From the Rector, Thirty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time, 11/14/21

Introduction to Saint Paul

Lesson 11

  I. Identity: practical info and organizational aspects

             a.  Chronology (AD)

                            i.  5/10—birth

                           ii.  35/36—vocation/conversion

                          iii.  45-60—missions

iv.   60/67—death under Nero, just before the destruction of Jerusalem

b.  Ethnic background (Phil. 3; 2 Cor.11)

 i.  Judaism

ii.  Roman citizen

iii.  Greek (Hellenistic culture/language surrounded him)

iv.  Apostle of the Gentiles

II.  Paul and the collection of letters: epistolary literary genre, language, and style

a.  Letters were the most common/important type of communication at the time

 i.  Different from Jewish culture which used oral tradition

ii.  St. Paul’s letters were not about evangelization, but about governance of the communities he had already evangelized

b.  Structure of a Pauline letter

  i.  Intro (sender, receivers, greeting), recommendation to grace, which has blessing and thanksgiving

 ii.  Corpus

1.  Doctrinal part

a.  Directed toward the particular communities’ problems

i.  This makes St. Paul’s letters theology in context rather than an abstract answer to a question nobody is asking

2.  Exhortation

a.  The indicatives of the doctrine become imperatives here

iii.  Conclusion—greeting, blessing

1.  Often ends with a doxology

III.  Theme of each letter

a.  1 Thess.—hope

b.  1 Cor—Church

c.  2 Cor—Ministry

d.  Philippians—Joy

e.  Philemon—freedom from slavery

f.  Galatians—Freedom

g.  Romans—Gospel

h. Colossians—Primacy of Christ

i.  Ephesians—peace

j.  2 Thess—judgment of God

k. 1 Tim/Tit—the pastor

l.  2 Tim—Testament of Paul

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