FACTS ON ROMANS  

Author

The Pauline authorship of Romans is almost universally accepted on the basis of internal evidence
(1:1, 15:25, 16:3) and the testimony of the church fathers.  The actual writing was done by Tertius,
Paul's amanuensis (16:22).

Readers

The letter is addressed to the believers in Rome (1:7).  The church at Rome was predominately
Gentile but with a sizable Jewish minority.  

Date of Writing

The epistle was written by Paul toward the end of this third missionary journey in the winter of A.D.
56/57.  

Historical Setting

After Paul's three year ministry in Ephesus, he departed for Greece where he spent the next three
months (Acts 20:3).  Paul spent a good part of that time in Corinth and wrote Romans from that city
(cf. Romans 16:23, 1 Cor. 1:14).  Phoebe, from Cenchrea (Romans 16:1), the eastern seaport of
Corinth, probably carried Paul's letter to Rome.  

Purpose

Paul wrote the epistle to pave the way for his anticipated visit (1:11-13) and to present the Gospel as
he understood and proclaimed it (1:15,16).  His goal was to show the implications of the gospel and
preserve harmony between Jewish and Gentile Christians.  

Theme

The theme of Romans is "justification by faith" for all who believe in Jesus (1:16,17).  

Outline

I.  The Doctrine of Salvation  1-8
II.  The Unbelief of Israel  9-11
III.  The Conduct of Believers  12-16


FACTS ON FIRST CORINTHIANS

Author

The Pauline authorship of the epistle is clear from 1:1 and 16:21 and is practically uncontested.

Readers

Paul addressed His epistle to believers at Corinth (1:2).  Corinth was a great trade center
strategically situated on the isthmus which links the Peloponnesus with mainland Greece. The city
had two fine ports: Cenchreae on the Aegean Sea to the east, and Lechaeum on the Adriatic Sea to
the west. As a commercial center, Corinth was known for its wealth, indulgence, and immorality. It was
a worship center for Aphrodite, the goddess of love.  

Date of Writing

Paul wrote his epistle to the Corinthians from Ephesus (16:8) towards the end of his ministry there
during his third missionary journey (Spring 53 to May 57). The epistle was probably written around
the spring of A.D. 56.  

Historical Setting

Paul first visited Corinth in A.D. 51 on his second missionary journey after his ministry in Athens (Acts
18:1). There he met Aquila and Priscilla and joined them in the trade of tent making to provide
financial support while he evangelized the city.  Paul was later joined by Silas and Timothy (Acts
18:5) and the team engaged in a very successful ministry for a year and a half (Acts 18:8,11).

The immediate occasion of Paul's writing was that he had received a letter (16:17) from the church
inquiring concerning certain problem issues (7:1,25, 8:1, 12:1, 16:1).  First Corinthians constitutes
Paul's reply.

Purpose

Paul wrote the epistle to correct the disorders within the church and reply to certain questions raised
by the Corinthians.  

Theme        

The life and conduct of believers.

Outline

I.  Reproofs of the Corinthians  1-6
II.  Replies to the Corinthians  7-16


FACTS ON 2ND CORINTHIANS

Author
The Pauline authorship of Second Corinthians is clearly evidenced in the salutation (1:1) and
throughout the epistle.  The authorship and authenticity of the epistle are practically uncontested.

Readers

The letter is addressed to the believers at Corinth and those scattered throughout Achaia, the
Roman province which included all of the Peloponnesus and much of central Greece.  These would
have included the believers at Athens (Acts 17:34) and Cenchrea (Romans 16:1).

Date of Writing

Second Corinthians was written during Paul's third missionary journey (spring A.D. 53 - May A.D.
57).  The epistle must have been written in the fall of A.D. 56, a few months before Paul's anticipated
visit to Corinth (2 Cor. 12:14, 13:1).

Historical Setting

Paul wrote First Corinthians from Ephesus in the spring of A.D. 56.  A riot in the city forced him to
leave Asia for Macedonia (2 Cor. 7:5).  While laboring there he was met by Titus who brought a
favorable report concerning the Corinthian church (2 Cor. 7:6-7,13-15).  With this encouragement
Paul penned his second canonical epistle to the believers at Corinth.  

Purpose

The primary purpose of Second Corinthians was to prepare the believers at Corinth for Paul's third
visit (2 Cor. 12:14, 13:1).  The letter was designed to cement Paul's bond of love with the Corinthians
and to warn those who persisted in doubting his apostleship.  

Theme

"Paul's pastoral ministry under the New Covenant."

Outline        

I.  The Reconciliation with the Corinthians  1-7
II.  Giving from the Heart  8-9.  
III.  Vindicating Paul's Apostleship  10-13


FACTS ON GALATIANS

Author

The Pauline authorship of the book is confirmed both by internal evidence (1:1, 5:2) and testimony of
the early church.  

Readers

Was Galatians written to the churches in the south of the province which Paul and Barnabas
evangelized on their first journey (Acts 13-14)?  Or was the epistle written to a group of churches in
north Galatia which were founded on the second and third journeys (Acts 16:6,19:1)?

The omission of any reference to the decision of the Jerusalem Council in favor of Gentile freedom
from the Mosaic Law (Acts 15) would suggest that Galatians was written before the Council met,
when Paul had visited only the churches of South Galatia.   See the following notes for details on this
view.

Date of Writing

Paul completed his first missionary journey in September of A.D. 49 and probably wrote Galatians
from Antioch in the autumn of that year, just before attending the Jerusalem Council.

Historical Setting

Among the Galatian believers were those who insisted on a Judaistic model for Christianity (1:7,
4:17, 5:10).  They argued full justification could not be experienced apart from the law.

Purpose

Paul's purpose in writing is to refute the teachings of the Judaizers and defend the gospel of
justification by faith apart from Jewish legalism.

Theme        

"Christian freedom from the law" (2:16, 5:1).

Outline

I.  Introduction  1:1-10
II.  The Revelation of the Gospel  1:10-2:21
III.  The Vindication of the Gospel  3-4
IV.  The Application of the Gospel  5:1-6:10
V.  The Conclusion  6:11-18


FACTS ON EPHESIANS

Author

The Pauline authorship of Ephesians is attested both by internal evidence (1:1, 3:1) and writings of
the church fathers.

Readers

The words "at Ephesus" are absent from the oldest Greek manuscripts.  "Ephesians" may have been
addressed to a single church but was later adapted for general reading by deleting the name.  Or it
was written for general publication, and one particular copy was addressed to the church at
Ephesus.  The letter may have been an encyclical, intended to be read by a circle of Christian
communities.

Date

Paul wrote Ephesians during his imprisonment (3:1, 4:1) in Rome (February, A.D. 60 to March, A.D.
62).  This was probably the first of the prison epistles and was written in Rome during the autumn of
A.D. 60.

Historical Setting

Paul first visited Ephesus on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:19).  During his third journey,
Paul spent about three years ministering in Ephesus.  For two of those years Paul taught His
disciples in the school of Tyrannus (Acts 19:8-10, 20:31).

Ephesus ranked with Alexandria and Antioch of Syria as one of the most important cities of the
eastern Mediterranean Roman world.  It was not only an important commercially, but was the worship
center for the Greek goddess Artemis (Diana) whose image was housed in a temple, the Artemsion,
four times the size of the Parthenon.

Purpose

Ephesians sets forth the kind of conduct which is consistent with the believer's position in Christ.

Theme        

"Christian conduct" (4:1)

Outline        

I.  SIT: Position in Christ  1-3
II.  WALK: Walk in the World  4:1-6:9
III.  STAND: Stand against the Devil  6:10-24


FACTS ON PHILIPPIANS

Author

The Pauline authorship of Philippians is attested by internal evidence (1:1) and the testimony of
church fathers.  

Readers

The church at Philippi may have been largely Gentile for there was apparently no synagogue there
when Paul first visited the city (Acts 16:13,20-21).  The city, named after Philip of Macedon, was
strategically located as the gateway to Europe.  It was situated ten miles north of Neapolis, its port
and terminus of the Ignatian Way.  Philippi commanded the fertile plain through which the Egnatian
way passed.

Date

Philippians was written during Paul's imprisonment at Rome (1:7,13,17).  Since he is anticipating his
release (1:19, 2:24), the letter was probably written late in his imprisonment, around early spring of
AD 62.  

Historical Setting

Paul first visited Philippi on his second missionary journey (Acts 16:11-40).  The immediate occasion
of this letter was the return of Epaphroditus to Philippi following his illness in Rome (2:25-30).  Paul
took the opportunity to commend his fellow-worker and to write the Philippian saints about a variety
of matters.

Philippi was a Roman colony (Acts 16:22) and the people there were recognized as Roman citizens
with the same legal position and privileges as those living in Rome itself.  

Purpose

Paul wrote to encourage joy and unity among the believers.  In addition, Paul provided news of his
own circumstances (1:12-26); warned against the influence of the Judaizers (3:2-11); and to
expressed appreciation for the Philippians' gift (4:10-20).        

Theme        

"Rejoicing in the Lord in all circumstances" (4:4).

Outline

I. The Progress of the Gospel  1:1-26
II. The Conduct of the Christians  1:27-2:30
III. The Testimony of Paul  3:1-21
IV. The Admonitions to the Philippians  4:1-9
V. Paul's Appreciation of the Gift  4:10-23


FACTS ON COLOSSIANS & PHILEMON

Author

The Pauline authorship of Colossians and Philemon is clearly indicated by these letters (Col. 1:1,
4:18, Philemon (1,9,19).

Readers

Paul wrote Colossians to believers at Colossae (1:2), but he intended that the Laodiceans also read
the epistle (4:16).  Colossae was located about 10 miles up the Lycus Valley from Laodicea on the
main road to Ephesus, 120 miles to the east.

The letter to Philemon, while being personal in content, is also addressed to the church [at Colossae]
which met at Philemon's house (2).    

Date

The close connection of Philemon with Colossians indicates that they belong to the same period.  It is
probable that Tychicus accompanied by Onesimus carried the letters to Colossae at the same time.  
The letters were probably written in the early spring of AD 62, shortly before Paul's release from
prison.

Historical Setting

The gospel was introduced to Colossae during Paul's long ministry at Ephesus (Acts 19:10,26), but
Paul had apparently not visited the church (1:4, 2:1).  The occasion of writing was the arrival of
Epaphras from Colossae (1:7-9, 4:12) who brought news of theological error circulating in the
church.  The primary problem was a deficient view of Christ and His work.  Paul immediately sent
Tychicus back to Colossae with a letter for the church and a letter for Philemon, the master of
Onesimus, a runaway slave who had been converted under Paul's ministry (4:7-9, Philemon 10).

Purpose

Colossians: to extinguish the Colossian error by presenting the truth of Christ and His work.  
Philemon: to encourage the reconciliation between Onesimus and his master, Philemon.

Theme        

Colossians:  "The preeminence of Christ"

Philemon:    "Reconciliation through a mediator"

Outline

Colossians:        I. The Person of Christ  1:1-23
                         II. The Ministry of Paul  1:24-2:7
                         III. The Problem at Colossae  2:8-3:4
                         IV. The Conduct of the Christian  3:5-4:6
                         V. The Concluding Personal Note  4:7-18

Philemon:           I. Paul's Prayer for Philemon  1-7
                         II. Paul's Petition for Onesimus  8-20
                         III. Paul's Plea for Himself  21-25
       

FACTS ON FIRST THESSALONIANS

Author

The Pauline authorship of the 1 Thessalonians is attested by internal evidence (1:1) and confirmed
by the early church.

Readers

The letter was written to the believers at Thessalonica.  Located on an excellent harbor at the
northeastern corner of the Thermaic Gulf, Thessalonica was an important commercial center.   

Date

Paul visited Thessalonica on his second missionary journey (April 50 - Sept. 52).  The epistle was
written about six months after Paul left Thessalonica, in the early summer of A.D. 51.

Historical Setting

Paul ministered in Thessalonica during his second missionary journey (Acts 17:1-10), but a plot
against his life forced him to flee.  The missionary team journeyed by night to Berea.  Later the Jews
of Thessalonica brought opposition to Berea forcing Paul to depart.  Silas and Timothy stayed to
finish the work in Berea while Paul went on to Athens where the missionary team was reunited
(3:1-2).  Paul wanted to return to Thessalonica, but his plans were thwarted and he had to send
Timothy instead.  

While Paul was ministering in Corinth, Timothy returned with a good report about the church.  
Encouraged by this report, Paul wrote the Thessalonians, commending their progress and
encouraging them to go on in the faith.

Purpose

The letter is designed to commend the Thessalonians for their steadfastness in the face of conflicts
(2:14) and encourage them to go on in the faith (4:1).  The letter also served to correct certain
errors which had been reported by Timothy.

Theme        

"The need for holy living in light of Christ's coming."

Outline        

I.  Relations with the Thessalonians  1-3
II.  Instructions to the Thessalonians  4-5


FACTS ON SECOND THESSALONIANS

Author

Paul claims to have authored the epistle (1:1, 3:17) and the authenticity of the letter was recognized
by the early church.

Readers

The epistle is addressed to the "church of the Thessalonians" (1:1).  In Paul's day, Thessalonica was
a teeming metropolis--the largest city of Macedonia.

Date of Writing

Second Thessalonians was written from Corinth perhaps two or three months after Paul wrote First
Thessalonians.  Second Thessalonians should be dated in the summer of A.D. 51.  

Historical Setting

The immediate occasion of the writing of the second letter was a report which Paul received
concerning the Thessalonian believers, brought to him perhaps by those who had delivered the first
epistle.

Apparently false teachers at Thessalonica who claimed to have Paul's teaching had persuaded the
believers that they were living in "the Day of the Lord" (2:2).  In response to this teaching some had
given up their work and were idly waiting for the Lord's return (3:6-12).  Paul wrote the believers to
deal with their misunderstandings concerning the Day of the Lord.  

Purpose

The letter was intended to commend the believers' growth in faith and love (1:3) and to encourage
their steadfastness under severe persecution (1:4-12).  Paul's primary purpose, however, was to
correct their misconception that the Day of the Lord had arrived.

Theme        

"Corrections concerning the Day of the Lord."  

Outline       

I.  Consolation in Affliction  1
II.  Corrected Chronology for the D.L. 2
III.  Requests for Prayer and Discipline  3


FACTS ON FIRST TIMOTHY

Author

Although the Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles has been contested in recent times, Paul
claims to be the author of each (1:1) and this view was accepted by the early church.  

Reader

The letter is addressed to Timothy, the young man who had joined Paul on the second journey when
revisited Derbe and Lystra (Acts 16:1-3).  Timothy was probably converted under Paul's ministry
during the first journey (1 Tim. 1:2).  Timothy accompanied Paul on his third missionary journey (Acts
19:22, 20:4) and was with Paul in Rome during his imprisonment (Phil. 1:1, 2:19-24).  Timothy was
appointed to guide the church at Ephesus while Paul went on to Macedonia (1 Tim. 1:3).  

Date of Writing

First Timothy was written soon after Paul's release from prison, but after his visit to Ephesus.  Paul
wrote the letter from Macedonia, probably in the autumn of AD 62.  

Historical Setting

Timothy was ministering as Paul's representative at the church at Ephesus.  Paul had traveled to
Macedonia (1:3) and there was the possibility of his return to Ephesus being delayed (3:14-15).  
Paul recognized Timothy's need for some instruction on matters of church polity and practice.  The
letter was intended to help Timothy to exercise leadership in these areas.

Purpose        

Paul wrote to inform Timothy on matters of church polity and practice, and to back up his leadership
with Paul's apostolic authority.

Theme

"The polity and practice of the NT church.

Outline        

I.  Doctrine of the Church  1
II.  Worship in the Church  2
III.  Leaders in the Church  3         
IV.  Teaching in the Church  5
V.  Members of the Church  5:1-6:2
IV.  Charge to Timothy  6:3-21


FACTS ON SECOND TIMOTHY

Author

The apostle Paul claims to have authored Second Timothy (1:1) and the autobiographical remarks
(3:10-11, 4:10-11,19-20) fit his life.

Reader

The letter is addressed to Timothy, Paul's young associate.  Timothy was from Lystra (Acts 16:1-3).  
His father was a Greek and his mother (Eunice) and grandmother (Lois) were devout in their Jewish
faith.  Timothy joined with Paul on his second and third missionary journeys and was with Paul in
Rome during his imprisonment.  Timothy ministered as Paul's representative in Ephesus (1 Tim. 1:3)
and may have been with the apostle during the last days of his final imprisonment (2 Tim. 4:1,21).

Date

Second Timothy was written by Paul shortly before his death (4:6-8).  Since Paul died in the spring of
AD 68, the epistle was probably written in the autumn of AD 67.

Historical Setting

During Paul's first imprisonment in Rome he was able to have his own rented quarters and receive
visitors.  His second imprisonment was quite different.  Paul was in prison, having been arrested as a
criminal (2:9).  His death was imminent (4:6-8).  Some of his fellow-workers had deserted him (4:16).  
Paul wrote Timothy, who was still in Ephesus, to bring Mark and join him before winter (A.D. 67/68).  
Paul was sending Tychicus to replace Timothy at Ephesus (4:12).  

Purpose

Second Timothy was written to encourage Timothy in the ministry and outline the course of Christ's
servant during a time of doctrinal declension.  

Theme

"Defending the faith in a time of doctrinal defection."  

Outline

I.  Encouragement for Ministry  1
II.  Directives for Service  2
III.  Warning Concerning Apostasy  3
IV.  Charge of the Apostle  4


FACTS ON PHILEMON

See notes on Colossians (above).
Paul's Epistles
Romans - Philemon