New Testament Basics 3

Introductions of the 13 Epistles/Letters written by Apostle Paul- Pauline Epistles-

Romans, 1st & 2nd Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st & 2nd Thessalonians, 1st & 2nd Timothy, Titus, Philemon  


Author- Apostle Paul

Written to the Church/churches in Rome which was/were predominantly Gentile.

Dated- Around 57 A.D.

During the time of the Apostles, there were Jews living in Rome who accepted Christ as Savior and through them many Romans came to Christ and churches were established. Chapter 16 suggests there were 5 house churches in the city. [16:5, 10, 11, 14, 15]

Theme- God’s plan of salvation for all people

Key Word- The righteousness of God

Content- Righteousness of God and unrighteousness of man, Justification, Sanctification, God’s rejection of Israel, Commendations & Greetings.

[When Paul wrote the letter, he was at Corinth on his 3rd missionary journey. He greatly desired to visit the Roman church. However he could not go to Rome because he felt he must personally deliver the collection taken from the Gentile churches for the poverty stricken Christians of Jerusalem. So instead of going to Rome, he sent a letter to prepare the Christians there for his intended visit in connection with a mission to Spain.]

1st Corinthians

Author- Apostle Paul [written from Ephesus]

Written to believers in the Church at Corinth where divisions and immorality were prevalent. This Church was established during Paul’s second missionary journey.

Dated- Around 55 A.D.

Corinth was the chief city of Greece with 12 temples. People were very immoral. To Corinthianize means to practice sexual immorality.

Theme- Paul writes to correct sinful practices and refute false doctrine- factions, sexual immorality, lawsuits among believers, misuse of spiritual gifts, marital difficulties etc.

Key Word- Correction of carnal living

Content- Divisions in the church, Moral and ethical problems in the church, Marriage related advice, Public worship and use of spiritual gifts, Resurrection.

2nd Corinthians

Author- Apostle Paul, along with Timothy [1:1]

Written to the Church at Corinth & to Christians throughout Achaia [Roman province comprising all of Greece south of Macedonia]. Written from Macedonia during Paul’s 3rd missionary journey. Messenger was Titus along with 2 others.

Dated- Around 55 A.D.

Theme- Paul encourages the Corinthian believers to be reconciled with him and reject false teachers who are challenging his authority and creating dissension in the church.

Key Word- Paul’s defence of his ministry

Content- Paul’s defence of his apostolic ministry, collection for the christians at Jerusalem


Author- Apostle Paul

During his first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas established several churches in the Roman province of Galatia. Some Jewish Christians came in and began teaching that Gentile Christians needed to be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses. They discredited Paul as an apostle and challenged his concept of the gospel.

Written to Churches in southern and probably northern Galatia.

Dated- Around 50 A.D.

Theme- Paul writes to verify his apostleship and counters the claims of legalistic Judaizers who were telling the Galatian believers that they must be circumcised and keep the Law of Moses to be saved.

Key Words- Justification by faith; freedom from the law.

Content- Paul defends his Apostolic ministry, Justification by faith, Works of the flesh, Fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians is referred to as “Luther’s book” and the Magna Carta of Christian Liberty [The Great Charter]


Author- Apostle Paul

Ephesians is one of Paul’s four “prison epistles/letters” (others-Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon); written during Paul’s imprisonment at Rome. The epistles to the Colossians, Philemon and the Ephesians were carried to their destination by Tychicus and Onesimus.

Written to the believers in the church at Ephesus & other churches in Western Asia Minor [modern Turkey]

Dated- Around 60 A.D.

Paul founded the Ephesian Church, though there were Christians in Ephesus before he arrived. The Apostle John and Timothy also pastored there.

Themes- Salvation by grace through faith alone, the spiritual blessings of Christians in Christ, exhortation to walk worthy of the calling in Christ; spiritual warfare is a daily experience.

Key Word- Building the body of Christ

Content- Headship of Christ, Salvation by grace through faith, Fulfilling God’s purpose in the Church


Author- Apostle Paul

During his second missionary journey, Paul established the Church at Philippi.

Written to the believers at Philippi. Philippi was a major city of Macedonia on the road from Rome to Asia.

Dated- Around 60 A.D.

Themes- Paul writes to encourage the Christians at philippi to live joyfully in every circumstance. He also thanks the Philippians for the gift they had sent to him upon learning of his detention in Rome.

Key Word- To live is Christ

Content- Paul’s testimony, Paul’s associates in the ministry, Warnings against legalists and libertines, Christian life exhortations.

Philippians is also called the New Testament letter of joy. The word joy or similar words are mentioned 16 times.


Author- Apostle Paul

Written to the believers at Colossae; a Church perhaps planted by Paul’s coworker Epaphras; one of the prison letters of Paul written from Rome. During Paul’s 3 year ministry in Ephesus, Epaphras had been converted and carried the Gospel to Colossae. Heresies invaded the Church later, so Epaphras visited Paul in Rome and Paul penned the letter in response.

Dated- Around 60 A.D.

Theme- Christ is supreme over every human philosophy; Paul refutes Colossian heresies and exalts Christ.

Colossian Heresy- Philosophies of men, angel worship, ceremonialism [permissible foods, festivals], ascetism [harsh treatment of body to control lusts]

Key Word- The pre-eminence of Christ

Content- Supremacy of Jesus Christ, False teachers, Rules for holy living.

1st Thessalonians

Author- Apostle Paul

First Thessalonians is considered one of Paul’s earliest epistles, if not the first. Every chapter ends with a reference to the second coming of Christ

Written to the largely Gentile Church in Thessalonica founded by Paul on his second missionary journey. Thessalonica was the capital and largest city of the Roman province of Macedonia.

Dated- Around 51 A.D.

Theme- Holiness in view of the second coming of Christ; Paul praises them for their steadfastness under persecution and for their spiritual maturity.

Key Word- Holiness in view of the second coming of Christ.

Content- Paul defends his apostolic actions and absence, Second coming of Jesus Christ.

The 2 letters to the Thessalonians are often designated as the “Eschatological” letters of Paul.

2nd Thessalonians

Author- Apostle Paul

Written to the Church at Thessalonica, 6 months-1 year after the first letter.

Dated- Around 51-52 A.D.

Theme- Paul corrects a misunderstanding concerning the Lord’s return and exhorts persecuted

Thessalonian believers to be steadfast and to work for a living.

Key Word- Understanding the day of the Lord.

Content- Thanksgiving for the faith, love, election and perseverance, Prophesy regarding the Day of the Lord.

1st Timothy

Author- Apostle Paul

Written to Timothy, Paul’s “true son in the faith”; also for the Church in Ephesus.

Written from Macedonia, following Paul’s first imprisonment in Rome.

Dated- 63-64 A.D.

Theme- Paul instructs Timothy regarding the care of the Church at Ephesus. Major problem in the Ephesian Church- A heresy that combined Gnosticism, Decadent Judaism & False Asceticism

Key Word- Faithful, efficient minister of God.

Content- Warnings agaist false teachers, Church administration, Qualifications for Church officials, Dealing with different members in church. 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy & Titus are collectively called the “Pastoral Letters”.

2nd Timothy

Author- Apostle Paul

Written to Timothy, Paul’s disciple. It was during Paul’s second imprisonment that he wrote this epistle from Rome. Shortly after this letter was put to death by the Roman Emperor Nero.

Dated- Around 66 A.D.

Theme- Facing imminent death, Paul encourages Timothy to faithfully carry on the ministry; he exhorts Timothy to persevere, keep on preaching and to suffer for the sake of the Gospel.

Key Word- Endurance in the Pastoral ministry.

Content- Paul’s condition in prison, Warnings regarding last days, Exhortations to preach and endure. In contrast to his 1st imprisonment, when he lived in a rented house in Rome, now he languished in a cold dungeon, chained like a common criminal. He was lonely; many had deserted him, only Luke was with him; he desired Timothy to join him.


Author- Apostle Paul

Written to Titus, a trusted Gentile [Greek] co-worker of Paul; Paul’s true son in the Christian faith. Following Paul’s release from his 1st Roman imprisonment, he and Titus worked in Crete after which he asked Titus to be there and take care of the Church there till a replacement arrived.

Dated- Around 64 A.D.

Theme- Paul instructs Titus concerning the care of the Church on the island of Crete. In New Testament times, life in Crete had sunk to a deplorable moral level. Dishonesty, gluttony and laziness were prevalent.

Key Words- Be zealous for good works and sound doctrine.

Content- Instructions regarding Church officials, false teachers, various groups in Church.


Author- Apostle Paul

Written to Philemon and the believers in the Church at Colossae.

Dated- Around 60 A.D.

Theme- Paul urges Philemon to show grace to Onesimus, his runaway slave.

Key Word- Forgiveness, Acceptance

Content- One of slave owner Philemon’s slaves, Onesimus, had stolen and run away, which under Roman law was punishable with death. But Onesimus met Paul and through his ministry became a Christian. Now he was willing to return to his master, so Paul writes this personal letter to Philemon asking him to accept Onesimus as a brother in Christ.