Paul’s Letters

Galatians* Who: Paul (authorship undisputed) Where: Asia Minor When: c. 48 Why: To warn against legalism and defend justification by faith as well as Paul’s apostolic authority. Short Outline • Paul’s defense (1-2) • Justification by faith (3-4) • The Christian life (5-6)

Cosmic, Corporate, and Individual Reconciliation through Union with Christ (Part 1)

Introduction Paul explains in 2 Cor. 5:16-21 that reconciliation is more than something between two parties. Reconciliation through union with Christ is cosmic in scope. Reconciliation through union with Christ is the hinge and hope on which all things hang, without it salvation falls apart. 2 Corinthians is one of Paul’s early letters, dated circa […]

Philemon: A Case Study of New Life in Christ (Part 2)

What do we learn about Onesimus? Paul calls Onesimus his child, as he often does with converts, especially, it seems, those whom he had a special connection with through discipleship (cf. 1 Cor. 4:14-15; 2 Cor. 6:13; Gal. 4:19; Phil. 2:22; 1 Tim. 1:2). Onesimus, had a common slave name, his name meant “useful.” Paul […]

Slavery and its defeat

At the time of the writing of the New Testament, in the Roman Empire, there were essentially three classes of people: The rich, the slaves (about half the population), and freemen. These “freemen” were free in that they were not owned by anyone, yet they often went hungry because of their “freedom.” Whereas, slaves sometimes […]

Living in Light of the Majesty of Christ

  Introduction In Paul’s letter to the Philippians, Paul is seeking to bless and encourage the Philippian church. He has encouraged and wants his friends in Philippi to be bold (1:14), receive joy in the faith (v. 25), and live a life worthy of the gospel (v. 27). So, how is Paul encouraging the Philippians […]

Legalism and License

Too often legalism is not really legalism but a mere cop-out. If we are confronted with something difficult we know we should do (or shouldn’t do) it is easier to label it legalism and thus not have to worry about doing it. We often, in the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, excuse “ourselves from single-minded obedience […]

The Shape and Reshaping of Paul’s Understanding of the Messiah (and it’s significance)

First, it is important that we spend some time looking at Phariseism because whatever is said about it will affect what we say about Paul.[1] We can see from the NT witness as well as other texts that Pharisees held considerable influence.[2] Inevitably, Paul was shaped greatly by his Pharisaic training.[3] Before Paul’s conversion (when he was […]

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