Handout 7 - Introduction to Paul's Letters

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Lecture 7 – Introduction to Paul’s Letters http://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/3176820 A Reminder Remember, we have your assignments due at the end of Week 9 (Fri Sept 30). If you are picking the first option: The focus in the Gospels assignment is that you would imaginatively engage with the story by retelling it from a different perspective. Through your retelling, you need to show you have done some research to inform your imagination. Some people, it’s all imagination and no resea
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  Lecture 7  –  Introduction to Paul ’ s Lettershttp://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/3176820  A Reminder Remember, we have your assignments due at the end of Week 9 (Fri Sept 30). If youare picking the first option:The focus in the Gospels assignment is that you would imaginatively engagewith the story by retelling it from a different perspective. Through yourretelling, you need to show you have done some research to inform yourimagination.Some people, it ’ s all imagination and no research.Others, it is all research and no imaginationAnd for a precious few, it is no research and no imagination.If you are picking the second option  –  today will help explain what I am looking for. Moving into the Letters    The first four books of the New Testament are four separate accounts of Jesus: o   His life, his ministry (deeds and teaching), his death, and hisresurrection. ã Matthew ã Mark ã Luke ã John GospelsStories of the Life of Jesus ã Acts ActsStories of how the newsabout Jesus spreadaround the world ã Paul (Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians,1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon). ã Peter (1 Peter, 2 Peter) ã John (1 John, 2 John, 3 John, Revelation) ã James, Jude, Hebrews Letters (or Epistles)Written by apostles toyoung churches  Lecture 7  –  Introduction to Paul ’ s Lettershttp://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/3176820    This story of Jesus is seen by Christians as good news (the word gospel simplymeans good news). o   They see in the events of Jesus life the hope for forgiveness of our sins,and resurrection to eternal life. o   The news about Jesus needs to heard and believed.    The fifth book of the New Testament (Acts) tells how the news about Jesusfirst went out into the world, and new churches were established. o   A church is simply a gathering of people who believe the story of Jesusand have committed their lives to live under his rule.    The remainder of the New Testament is predominantly letters, written byauthorised Christian leaders to these young churches.    When you read the Gospels, it becomes clear that Jesus specifically selected agroup of special leaders to be the ones who would acts as his authoritativewitnesses and leaders. We call these people “apostles” . o   Some of the apostles focus on writing our Gospels  –  the four accountsof Jesus ’ life. o   Other apostles focus on writing letters to the young churches, guidingthem in what they should believe, and how they should behave asfollowers of Jesus.    Even though these letters were written to specific situations, and specificchurches, it was quickly recognised they had universal value  –  that theteaching contained within was ultimately relevant to everyone. The Gospels tell the Story Acts shows us how the Story spread The Letters shows us how to live the Story.  The main letter writer is an apostle named Paul.    He becomes an apostle in the book of Acts (Acts 9:1-9) when he meets theresurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus.    He is then authorised by Jesus to be the leader who watches over the Gentile(non- Jewish) churches.    Over the years, as recorded by the book of Acts, Paul goes on many differentmissionary journeys to both spread the word and to encourage youngchurches.  Lecture 7  –  Introduction to Paul ’ s Lettershttp://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/3176820 The letters that Paul writes are written at different times in his life, from differentplaces. It’s like reading someone   else’s mail.  God speaks to us through what Paul wrote to them .The letters are often a favourite source of quotes for both Christians and non-Christians.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13)  If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisygong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand allmysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but donot have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over mybody so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in  Lecture 7  –  Introduction to Paul ’ s Lettershttp://www.scribd.com/my_document_collections/3176820 wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopesall things, endures all things.8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues,they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part,and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will cometo an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope,and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love . (1 Cor 13:1-13) What are we trying to do when we are reading Paul’s letters?  1.   Our first task is to discover the srcinal, intended meaning when they werefirst written.a.   The simple principle we work by  –  the text cannot mean what it nevermeant.2.   What are the things we need to know in order to discern the srcinalmeaning of a text? Literary Context  Paul’s writes arguments, not verses. Therefore, you need to THINK PARAGRAPHS.    Verses are not a reading guide, they are a finding guide.You also need to think in terms of the whole book. The question is not just  –  what does THIS PARAGRAPH mean on its own….the question is also –  what does THISPARAGRAPH contribute to the whole letter?The best way to start doing this is just to sit and read the thing  –  multiple times.
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