Early and Pastoral Epistles of Paul

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EarlyPastEpisPaulStuAllen.jpg

Early and Pastoral Epistles of Paul

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By Stuart Allen

Book Review by Robert Guenther
This work is an exposition of six of Paul's epistles; 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Titus, and 1 Timothy. For this review, I will divide the epistles into two groups; pre and post Acts.

The first group concerns Paul's earlier writings to those things at Thessalonica. Paul spent three Sabbath’s reasoning out of the Scriptures to those in the synagogues. Because of the unpopular teachings, Paul was forced to flee by night to Berea, leaving this young church open to prosecution. Paul then sent Timothy, his beloved son and fellow worker, back to Thessalonica to establish and comfort them. Paul learns through Timothy that these believers are unclear on the teaching of the return of the Lord Jesus and on the position of the dead believer. Paul then writes a second letter, used to expand his thoughts and correct any misunderstandings that have occurred from the first letter. 2 Thessalonians gives these believers the warning signs which must happen before the second coming of Christ, mainly the unveiling of the ‘man of sin’.

The next epistles addressed are those to the Saints at Corinth. This city was located on a main trade route and had a mixed population of Romans, Greeks, and Jews. It has been suggested that Paul visited Corinth (Acts 18:1-17; 1 Corinthians 2:1) and wrote them a letter. What Paul learned in response to this first unrecorded letter caused him to write the epistle 1 Corinthians and express the concerns about the city's basic immorality, their spiritual immaturity, the tendency to follow men instead of Christ and their views on the Lord's Supper and resurrection. It is then believed that Paul, hearing there was still unresolved problems at Corinth, paid them a brief visit. After this visit, he sent them a third letter (2 Corinthians) via Timothy. Becoming anxious of the severe content of this third letter, Paul sets out to find Timothy. They meet in Macedonia where Paul learns that the third letter was well received.

The second group deals with two of the three pastoral epistles. These practical books, Titus and 1 Timothy, were written by Paul after the end of the Acts and had these thoughts in view.

1. Guidance of Titus and Timothy as Christian leaders.
2. What their “charge” involved.
3. What their personal conduct and example should be.

This book is an excellent study and reference guide.