Who was Paul?
Born in Tarsus
Born as a Roman Citizen.
Studied under Gamaliel at age of 13.
Became a Jewish Lawyer.
He was also Saul the terrorist:
Held the cloaks while Stephen was stoned.
Became a religious zealot.
Saul sought to eradicate Christians.
This was who he was when he encountered Christ. Saul is confronted by Jesus. Converts and becomes Paul the apostle.
"For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus.
18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas[a] and stayed with him fifteen days." Galatians 1:13-18
Paul's future. Acts 20 and 28. He speaks with humility and boldness. Barnabas asks Paul for help with the church in Antioch, a church founded by Christians who had fled from Saul.
12 "Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters,[a] that what has happened to me has actually served to advance the gospel. 13 As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard[b] and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. 14 And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear." Philippians 1:12-14
God is working everywhere (and reaching out to everyone).
The New Testament books -- 13 of the 27 books were written by Paul. All are letters, very little narrative. They fall into two categories: letters to churches and letters to individuals. They are conversations.
Style & Theme:
Doctrine -- what Christians should know.
Application -- what to do with that doctrine.
Logistics -- special instructions and greetings to individuals.
Romans: 1-11 chapters explanation of the gospel; 12-15 explains what it means to be a living sacrifice; End plants to visit, greetings by name.
1 Corinthians: to a church that went astray.
2 Corinthians: a letter of reconciliation and forgiveness.
Galatians: aggressive letter to correct false doctrine.
Ephesians: outlines grace, peace and salvation.
Philippians: witness from prison about joy and having a Christ-like attitude.
(While Paul is writing these, he's growing spiritually too.)
Colossians: explains who they are in Christ.
1 Thessalonians: exhorts the church for being an example to all other churches, even during heavy persecution.
2 Thessalonians: coaches church about standing strong as persecution persists.
Paul put it into terms we could understand.
1 Timothy: guide to godliness and sound teaching to a new pastor in Ephesus.
2 Timothy: written as Paul is close to death. Paul charges Timothy to carry on his work.
Titus: instructs Titus, who he left in Crete, on how to build a countercultural church.
Philemon: open letter to be read in front of the wole church; addresses the issue of a certain escaped slave to his master, but also addresses the church in which Philemon is a member.
Mission of letters: focuses on the why and the what, not the how.
How= rules We aren't called to make rules.
Get reading the Bible. The understanding of our faith is laid out in these letters from Paul. Choosing not to read the Bible is willful ignorance. Be willfully knowledgeable.