The Pauline Episitles are the New Testament letters believed to have been written by the Apostle Paul. They are not the only Epistles in the Bible, as there are general epistles, too. These sit between the Book of Acts and the general epistles.
Who was Paul?Paul was a Jew and, as he states, a Pharisee originally known as Saul of Tarsus. While still Saul, he devoted himself to his studies and became quite zealous about his Jewish religion. His zealousness led him to persecute the young Christian church, leading him to witness the stoning of Stephen. He was driven to destroy the Christian church, and he often traveled with papers of arrest.
It was on his way to Damascus that Saul was converted after seeing the risen Lord, Jesus Christ. His name now Paul, he relied at times on his Roman citizenship to appeal to Caesar. It also are him more than qualified to be the one to bring Jesus' message to the Gentiles. He was the ultimate example of how one of them could be converted and embrace Jesus' message.
What Sets the Epistles Apart
The Pauline epistles are personal letters. They are written to people Paul knew and contain many references to the friendly relationships between the author and the recipient. The letters have a strong emphasis on Jesus. Many of the lessons emphasize Jesus as his lessons relate to each of us. From power and wisdom to comfort and reward, these epistles make Jesus more personal to our daily lives.
Meanwhile, other parts Paul's letters focus on the Gospel message from ministry and philosophy to the future of the church and the antichrist. Finally, the third themes of the Pauline epistles is the union of Christ with His believers from sanctification and consolation to transition and compensation.
A Little Controversy
While there are generally believed to be 13 Pauline epistles, the book of Hebrew is often debated as being written by Paul. Also, there are some that believe some of the letters may include later writings from other authors. It is believed by many authors that Romans, 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Philippians, and Philemon were absolutely Paul's. However the others may only contain a portion of his actual writing.
Order of the Epistles
- 1 Corinthians
- 2 Corinthians
- 1 Thessalonians
- 2 Thessalonians
- 1 Timothy
- 2 Timothy
Lessons from the Pauline Epistles
We can learn a number of things from Paul. He was a leader, who took the Christian church to people many didn't think were deserving. He would not let race, religion, class, or gender prevent anyone from hearing the Gospel. Faith was not for a select few, but for anyone. For Paul, the Christian church wasn't an organization. It wasn't like a company. It was a living, breathing being. Through his writing we know the have a calling, or a destiny in God. We know we can be changed for the better through God. We also learn from his letters what God expects from us and the glory of our future in the Lord. It is from many of Paul's epistles that we get our current church doctrine.
It is through Paul's lessons that we become closer to God. We see that there are times of great pain and immense suffering, but that God gets us through it. There will be times that those around us don't understand our faith, but we must persevere. He shows us how to grow in our relationship with the Lord, and especially as demonstrated in Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians, how deep meditation can lead to revelations that only come from God.