Book of Romans




Scholars believe that the letter to Roman Christians was written by the apostle Paul in 57 C.E. and was for both Jewish and Gentile believers. Most Bible scholars agree that Paul did not have anything to do with the founding of the congregation in Rome, but he felt a need to share with them the complete gospel as he had been preaching it. Paul wanted to spread the good news further to the west, into Spain, and they could be a big help to him. If he were unable to continue his work then members of this congregation would be able to continue it. This letter is more of a religious treatise rather than ordinary correspondence.




First Letter to the Corinthians




Paul wrote his first letter from Ephesus in the spring of 55 CE. He was the first to bring the good news to this Grecian city and it was through his work that the congregation was established here. (Acts 18:1-11) The city of Corinth was the capital of the Roman province of Achaia and was a most important seaport. It was a prosperous and cosmopolitan city and was known for immorality, idolatry and loose living of all kinds. There were both Jews and Gentiles in the congregation. He was writing to these Christians because of doctrinal and ethical problems that they were faced with.







Second Letter to the Corinthians




This letter was written in fall of 56, possibly a year and a half after the first letter was written. Several reasons are given for the writing of this letter: 

           1) He wanted to express his great relief and delight that they responded to his "severe letter;"

           2) He wanted to exhort them to complete their promised collection for the saints at Jerusalem before he visited them,

           3) He wanted them to learn the proper criteria for distinguishing between "false apostles" and the authentic ones so that he would be spared the pain of having to discipline them.





Letter to the Galatians




The Apostle Paul wrote this letter but the date that it was written is uncertain. The name, Galatia, can refer to either an ethnic group of people or the land area that belonged to them. Their land was conquered by the Romans and incorporated into a much larger providence where other ethnic peoples lived. Paul visited the southern portion of this Roman providence during his first missionary tour when Barnabas accompanied him but there is no record of his having visited the northern part of this providence.


There was much debate at this time as to whether Gentiles who became Christians needed to keep the Mosaic Law and to become circumcised and there were many Jewish Christians who were visiting these congregations urging these Christians to do so. Paul did not agree with this and so he wrote to these Christians to convince them that Jesus' death would have no value and they would become just another sect of Judaism if they succumbed to the teachings of these legalistic Jewish teachers.





Letter to the Ephesians




The Apostle Paul wrote this letter while he was in prison in Rome. It was written not only for the congregations in Ephesus but was to be circulated to all the congregations in Asia. In this letter he did not address any particular heretical issue but is writing to help them to better understand the depth of God's eternal purpose and undeserved kindness so that their appreciation for the high goals set for them would grow.





Letter to the Philippians




Paul wrote this letter during his first imprisonment at Rome during the years of 59-61 AD. The congregation at Philippi had sent him a gift by Epaphroditus who was to take care of any personal needs that Paul had. While in Rome, Epaphroditus became gravely ill and the Philippians heard about it. This greatly distressed him and after his recovery, Paul sent him back home and requested that the brothers receive him with joy and that it was on account of the Lord's work that he had nearly died. This letter is one of the more personal ones that Paul wrote as he did not include any rebuke to the congregation because of any problems they may have had.





Letter to the Colossians



The general consensus is that Paul wrote the letter to the Colossian congregation while he was imprisoned in Rome in 62 AD. It may have been written in the same general time frame, as were the letters to the Ephesians, Philippians and Philemon. This letter was written to refute false teachings that were being propagated in the congregation.





First Letter to the Thessalonians




This letter is the earliest of the letters that Paul wrote. It was probably composed around 50 CE. Acts 17:1-10 gives the account of his arrival in Thessalonica and the results of his preaching there. The Jews who lived there instigated riots against the Christians to cause the city officials to outlaw them. Because of this trouble, the brothers urged Paul and his companions to leave the city. Later Timothy brought Paul a report concerning these Christians and he wrote this letter to:

     1) encourage them to stand firm in the face of the persecution,

     2) to defend his position as a divinely appointed messenger, and

     3) to clear up doctrinal matters that they were confused about.




Second Letter to the Thessalonians




The exact date of this letter is not known but many scholars believe that it was written less than a year after his first letter to them. Paul had to write them a second time for several reasons. They were still being plagued by persecution causing much despair among them. Some among them had convinced them that because of the intense persecution, Christ’s presence was imminent. Many who accepted this belief had left their secular employment and this was causing those on the outside to speak disparagingly about the Christians.





First Letter to Timothy




There is some uncertainty as to when this letter was written many scholars favoring the time after Paul's first imprisonment between 62 and 66 CE. In this letter to Timothy, who Paul had sent to Ephesus, he encourages him to make sure that the congregation maintained the sound doctrine and discipline that they had been originally taught. He deals with various problems that the congregation was experiencing and he gives Timothy advice on how handle them.





Second Letter to Timothy




Paul wrote this letter from Rome during his second imprisonment around 66 or 67 CE where he was waiting to be sentenced to death. (See 2 Timothy 4:16) He was writing to Timothy to encourage him to remain faithful to the teachings that he knows to be true and to be courageous in the face of difficult times ahead. This is the last known letter that Paul wrote.





Letter to Titus




This letter to Titus was probably written at the same time as the first letter to Timothy was, around 63 CE, after his release from his first imprisonment. Titus was a Gentile and had been converted by Paul (Titus 1:4) and had been a traveling companion of Paul on his missionary tours. They both had gone to Crete together but Paul could not remain there long so he left Titus to finish organizing these congregations. He wrote this letter to encourage Titus and to give him instructions on how to strengthen the congregations in Crete. He also knew that the brothers, especially those who were Jews, would not accept him because he was not circumcised. (Titus 1:10) He wanted them to know that Titus was there as his representative and this letter would be proof to them that Paul had given him the authority to work among them.




Letter to Philemon




Philemon was a wealthy slave owner who lived in Asia Minor, possibly Colosse, where he was a leading member of the congregation. His slave, Onesimus, had run away from him and had become a Christian and had became known to Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome the first time. The letter was written to bring about reconciliation between the two and Paul hoped that there would be no reprisals for Onesimus as they both were now Christians. Paul sent this letter to Philemon by Onesimus when he sent him back. The suggested date for this letter is around 62 CE.






Book of Hebrews




It is generally accepted that Paul did write this Bible book although many scholars do not think so. Most however, agree that it was written to Jewish Christians and not to Gentile Christians. This Bible book draws heavily on the Hebrew Scriptures, especially the first five books and the Psalms, of which twenty-three of the twenty-nine direct quotes are taken. The author uses the Septuagint exclusively in his quotations. The main thrust of this Bible book was to show the Jews that the promises and prophesies of the Law were fulfilled in Jesus Christ and that through his high priesthood Jehovah would bring better things. They must persevere in the faith that is through Jesus and not return to the elementary things.





Letter to James




James, the writer of this letter, is identified as the brother of Jesus. This letter was most likely written between 45 and 50 CE and was written to Jewish Christians who he referred to as the "twelve tribes that are scattered among the nations." This "scattering" of these Christians may have occurred after the martyrdom of Stephen. If this letter was written during the time period given above, then it was the first book in the Greek Scriptures to be written.





First Letter of Peter




Peter wrote his first letter from Babylon sometime between 62 and 64 CE before the Roman emperor, Nero, began persecuting the Christians. This letter was addressed to Christians living in northern Asia Minor that were experiencing trials. This letter was written to encourage them to keep in mind the promises they had been given and to remain faithful even under the severe trials they were facing.





Second Letter to Peter




Peter wrote this letter to the same group of Christians that he wrote his first letter to. (See 3:1) Scholars are uncertain of the date of its writing but they agree that it was most probably just before his death around 64 CE. He was aware that his death was imminent and he wanted to remind them of things they were already aware of so that they would not forget them after he was dead.




First Letter of John




This letter was written sometime before or near 70 CE but the exact date is uncertain. John was an elderly man when he wrote his letters and they were directed to the congregations near Ephesus. John wrote to strengthen the brothers due to the many false teachers that were teaching that Jesus had not come in the flesh. John referred to these ones as antichrists.





Second Letter of John




This letter was written sometime before or near 70 CE but the exact date is uncertain. John was an elderly man when he wrote his letters and they were directed to the congregations near Ephesus. John wrote to strengthen the brothers due to the many false teachers that were teaching that Jesus had not come in the flesh. John referred to these ones as antichrists.





Third Letter of John




This letter was written sometime before or near 70 CE but the exact date is uncertain. John was an elderly man when he wrote his letters and they were directed to the congregations near Ephesus. John wrote to strengthen the brothers due to the many false teachers that were teaching that Jesus had not come in the flesh. John referred to these ones as antichrists.





Letter of Jude




Jude identifies himself as a slave of Jesus and a brother of James. Scholars believe that this James referred to here was the half-brother of Jesus making Jude also a half-brother of Jesus. Scholars also believe that Jude may have written this letter before Peter wrote his second letter and that Peter may have used some of the material in his letter that came from Jude's writings. They therefore date this letter as being written between 60 and 65 CE before Peter's death. In his letter, Jude is primarily focused on identifying false teachers so that they would not lead the brothers astray.