Графични страници
PDF файл

This epistle was written somewhat later than First Corinthians. The main object is to establish the apostolic authority of its author.

Second Corinthians

It contains (1) his representations of his own apostolic character and conduct (ch. 1-7); (2) the collections for the poor (ch. 8, 9); (3) a justification of his apostolic worth (ch. 10-13).

Paul wrote this epistle about 56 or 57


A. D., probably from Macedonia or Cor

inth. After a brief greeting the apostle attacks the heresy that Gentiles must conform to Jewish rites in order to enjoy the blessings of the gospel. This error was in the way of his mission to the Gentiles and the universal reception of the good tidings. The main topics are:

1. Paul owes his gospel not to men, but to an immediate, inward revelation of Christ in his own soul (ch. 1, 2). 2. The patriarch Abraham had the gospel promise of blessings for mankind long before the Mosaic ritual and law were given, and therefore the gospel must be independent of this law (ch. 3, 4). 3. The gospel itself is a revelation of a higher law of love and purity, and the liberty it gives is not a cloak for sin, which is contrary to the spirit of Christ (ch. 5); exhortations to fraternal helpfulness and fidelity to Christ (ch. 6).

The author's name, as apostle to the Gentiles, is carried in its opening words (Rom. 1 : 1-7). Indications in the letter point to Corinth as the place where Paul wrote. The time of writing was before his departure for Jerusalem, and his later visit to Italy as a prisoner, apparently between December, 58 A. D., and February, 59 A. D.

The Epistle

to the Romans

We have in it nothing less than the course of religious instruction, and in a way the dogmatic and moral catechism of St. Paul.

[ocr errors]

To set free the kingdom of God from the Jewish wrapping which had served as its cradle, was the work of Paul. . . To found afterhand, and, morally, to refound the church of Rome.-Godet.

An analysis of the contents shows :

(1) A doctrinal and (2) a practical treatise. The doctrinal part extends 1: 16-11: 36. It includes a discussion of the sinfulness and guilt of mankind, of salvation by the righteousness of faith, with special treatment of the relation of salvation to the law, of sanctification apart from law, and of the way of salvation in relation to Israel who held the law in trust for mankind. The practical part develops the idea of righteousness in life, an exposition of Christian holiness, with many duties and graces in social relations.

The Epistle to Philemon

This letter was written by Paul in 62 A. D. from Rome to Philemon, an eminent Christian of Asia Minor.

It is the only strictly private letter which has been preserved. It is addressed apparently to a layman. It is wholly occupied with an incident of domestic life. . Nowhere is the social influence of the gospel more strikingly exerted; nowhere does the nobility of the apostle's character receive a more vivid illustration than in this accidental pleading on behalf of a runaway slave.— Lightfoot.

Paul wrote this letter from Rome in a. D. 62, about the same time with Philippians and Ephesians. The aim of this epistle is to correct the religious and moral error which threatened to corrupt the faith and character of the Colossian church. The error was that matter is evil and antagonistic to God, and that created beings mediate between man and God.

Epistle to the

Paul here teaches that Christ, who is both God and man, unites mankind with God, as angels cannot do. Christ is in the creation of nature, and is the medium of the spiritual

creation of the church. Christ, the eternal Word, was always in the world. No man ever came to God except by him. The dim light of the heathen and Jewish world was all due to his presence whose glories are fully unfolded in the Gospels. Matter is not the source of evil, but man's free choice of wrong is that source. Bodily discipline is not the cure of sin, nor external legal actions, but faith and love in Christ Jesus.

The doctrine of the Person of Christ is here stated with greater precision and fullness than in any other of St. Paul's epistles.

This letter was written by Paul, Alford thinks, from Rome to the church at Ephesus about 62 A. D. "Tychicus and Onesimus were being sent to Colossæ. The former was charged with a weighty epistle to the church there, arising out of peculiar dangers which beset them; the latter, with a private apostolic letter of recommendation to his former master, also a resident of Colossæ." Paul had served the church at Ephesus. (See Acts 18: 19-21; 19: 1 ; 20: 18-35.) He wishes now to instruct and cheer them once more, though a prisoner. The theme of his discourse is :

Epistle to the

To set forth the ground, the course, the aim, and end of the church of the faithful in Christ. . . Everywhere with him the origin and foundation of the church is the will of the Father; the work and course of the church is by the satisfaction of the Son; by an adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, the scope and end of the church is the life in the Holy Spirit.-Alford.

These sublime spiritual doctrines are then applied to the various social relations of Christians in this life, in industry, family, and general society. An earnest and glowing exhortation closes the letter with an appeal to put on the whole armor of God. The unity of all life in Christ is impressed by the most solemn religious sanctions.

It seems probable that this letter was written by Paul from Rome in the summer of 63 A. D.,, at a time when his imprisonment had become more severe and death seemed imminent. The church at Philippi, planted by Paul in his second missionary journey in 51 A. D. (Acts 16 : 12), moved to profound sympathy by a knowledge of his trying circumstances, had sent him a personal contribution in his poverty and distress.

The Epistle to the

This letter is sent to express his grateful love and to encourage his beloved brethren to persevere in the Christian faith and walk.

First Peter

It seems fairly clear that this letter was written by the Apostle Peter, whose career is told in the Gospels and in the Acts of the Apostles. Its date is between 63 and 67 A. D. It is addressed to churches in Asia Minor, where Paul had taught, and its purpose is to remind them of the doctrines of Paul and urge their moral applications to individual and social conduct.

The topics are the mercy of God in our salvation, our trials, our hopes. Purity and fidelity are demanded on the grounds of Christian obligation. Reciprocal duties are defined and enforced, and the loftiest motives of fear, hope, and love are pressed with faithful earnestness.


This letter was addressed to persons of The Epistle to the Hebrew origin who had become Christians. It is full of quotations and ideas from the Old Testament. It was written between the years 64 and 67 A. D., previous to the destruction of Jerusalem. It refers to the temple rites as constantly observed (Heb. 8: 4; 9:6, 9; 10: 1; 13 : 10).

The place of writing must be left in complete uncertainty.— Lightfoot.

Topics of the letter: The finality of Christianity; the exalted dignity of Christ—above all angels, above Moses; the priesthood of Christ; faith in Christ the fountain of life; moral applications of the holy doctrines of Christ.

The central portion of each of the first three divisions is mainly occupied with solemn warnings, while the last division is a most grave and earnest exposition of the duties which follow from the confession of Christ's priestly work.-Lightfoot.

We do not know who the author was. The names of Paul, Luke, Apollos, Barnabas, and Mark, have all found able advocates.

If we hold that the judgment of the Spirit makes itself felt through the consciousness of the Christian society, no book of the Bible is more completely recognized by universal consent as giving a divine view of the facts of the gospel, full of lessons for all time, than the Epistle to the Hebrews.—Lightfoot.

The church in process of growth required organization. This is the theme of these letters. Alford, an Episcopalian scholar of highest rank, says of these letters :

The "Pastoral

In them there is not the slightest trace of Episcopal government, in the later sense. . . The fact is, that the form of church government disclosed in our epistles is of the simplest kind possible. The diaconate was certainly, in some shape or other, coæval with the very infancy of the church; and the presbyterate was almost a necessity for every congregation. . . The directions which are here given, are altogether of an ethical, not of a hierarchical kind.

This Episcopalian testimony to our Baptist interpretation is of great value. The hierarchy was unknown while the

« ПредишнаНапред »