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A chronology of paul’s letters


A suggested chronology for Paul's letters

A suggested chronology for Paul's letters

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  • 1. A chronology of Paul’s letters Laindon Bible Class – 11th December 2013
  • 2. Our approach • Scope of Paul’s writings • The life of Paul • The key characteristics of each epistle • A suggested chronology • Some learning points for us Chronology of Paul's Letters 2
  • 3. Scope of Paul’s writings • Canon of NT scripture: – Order of the 27 books – Completeness of Paul’s 13/14 letters NB Epistle to the Laodiceans & 3rd & 4th Epistle to the Corinthians? • Scriptural significance: – About half the number of books in the NT – About 25/30% of the words in the NT • Profound doctrinal content NB Facilitated but not influenced by his training at the feet of Gamaliel Chronology of Paul's Letters 3
  • 4. The life of Paul • Born in Tarsus circa 3BC • Raised a Pharisee at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3) • Originally named Saul (“desired”) but renamed Paul (“small or little”) after his conversion (cf 1 Corinthians 15:9 & Ephesians 3:8) • Lived an extremely demanding life (2 Cor 11) • By tradition was beheaded by Emperor Nero circa 67AD at the age of 70 Chronology of Paul's Letters 4
  • 5. Tarsus Tarsus: • 10 miles from the sea • About 160 miles from Antioch (overland) • Over 500 miles from Jerusalem Chronology of Paul's Letters 5
  • 6. Paul’s travels Chronology of Paul's Letters 6
  • 7. The main events in Paul’s life - 1 Circa 3BC Jesus crucified Saul born in Tarsus Stephen stoned 35AD Cornelius baptised 34AD Saul travels to Damascus 38AD Paul escapes to Jerusalem 43/45AD Paul Antioch/Jerusalem 46AD Jerusalem council 1st missionary journey 49AD Paul in Antioch 49AD 2nd missionary journey Estimated dates & timeline not to scale Chronology of Paul's Letters 7
  • 8. The main events in Paul’s life - 2 Circa 50AD Paul in Athens Rome founds London 51AD Paul in Corinth 52AD In Ephesus & Jerusalem 53AD 3rd missionary journey In Corinth & Jerusalem In prison Caesarea 59/60AD Journey to Rome 61/62AD Paul executed Paul in Ephesus 58/59AD Rome burned 54/55AD 56/57AD Nero emperor Under house arrest 63/65AD In Macedonia & Asia 66/67AD Re-imprisoned in Rome Chronology of Paul's Letters 8
  • 9. Key characteristics – 1 Epistle • Romans Characteristics • Written from Corinth • Teaching concerning God’s dealings with man – “Paul’s gospel” • Written prior to an intended visit • 1 Corinthians • Written in Ephesus (probably 2nd letter) • Written on his way to Corinth • Deals with issues arising in the ecclesia at Corinth Chronology of Paul's Letters 9
  • 10. Key characteristics – 2 Epistle • 2 Corinthians Characteristics • Written in Macedonia (Philippi?) • Following up on issues and seeking to establish his apostolic authority • Written shortly before his visit • Galatians • Written in Antioch • Between his 1st & 2nd missionary journeys before Council of Jerusalem • Deals with the basic principles of God’s plan of salvation Chronology of Paul's Letters 10
  • 11. Key characteristics – 3 Epistle • Ephesians Characteristics • Written from Rome • Teaching on our relationship with God through Jesus and great exhortation • Written whilst under house arrest • Philippians • Also written from Rome • Letter of thanks and encouragement together with some warnings • Probably near end of house arrest Chronology of Paul's Letters 11
  • 12. Key characteristics – 4 Epistle • Colossians Characteristics • Another letter from Rome • A forthright denial of the false teaching of Judaizers plus exhortation • Also whilst under house arrest • 1 Thessalonians • Written in Corinth • Written at the time he was founding the Corinthian Ecclesia • Contains exhortation, comfort and some warnings Chronology of Paul's Letters 12
  • 13. Key characteristics – 5 Epistle • 2 Thessalonians • 1 Timothy Characteristics • Also written in Corinth • Correcting misunderstandings and errors in the ecclesia • Written shortly after first letter • Written from Macedonia having left Timothy in Ephesus • Probably written after Paul’s release • A pastoral epistle giving Timothy guidance on ecclesial life Chronology of Paul's Letters 13
  • 14. Key characteristics – 6 Epistle • 2 Timothy Characteristics • Written in Rome on 2nd imprisonment • Another pastoral epistle giving advice on walk in Christ & saying farewell • Asks Timothy to come to him • Titus • Probably written shortly before his 2nd arrest & return to Rome (also pastoral) • Written after Paul left Titus in Crete • Warnings about false teaching & advice on sound doctrine and good works Chronology of Paul's Letters 14
  • 15. Key characteristics – 7 Epistle • Philemon Characteristics • Written in Rome • A personal appeal to Philemon regarding his slave Onesimus • Also written whilst under house arrest • Hebrews • Probably also written in Rome • Some persuasive arguments for Paul being the writer • Written to Jewish Christians explaining Christ’s role in the new dispensation Chronology of Paul's Letters 15
  • 16. Thus suggested chronology • 49AD Galatians • 61/62AD Philippians • 51AD 1st Thessalonians Colossians • 52AD 2nd Thessalonians Philemon • 55AD 1st Corinthians Hebrews • 56AD 2nd Corinthians • 62/63AD 1st Timothy • 57AD Romans • 65/66AD Titus • 60AD Ephesians 2nd Timothy Chronology of Paul's Letters 16
  • 17. Some lessons for us • The obvious but none the less powerful example of Paul’s devotion to the work of the Lord • Paul’s unending attention to the needs of his brethren and his disregard of his own welfare • The diligence that Paul gave to exhorting and encouraging the brethren but at the same time correcting & rooting out error Chronology of Paul's Letters 17