idolatry 1 Thess 1 9 They could not have been won through a synagogue ministry 3 Before leaving Paul had received at least two special gifts from Philippi a hundred miles or five days away It is difficult to crowd all this into two or three weeks Robert L Thomas 1 Thessalonians The Expositor s Bible Commentary vol 11 Grand Rapids Zondervan 1978 p 230 III An Outline of 1 Thessalonians I Introduction 1 1 II

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/1thess.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: 2 Thessalonians
    our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ The second letter was probably written only a short time after the first it too is to be dated around AD 50 See the discussion on the first letter for more background information III An Outline of 2 Thessalonians I Salutation 1 1 2 II Thanksgiving 1 3 12 III The second coming 2 1 17 IV Prayer request 3 1 5 V

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/2thess.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: 1 Timothy
    Author and Setting The author of the letter is Paul according to 1 Timothy 1 1 2a Paul an apostle of Christ Jesus by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope To Timothy my true son in the faith Based on 1 3 it is suggested that Paul was writing from Macedonia while Timothy was in Ephesus Paul wrote the letter after his first imprisonment in Rome as recorded at the end of the book of Acts Therefore it was likely written sometime between AD 62 and 67 III An Outline of 1 Timothy I Salutation 1 1 2 II Timothy s task in Ephesus 1 3 11 III Thanksgiving 1 12 20 IV Worship and Conduct 2 1 6 21 IV Question on 1 Timothy 1 When was the first letter to Timothy written 2 What does Paul say about the place of women in the church in 1 Timothy 2 9 15 How is it to be reconciled with Galatians 3 26 29 and 1 Corinthians 11 5 3 What are the requirements of an overseer or bishop or elder 4 What are the requirements of a deacon 5 What advise does Paul

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/1timothy.htm (2013-12-10)
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  • Bible Survey: 2 Timothy
    written while he was imprisoned in Rome awaiting execution Timothy based on the information in 1 Timothy 1 3 was still in Ephesus The letter was written sometime between AD 62 and 67 If the tradition is accurate regarding Paul s martyrdom during the reign of Nero then the letter was certainly written before June of AD 68 because it was in that month that the emperor committed suicide III

    Original URL path: http://theology.edu/biblesurvey/2timothy.htm (2013-12-10)
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