Notes for NTG716
Acts & Pauline Epistles
Robert C. Newman
CONTENTS & OUTLINE FOR
NTG716 ACTS & PAULINE EPISTLES
I. Mediterranean Geography 6
A. Physical Features 6
1. Bodies of Water (6)
2. Principal Islands (6)
B. Political Features 7
1. Provinces of Roman Empire (7)
2. Cities (8)
3. Roman Road System (8)
II. The Chronology of the New Testament 9
A. Origin of the Christian Era 9
1. Problems of Ancient Chronology (9)
2. Various Ancient Eras (9)
3. The Christian Era (9)
B. Gospel Chronology 10
1. The Roman Emperors (10)
2. Beginning of Jesus' Ministry (10)
3. Length of Jesus' Ministry (11)
4. Birth of Jesus (11)
C. Apostolic Chronology 11
1. Relative Chronology of Acts & Galatians (11)
2. Some Connections with Secular History (13)
3. Suggested Absolute Chronology (13)
III. Introduction to Acts 15
A. Title of Acts 15
B. Text of Acts 15
C. Authorship of Acts 17
1. External Evidence (17)
2. Internal Evidence (19)
D. Destination of Acts 21
E. Date of Acts 22
1. Various Suggestions (22)
2. Positive Evidence (24)
F. Historical Accuracy of Acts 25
1. History of Opinion (25)
2. Testable Data (27)
G. Purpose of Acts 30
H. Sketch Outline of Acts 31
IV. Exegesis of Historical Passages 32
A. Preparation for Exegesis 32
B. Genres in Acts & Epistles 32
C. Historical Passages & the Genre "Narrative" 33
V. Paul's Early Epistles and Eschatology 35
A. The Early Epistles: 1-2 Thess and Gal 35
1. Letters of the Hellenistic Period (35)
2. Thessalonian Epistles (39)
3. Galatians (43)
B. Pauline Eschatology 50
1. Downpayment (50)
2. Nearness of the End (50)
3. Death & Intermediate State (50)
4. Israel (51)
5. Man of Lawlessness (51)
6. Rapture (51)
7. Parousia (52)
8. Resurrection (52)
9. Millennium (52)
10. Judgment (52)
11. Eternal State (52)
VI. Exegesis of Theological Passages 53
A. What is a "Theological Passage"? 53
B. Recognizing a Theological Passage 53
C. Exegeting a Theological Passage 53
VII. Mid-Term Test 55
A. How to Study 55
B. What to Study 55
VIII. Gentile Background to the New Testament 57
A. Hellenism 57
1. The Greek Language (57)
2. Greek Religion (57)
3. Greek Philosophy (58)
4. The Greek City (58)
5. Greek Art, Rhetoric, Literature (59)
6. Greek Athletics (59)
B. The Roman Empire 60
1. The Emperor (60)
2. The Empire (60)
3. The Army (60)
4. Taxes (61)
5. The People (61)
6. Transportation (62)
7. Roman Coinage (62)
IX. Paul's Middle Epistles and Soteriology 64
A. 1 & 2 Corinthians 64
1. The City of Corinth (1)
2. The Church in Corinth (2)
3. Background to 1 Corinthians (2)
4. Occasion of 1 Cornithians (2)
5. Sketch Outline of 1 Corinthians (3)
6. Background of 2 Corinthians (4)
7. Sketch Outline of 2 Corinthians (5)
8. Integrity of 2 Corinthians (6)
B. Romans 70
1. Order in the New Testament (70)
2. The City of Rome (71)
3. The Church in Rome (71)
4. Date and Place of Writing (73)
5. Occasion of Romans (73)
6. Sketch Outline of Romans (74)
7. The Integrity of Romans (74)
C. Pauline Soteriology 76
1. Summary (76)
a. Man's State
b. Man's Salvation
2. Pictures of Salvation (77)
3. Some Additional Words re/ Salvation (79)
a. Donation (Grace)
b. Selection (Election)
f. Lord's Supper
X. Exegesis of Controversy Passages 81
A. What is a Controversy Passage? 81
B. Identifying a Controversy Passage 81
C. Exegeting a Controversy Passage 81
XI. Paul's Prison Epistles and Christology 83
A. Prison Epistles 83
1. Introduction (83)
2. Ephesians (87)
3. Colossians (91)
4. Philemon (93)
5. Philippians (95)
B. Pauline Christology 97
XII. Exegesis of Exhortation Passages 99
A. What is an Exhortation Passage 99
B. Recognizing an Exhortation Passage 99
C. Exegeting an Exhortation Passage 99
D. Word Studies 100
XIII. The Pastoral Epistles & Last Days of Paul 102
A. The Pastoral Epistles 102
1. Recipients (102)
2. Authenticity (104)
3. Paul's Activities after Close of Acts (110)
4. Dates for Pastoral Epistles (111)
5. Outlines (112)
B. The Death of Paul and the Other Apostles 112
1. Scriptural Information (112)
2. Extra-Scriptural Information (114)
I. Mediterranean Geography
A. Physical Features
1. Bodies of Water
a. Mediterranean Sea
called "Great Sea" in OT, not named in NT, called "Mare Internum" by Romans
b. Black Sea
N of Asia Minor
c. Aegean Sea
between Greece and Asia Minor
d. Adriatic Sea
today restricted to area betw Italy and Greece; in NT times, sometimes viewed extending to Central Med (Acts 27:27)
e. Ionian Sea
sometimes lower part of Adriatic is so named
f. Tyrrhenian Sea
triangular sea betw Italian boot, Sicilian football, Corsica and Sardinia
2. Principal Islands
NE corner of Med; Metal copper named for island; evangelized by Paul & Barnabas on 1st mj, Acts 13
S of Aegean Sea, below Greece and Asia Minor; home of ancient Minoan civilization before 1400 BC; Titus put in charge of Xn work here by Paul (Tit 1:5)
football being kicked by Italian boot
S of Sicily; very small, but famous for Paul's shipwreck, Acts 27
about 50 mi SW of Ephesus; even smaller, hundreds of islands in Med this big; site of John's banishment when he wrote Revelation
B. Political Features (1st cen AD)
1. Provinces of Roman Empire
Palestine included for miltary purposes
b. Egypt (Aegyptus)
almost a private preserve of Emperor, to guarantee supply of grain for Rome and its dole
Paul's native province
central Asia Minor
Paul's 1st mj in S part of province
not continent, but western Asia Minor
N of Greece
Paul visited on 2nd mj
h. Other Provinces
Brittania, Gallia, Hispania, Mauretania, Africa,
Cyrenaica, Italia, Illyricum, Moesia, Bithynia,
2. Cities of Roman Empire
NOTE: 1,2,3 are largest cities; A,B,C mark famous schools
a. Jerusalem k. Miletus
b. Caesarea l. Ephesus
c. Tyre m. Troas
d. Damascus n. Philippi
e. Antioch (Syria)(3) o. Thessalonica
f. Tarsus (C) p. Athens (A)
g. Pisidian Antioch q. Corinth
h. Iconium r. Rome (1)
i. Lystra s. Alexandria (2,B)
3. Roman Road System (see Yamauchi, NT World, 117)
eventually a 1/4 million mi system of paved roads!
a. Via Appia
from Rome E to heel of boot
b. Via Egnatia
across Macedonia, sort of extension of Via Appia
c. Old Route across
central Asia Minor; used by Paul from Antioch to Ephesus
d. Palestinian Roads
many upgraded to Roman quality in 2nd cen AD
II. The Chronology of the New Testament
A. Origin of the Christian Era
1. Problems of Ancient Chronology
Destruction of records
Use of differing calendars
Use of regnal years of various rulers
2. Various Ancient Eras
several attempts to solve problem of regnal years by using systems spanning centuries
a. Olympic Era (Ol)
by olympiads (units of 4 years), then numbering years w/in olympiad
started approx July 1, 776 BC
used by many Greek & Hellenistic historians
b. Roman Era (AUC)
from year of founding of Rome (ab urbe condita)
some disagreement on starting year until 1st cen BC
finally settled on starting January 1, 753 BC
used by most Roman historians
c. Seleucid Era (AS - anno Seleucidae)
from year of founding of Seleucid dynasty
started Oct 7, 312 BC (Macedonian calendar)
or Apr 3, 311 BC (Babylonian calendar)
most widely used ancient era: used in 1 & 2 Macc,
d. Jewish Eras
(1) Destruction of 2nd Temple
occurred Aug 5, AD 70
used in Palestine & some medieval Heb works
(2) Era of World (AM ‑ anno mundi)
measured from creation of world
using Masoretic Text, no gaps, some guesswork
starts Sept 21, 3761 BC
e. Era of Diocletian
from accession of Diocletian as Roman emperor; starts Aug 29, AD 284
3. The Christian Era (AD ‑ anno Domini)
a. Dionysius the Little
monastic scholar who devised AD system
using information avail at his time (525 AD)
identified AD 1 with AUC 754
Xn era uses Roman calendar, year beginning Jan 1
b. Resulting Synchronisms
AD 1 = AUC 754 = Ol 194,4/195,1 = c312 AS
B. Gospel Chronology
1. The Roman Emperors
In practice, most inscriptions, coins, etc dated by rule of emperors, etc., rather than by AUC
era; w/ thousands of such items, most Roman events can be dated closely
EMPEROR DATE BIBLICAL OR OTHER EVENT
Augustus 30 BC ‑ AD 14 birth of Christ
Tiberius AD 14‑37 death & resurrection of X
Gaius 37‑41 statue to temple
Claudius 41‑54 famine in East, Ac 11:28
expels Jews, Ac 18:2
Nero 54‑68 persecutes Xy; death of Peter & Paul
Galba, Otho, 69: year of the 4
Vitellius 68‑69 emperors
Vespasian 69‑79 destruction of Jerusalem
Domitian 81‑96 2nd major persecution
Trajan 98‑117 death of John
Hadrian 117‑138 Bar-Kochba revolt
2. Beginning of Jesus' Ministry: AD 26/27 or 28/29
a. In reign of Tiberius (14‑37) and Pilate (26‑36)
b. John B's ministry dated by Luke 3:1 as beginnning in 5th yr of Tiberius:
AD 28/29 if from beginning of sole reign
AD 26/27 if from beginning of coregency
c. Jesus cast out moneychangers early in ministry, when temple had been 46 yr in rebuilding:
Josephus, Ant 15.11.1 gives starting date as 19/18 BC, so 46 yrs later = 26/27
or if measured from completion of naos = 28/29
two choices; most presently favor earlier of two as better fitting accepted date for Jesus' birth
3. Length of Jesus' Ministry
for us who accept biblical data, choices are 2+ and 3+ years, depending on interpretation of
John 4:35 and John 5:1
results range from AD 29 to 33 for crucifixion & resurrection; commonest view is AD 30
4. Birth of Jesus: about 5 BC (or possibly 2 BC)
a. Reign of Augustus (Luke 2:1), so betw 30 BC and AD 14
b. Herod still alive, so no later than 4 BC by standard view; eclipse of moon mentioned by
Josephus (Ant 17.6.4) calc for 12 Mar 4 BC; but Ernest L.Martin argues for a later eclipse
in 1 BC
c. Census of Quirinius (Lk 2:2): a point of much debate, as only recorded census in AD 6;
prob Lk refers to an earlier ("first") census
d. Jesus about 30 years old at beginning of ministry (Lk 3:23): works nicely for birth shortly
before Herod's death: e.g., if born Dec, 5 BC, would have been 30 on Dec, AD 26; need to
rework chron of Herod or take 30 yrs rather loosely to get later dates for Jesus' public
C. Apostolic Chronology
1. Relative Chronology of Acts and Galatians
a. Chronological References in Acts
1:3 Jesus appeared to disciples for 40 days
betw resurrection & ascension
11:26 Paul & Barnabas in Antioch for 1 year
before famine visit to Jerusalem
18:2 Prisc & Aquila recently from Rome because
Claudius forced Jews to leave
18:11 Paul taught in Corinth 1‑1/2 years
[2nd miss journey at least 2 years]
19:8 Paul preached in Ephesus synagogue 3 mo
19:10 Paul taught in sch of Tyrannus 2 years
20:31 Paul's summary to Ephesian elders: 3 yr
20:3 Paul in Achaia 3 months
[3rd miss journey at least 3 or 4 years]
24:27 Paul in prison Caesarea 2 years
28:11 Paul's group shipwrecked on Malta 3 mo
28:30 Paul under house arrest in Rome 2 years
[dates dense near end of Acts, rare at beginning]
b. Chronological References in Galatians
1:18 Paul's 1st visit to Jerusalem after
conversion was 3 yr after
2:1 Paul made another visit 14 yr later
[ambiguity: 14 yr from when? what visit is this?]
c. Attempting a Relative Chronology from Close of Acts
EVENT RELATIVE YEAR
Close of Acts 0
Paul reaches Rome ‑2
Paul leaves Caesarea ‑3
Paul arrested in Temple ‑5
3rd m.j. ends ‑6
2nd m.j. ends ‑10?
Jerusalem council ‑13?
d. Attempting a Rel. Chron. from Conversion of Paul
EVENT RELATIVE YEAR
Paul's conversion 0
1st Jerusalem visit +3
Jerusalem council +14 or 17
2. Some Connections with Secular History
a. Death of Herod Agrippa I: AD 44
narrated in Acts 12:23 and Josephus, Ant 19.18.1
b. Edict of Claudius: 49
mentioned in Acts 18:2 and Suetonius, Claudius 25
but no date given until Orosius (c415)
c. Gallio, Proconsul of Achaia: 51‑53
Acts 18:12 and Delphi inscription
d. Accession of Festus: 57‑60
Acts 24:27; ref to by Josephus several times, but
date of accesssion not given
of possible range given above, 59‑60 seems more
likely in view of Paul's remark to predecessor
Felix in Acts 24:10
e. Roman Fire: night of July 18/19, AD 64
Nero later blames Xns, persecution begins
f. Fall of Jerusalem: late Aug, 70
g. Domitian persecution: AD 95‑96
probably occasion of John's exile to Patmos
3. Suggested Absolute Chronology of NT Events
YEAR BC/AD EVENT
5 BC Birth of Jesus
26/27 AD Beginning of Jesus' Ministry
30 Resurrection of Jesus
32‑37 Conversion of Paul
44 Death of James, son of Zebedee
48‑50 1st Missionary Journey
50 Jerusalem Council
51‑53 2nd Missionary Journey
54‑58 3rd Missionary Journey
58‑60 Paul imprisoned, Caesarea
61‑63 Paul imprisoned, Rome
63ff Paul's later travels
64 Roman fire; Xy becomes a crime
64‑68 Deaths of Peter & Paul
70 Fall of Jerusalem to Romans
95‑96 John on Patmos
after 98 Death of John; end of apostolic age
III. Introduction to Acts
A. Title of Acts
‑Titles vary between manuscripts, as in Gospels also.
‑The shortest title occurs in Sinaiticus (!): ΠΡΑΞΕIΣ
which means "activities" or "book of activities".
‑This is probably too short to be original; typically
need another name in genitive to show whose acts narrated
‑A slightly longer form occurs in the subscription to !
and also in the title of B, D, Ψ, and a few others:
(like ancient titles for activities of indiv, city)
‑Some longer forms, adding ΤΩΝ and/or ΑΓIΩΝ, seem later.
‑The longest is "The Acts of the Holy Apostles (by) Luke
‑Thus the title may not be original, but can hardly be
later than 150 AD due to the divergence of text families.
B. Text of Acts
‑Manuscripts available about the same as for the Gospels,
though some (e.g., p29, E) contain Acts only (see Metzger,
Textual Commentary on the Greek NT).
‑The main peculiarity is the difference between
the Alexandrian and Western texts:
-The Alexandrian text (p45 p74 ! A B C Ψ 33 etc.) is shorter,
less colorful, sometimes more obscure;
‑The Western text (p29 p38 p48 D syrh* ith Cyprian Augustine)
is almost 1/10 longer, more picturesque, circumstantial:
[N] = Nestle only lists variant; [U] = UBS also lists:
[N] 11:28 ‑ "WHEN WE WERE GATHERED TOGETHER, one of them said"
‑This extra we‑section occurs with Agabus the prophet in
Antioch and may imply that Luke was from Antioch.
‑The Alex. and Byz. texts use "they" (3rd person) here.
[N] 12:10 ‑ "they went out AND DOWN SEVEN STEPS and ..."
‑As Peter is fleeing from the jail. Alex. omits.
‑Western family adds a detail.
[N] 14:2 ‑ "the brethren, BUT THE LORD QUICKLY GAVE PEACE"
‑Alex. text does not explain how the stirred‑up crowd
was calmed so that v.3 would make sense: "therefore
they spent a long time ..."
‑Western addition smooths and adds detail.
[U] 15:20 ‑ substitutes golden rule for "things strangled"
‑This one affects the outcome of the Jerusalem council.
‑Alex. text has "strangled, blood" which looks more like
the ceremonial law.
‑West. text has golden rule, blood (murder) which looks
more like the moral law.
[U] 19:9 ‑ "from the 5th to the 10th hour" (11 AM to 4 PM)
‑Paul's teaching at the nearby school is specified to be
during the time of day when the regular classes would
not be in session.
‑The Greeks normally took a "siesta" during the hot part
of the day.
‑Note the addition of historical details, smoothing, adding
Luke's presence, and the golden rule substitute.
Theories offered to explain these variations:
(1) Two editions by original author, Alex. later
Jean Leclerc, J.B. Lightfoot, developed by F. Blass
West - original, rough; Alex - refined
(2) Two eds. by original author, West. later
Luke gave public readings, adding West material to explain, etc.
(3) Western text interpolates
Westcott & Hort, W.H.P. Hatch, F.G. Kenyon, M. Dibelius
Haphazard growth of text during 1st & 2nd centuries
(4) Alex. original, West. text a later revision (not by author)
J.H. Ropes, R.P.C. Hanson
(5) West. original, Alex. a revision
Albert C. Clark
Metzger, w/ Hnchen, think West. text secondary, but both (3) and (4) above involved, plus peculiarities of D alone
UBS, Nestle committees not agreed on which theory correct, so eclectic; generally favor Alex., but feel some West. readings are factually accurate.
C. Authorship of Acts
1. External Evidence: unanimous for Luke
a. Muratorian Canon ‑ Italy ‑ 170‑190 AD
"The Acts however of all the Apostles are written in one book. Luke puts it shortly to the most excellent Theophilus, that the several things were done in his own presence, as he also plainly shows by leaving out the passion of Peter, and also the departure of Paul from town on his journey to Spain."
‑"All the Apostles" appears strange as most are not followed
in Acts. This term probably was used to distinguish Acts
from the many heretical Acts of individual Apostles
(Peter, Paul, etc.).
‑The further comments look like a guess for why the book
ends where it does: Luke wrote only what he saw.
‑But Luke does not claim that all things recorded were done
in his presence, only the "we" passages.
‑Better to say Luke did not include the other events as
they had not occurred yet.
b. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon ‑ France ‑ c180 AD
"Now, that this Luke was inseparable from Paul and his fellow‑worker in the Gospel, he himself made clear, not vaunting, but guided by truth itself. For when both Barnabas and John, who was called Mark, had departed from Paul and had sailed to Cyprus, he says: 'We arrived at Troas.' And when Paul had seen a Macedonian man in a dream saying: 'Come over into Macedonia and help us, Paul,' he says: 'Immediately we sought to proceed into Macedonia, knowing that the Lord had called us to proclaim the Gospel to them.'"
Against Heresies 3.14.1
‑Irenaeus student of Polycarp, student of John in Asia Minor.
‑"Not vaunting" means not advertising his own name (does not
say "I, Luke" anywhere).
‑Refers to 2 of the we‑sections.
‑In Against Heresies he cites or mentions Acts over 50 times,
referring to it as Scripture and as by Luke.
c. Clement of Alexandria ‑ Egypt ‑ 150‑203 AD
"... even as Luke, in the Acts of the Apostles, makes mention of Paul, who said: 'O men of Athens, in all things I perceive that you are very religious.'"
‑Cites Luke as author, names the work, quotes from Acts 17.
‑In these 3 sources from before 200 AD, we find Luke called
the author 3 times, the book's title given 2 times, and 3
quotations or allusions made which identify the text with
that which we have today.
d. Tertullian ‑ North Africa ‑ (c200 AD)
‑Many quotations as Scripture, says by Luke.
e. Eusebius ‑ Caesarea ‑ (c 270‑340 AD)
"But since we have reached this point, it is reasonable to sum up the said writings of the New Testament. Indeed, the holy quaternion of the Gospels must be arranged among the first books which the book of the Acts of the Apostles follows... Among the spurious must be placed also the book of the Acts of Paul... All these would be among the disputed writings; but nevertheless of necessity we have made a catalogue of these also... in order that we should be able to know these same writings and those produced by the heretics indeed in the name of the Apostles, as if containing the Gospels of Peter and Thomas and Matthias, or beside these, even of some others, or as if containing the Acts of Andrew and John and of the other Apostles; none of which anyone of successive generations of churchmen ever deemed worthy of mention in a treatise."
Church History 3.25
‑Eusebius had access to the largest Christian library in the
world. Was started by Origen, had the Hexapla, etc.
‑Notes there are no writings of early church fathers who
mention as legitimate any Gospels or Acts beyond the canonical
4 Gospels and Acts.
‑The unanimous testimony of the church at c200 AD is that the
Acts we have today was written by Luke, Paul's companion.
There is no external evidence pointing to anyone else.
2. Internal Evidence: also points to Luke
‑Writer does not give his name, but the internal clues
are stronger than for any other NT book which does not
explicitly name its author.
a. The "we" sections
16:10‑17 Writer present with Paul on the journey from
Troas to Philippi (2nd miss. journey, c51 AD).
20:5‑15 Returning with Paul from Greece (end of the 3rd
missionary journey, c57‑58 AD).
[break for Paul's sermon to Ephesian elders].
21:1‑18 Continuing on to Jerusalem. Total trip is from
Philippi to Jerusalem (3rd MJ).
27:1‑28:16 Trip from Caesarea to Rome. (c60 AD).
‑Luke may have spent the time in Palestine researching
and writing the Gospel of Luke and early Acts.
‑These sections give the impression that the writer was
present on these 3 trips, but did not want to intrude
himself strongly into the narrative.
‑Liberals who want to avoid Luke as the author say some
later editor used a diary.
‑But even if it is the diary of an eyewitness, it records
miracles and early agreements among the Apostles about
theology, which liberals don't like.
b. As the writer was with Paul in Rome, we can look at the
prison epistles we assume were written from there and
see who was with Paul.
Aristarchus ‑All 4 are mentioned by name in Acts,
Mark but in the 3rd person, whereas author
Timothy refers to self in 1st person in
Tychichus prologue to Acts
Demas ‑Later deserted Paul so hard for him to
Epaphras ‑Delegates sent from Colosse and
Epaphroditus Philippi to Rome. No evidence they
traveled there initially with Paul.
Jesus Justus ‑Has a mixed Jewish and Latin name,
implying he knew Latin and was probably
a Roman, but otherwise we know nothing
of him. A possibility.
Luke ‑Is called a physician in Col. 4:14.
‑Can more or less eliminate all these but the last two.
c. Linguistic argument
‑see William Kirk Hobart, Medical Language of St. Luke.
‑Finds that Luke‑Acts contains an unusual amount of medical
terminology characteristic of the Hippocratic school of
medicine known from writings of Hippocrates (300 BC) and Galen
‑The healing incidents show the use of more technical terms
than the other Gospels.
‑Also see the natural use of medical terms in narratives
which reflect a medical influence (just as scientific terms
["data base," "model," etc.] tend to occur naturally in
these notes since they were produced by physicists).
Conclusion: Acts was written by a companion of Paul who
had a detailed knowledge of NT-period medical terminology.
As only one companion of Paul is called a physician, the
author was most likely Luke.
D. The Destination (or recipient) of Acts
‑"Theophilus" is cited as the recipient in Acts 1:1.
‑Tho Luke probably wrote for a larger audience, he dedicated it
to this person who might underwrite/encourage its publication
(common in secular literature; Josephus' Antiquities was
dedicated to Epaphroditus).
‑Since Theophilus means "one who loves God," some take this
as an allegorical name, like "Everyman" or "Christian"
‑This may seem plausible to us, as few names in our culture make
sense in English.
‑But in Greek and Hebrew cultures, theophoric (deity‑carrying)
names were common; the Greek ones usually involved obviously
pagan deities (in 3 John: Gaius, Demetrius, Diotrephes).
‑Thus Theophilus is a valid Greek name, and such as might have
been adopted by a Jew (since deity name not explicitly pagan).
‑Greeks would not expect a name like this to be allegorical.
‑Also the title κράτιστε (Luke 1:3) would hardly be used
with an "everyman" figure, as it is a title of respect used
for people with higher social status, governmental authority.
‑Luke uses it 3 times when referring to the procurators of
Judea (Acts 23:26, 24:3, 26:25).
‑Since Luke does not use this title for Theophilus in Acts, some
propose that Theophilus became a Christian between Luke & Acts;
Christians didn't address each other with titles.
‑Can't prove this.
‑καηχέω in Luke 1:4, "so that you might know the exact truth
about the things you have been taught," supports this idea, but
Luke could be writing a further explanation to a non‑Christian.
‑Can reasonably conclude that Theophilus was a real person
in a governmental or high social position. Luke may have known
him from Antioch (Luke's probable home) or from one of the
places he stayed.
E. Date of Acts
1. Various suggestions
a. 2nd century AD
‑This view was common in radical circles in the 19th cent.
under F.C. Baur's influence.
‑Baur applied Hegel's thesis‑antithesis‑synthesis theory
to church history. Saw early conflict between Jewish and
Gentile elements in James and Galatians; but since Acts
has everything blended, it must be late => middle or end
of the 2nd cent. AD, when the old catholic church formed.
‑Such a late 2nd cent. view has been weakened by later
archaeological findings; still, many liberals would date
Acts at around 100‑120 AD.
b. 94‑100 AD
‑Proposed by A.S. Peake at Univ. of Manchester.
‑Noted common features in Acts and Josephus' Antiquities,
so suggested that Luke borrowed from Josephus.
‑This would date Acts after the Antiq. (pre‑94 AD).
‑Peake's evidence comes from 2 overlapping passages:
1) Antiq. 20.5.1‑2 (20.97-100) and Acts 5:36‑37.
‑Gamaliel (Acts) mentions two revolts: by Theudas, and later by Judas of Galilee.
‑Josephus lists them in reverse chronological order.
[Fadus, AD 44-46; Tiberius, 46-48]
‑Sufficient details of Judas are given in Acts and Antiq.
to identify them as references to the same event.
‑Peake sees Theudas as a clear error by Acts.
‑Actually three possible explanations:
a) Liberals say one author must be wrong, so it must be
‑Peake says Luke copied from Josephus sloppily here.
b) But Luke as seen elsewhere is a careful historian, as
‑Is more reasonable that Josephus made the mistake, as
Luke is writing closer to the event.
c) There were two rebels named Theudas.
‑Many Jewish rebels were from the same families, so
there could be a grandson relationship here.
‑The name "Theudas" was common enough that they could
have been two independent men.
‑In any case, no evidence of literary dependence here.
‑Both refer to same names, but details are different.
2) Antiq. 19.8.2 (19.343-53) and Acts 12:19‑23
‑Death of Herod Agrippa I (c44 AD).
‑His death contributed to the instability which caused the
Roman war in 66 AD.
‑He was a Jewish king (both a Herod and a Hasmonean) and
liked by the Romans and most everyone.
‑Acts: Was addressing the people of Tyre and Sidon at
Caesarea, did not give glory to God; was struck by angel
of the Lord, eaten by worms, and died.
‑Antiq.: Was at spectacle at Caesarea, addressing a crowd,
did not rebuke men who called him divine; saw an owl (bad
omen), was overcome with abdominal pains; died in 5 days.
‑As this event (death of a famous and pivotal Jewish leader)
was rather well‑known, there is no need for literary
dependence, especially due to the unique features in each.
‑These are very weak parallels to base a literary dependence
c. 70‑80 AD (after the fall of Jerusalem)
‑Many liberals and some "conservatives" hold this view
(e.g., Sanday, Zahn).
‑Date Acts after Luke, but date Luke after the fall of
Jerusalem in order to post‑date the prophecy of its
destruction given in Luke 21:20.
‑Seems completely unnecessary, since God knows future.
d. 62‑64 AD
‑This is the standard conservative position, and is based
on the events narrated in Acts (see below).
2. Positive date evidence from the scope of the book
a. Earliest date possible, c61 AD
‑The last procurator mentioned is Porcius Festus; Paul then
travels to Rome, stays there c2 years (book ends).
‑The accession of Festus was not likely to have been before
b. Latest date likely
1) Paul's death is not hinted at or mentioned.
‑Very strange if Acts was written after it.
‑Liberals say Luke stopped there because his audience knew
the rest of the story.
‑But we don't know much.
‑Tradition from a century later: Paul was martyred near
Rome under Nero, who committed suicide in 68 AD.
‑Eusebius dated Paul's death at about 67 AD.
=> Acts was written before 68 AD.
2) Attitude of Roman Empire to Christianity is favorable or
neutral in Acts.
‑Christianity was viewed as a sect of Judaism, so legal.
‑But after July 64 AD, the attitude changed drastically.
‑Disastrous 12‑day fire in Rome burned much of the city.
‑Nero's men were suspected of starting it.
‑Nero shifted the blame to Christians; put many to death.
‑Became illegal even to be a Christian (cf. Pliny's letter
to Trajan) for the next 250 years.
‑No hint of this hostile atmosphere in Acts.
‑Luke does not react negatively to officials or vice versa.
‑Christians had freedom to live in peace and spread views.
‑How could hostile atmosphere not appear if Acts was
written after these events?
3) Abrupt ending of Acts ‑ suggests was brought up to date.
‑Gives full descriptions until the closing sentence.
‑Could be a summary sentence because he expected to write
a 3rd volume (of which there is no known record).
‑Not sure what volume would include unless it was written
much later (c95 AD as some suggest).
‑Zahn argues from Greek in Acts 1:1 that 3rd was planned.
¹ρωτov = first of several (in Classical Greek).
¹ρoτερov = first of two (like "former").
‑This holds for Classical Greek, but in Hellenistic Greek,
¹ρωτov can be used for either meaning.
‑Although Luke uses the most Classical style in the NT, he
is still very Hellenistic in general usage.
‑Is most reasonable that Luke brings us up to date at the
end of Acts and no time has elapsed between the last events
and its writing.
‑Luke knows nothing of the disastrous events which are soon
to befall Christianity at this time.
‑Thus the latest possible date for Acts would be c64 AD.
F. Historical Accuracy of Acts
1. History of Opinion
‑Among Christians until the Enlightenment, Acts was
considered very accurate historically.
‑During Renaissance, some began to cast doubt on all ancient
‑Continued trend away from Acts' historicity until recently.
‑Reached low point with work of F.C. Baur (c1850)
Christianity and the Christian Church of the First Three
‑Baur thought Acts was a propaganda document which showed
how the early church in the 2nd century liked to think of
early Christianity: harmony between apostles, all enemies
on the outside. Baur claimed strong division within Xy.
‑But with the rise of archeology in these territories in
the next generation, general opinion has risen greatly.
William M. Ramsay ‑ Scots theologian trained in skeptical view of historicity.
‑Became interested in archeology of Asia Minor.
‑Realized Baur's view of unreliability of Acts was incorrect.
‑Became more and more conservative with time.
Some of his books:
The Historical Geography of Asia Minor, 1890.
The Church in the Roman Empire Before A.D. 170, 1893.
St. Paul, The Traveller and the Roman Citizen, 1895.
A Historical Commentary on St. Paul's Epistles to the Galatians, 1899.
The Cities of St. Paul, 1907.
The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, 1915.
Ramsay concluded that "Luke was an historian of the first
rank." Not only was he an accurate chronicler (geography,
places, names) but had a true historic sense (picked out
significant events and important points for his purpose).
‑Ramsay's work has not been overturned.
‑Naturally, those who deny miraculous cannot concede that
Luke is accurate in his reports of miracles, so there is
still much suspicion concerning Acts.
‑Complaints against the history in Acts are not from the
data, but from those who dislike its historicity.
‑Recent evangelical treatments:
F.F. Bruce, New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?
I.H. Marshall, Luke: The Historian and Theologian.
A.N. Sherwin‑White, Roman Society and Roman Law in the New Testament.
- Sherwin-White comments:
"As soon as Christ enters the Roman orbit at Jerusalem, the confirmation begins. For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Yet Acts is, in simple terms and judged externally, no less of a propaganda narrative than the Gospels, liable to similar distortions. But any attempt to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd." (189)
‑Cannot discount historicity just because author was a
2. Testable data regarding historicity
a. Official Titles
‑Roman Empire was a patchwork of governments because parts were acquired at different times:
‑Egypt: Emperor's private property.
‑Imperial provinces: controlled by emperor if area was in
danger at the present for some reason: revolt, at edge
of the empire, etc.
‑Emperor sent out rulers called procurators, propraetors,
or prefects (name depended on the area).
‑Senatorial provinces: "safe" areas controlled by senate.
‑Senate sent out proconsuls.
‑A province could (and did) switch back and forth
between the two types.
‑Significant to find Acts having the right title at the right time, since control sometimes switched.
‑Acts is always right.
1) vθύ¹ατoς = proconsul (Greek equivalent to Latin term)
= head Roman official of senatorial province.
‑was a common term.
derivation: Greek translation of Latin t.t.
vθz = previously, formerly (pro).
¹ατoς = consul.
Acts 13:7,8,12 ‑ Sergius Paulus, proconsul at Cyprus.
‑confirmed by inscription found in 1865 in Cyprus with his
name, called it senatorial province.
Acts 18:12 ‑ "Gallio was proconsul of Achaia"
‑Achaia had switched: senatorial (27 BC ‑ 15 AD)
‑> imperial (15‑44 AD)
‑> senatorial (after 44 AD)
‑Gallio was proconsul c51‑53 (have inscription).
Rest of titles were not so well known from antiquity, as rarer.
‑Some once suspected that Luke invented these names as general
descriptive titles. Now seen to be technical terms.
2) ¹oλιτάρχης = "city ruler"
Acts 17:6,8 ‑ city authorities at Thessalonica.
‑Now known from 19 inscriptions to be the
proper technical title for leaders in
3) σιάρχης = "leaders of Asia" (province of Empire)
Acts 19:31 ‑ Asiarchs befriended Paul at Ephesus.
‑Technical term for leading men in Asia, several at
Ephesus, elected by citizens from wealthiest and most
aristocratic, in expectation they would personally finance
public games and festivals; later were high priests of
imperial religion, but not in 1st century (McRay,
Archaelology & the NT, 255); friendship with Paul is
evidence of early date of Acts (Bruce, NT History, 319).
4) ¹ρτoς = "chief" or "first" man
Acts 28:7 ‑ leading man of the island Malta, Publius.
‑Both Greek and Latin inscriptions show this
was the proper title for the ruler of Malta.
b. Geographical References
‑Numerous and accurate: 32 countries, 54 cities, 9 islands in the Mediterranean Sea ‑ all put in the right place.
‑For example: Paul's voyage and shipwreck, Acts 27.
James Smith, The Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul, gives a very sophisticated account, including Greek and Latin inscriptions from various locations.
‑Sailed the whole route and was amazed at Luke's accuracy.
‑Shows it was consistent with the weather, the way the wind blows and how ancient ships were handled (to prevent being blown into North Africa).
‑Felt he could fix the very spot on which the wreck at Malta occurred.
‑Concluded Luke was not a sailor (as he didn't use technical terms), but was an experienced traveller, acquainted with seamanship, and able to convey details to common people.
‑Is considered one of the most detailed and accurate accounts of a sea voyage from antiquity.
c. Problem passages: not claiming we know answer to everything.
1) Reconciliation of Luke and Paul concerning Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 and Gal. 2.
-Events are clearly similar, but differ on some details. E.g.,
private vs. public meeting,
didn't add anything to Paul vs. Jerusalem decision re/ Gentiles to abstain from food
offered to idols, blood, etc.
‑Evangelicals disagree whether Gal. 2 refers to Jerus Council.
(Newman, et al, think it does; Bruce, et al, don't).
‑Suggest Paul is writing to those who are already familiar with the Council and its letter (his
opponents certainly knew of it) so he does not need to go over it again but just deals
with particular problems, perhaps in answer to their claims.
2) Luke (Acts 12:20-23) and Josephus (Ant. 19:343ff) concerning the death of Herod Agrippa I.
"(343) Now, when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea, he came to the city Caesarea, which was formerly called Strato's Tower; and there he exhibited shows in honor of Caesar, upon his being informed that there was a certain festival celebrated to make vows for his safety. At which festival, a great multitude was gotten together of the principal persons, and such as were of dignity through his province. (344) On the second day of which shows he put on a garment made wholly of silver, and of a contexture truly wonderful, and came into the theatre early in the morning; at which time the silver of his garment being illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun's rays upon it, shone out after a surprising manner, and was so resplendent as to spread a horror over those that looked intently upon him; (345) and presently his flatterers cried out, one from one place, and another from another (though not for his good), that he was a god; and they added, "Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a man, yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature." (346) Upon this the king did neither rebuke them, nor reject their impious flattery. But, as he presently afterwards looked up, he saw an owl sitting on a certain rope over his head, and immediately understood that this bird was the messenger of ill tidings, as it had once been the messenger of good tidings to him; and fell into the deepest sorrow. A severe pain also arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner. (347) He therefore looked upon his friends, and said, "I whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life; while Providence thus reproves the lying words you just now said to me; and I, who was by you called immortal,am immediately to be hurried away by death. But I am bound to accept of what Providence allots as it pleases God; for we have by no means lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner." (348) When he said this, his pain was become violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace; and the rumor went abroad everywhere, that he would certainly die in a little time. (349) But the multitude presently sat in sackcloth, with their wives and children, after the law of their country, and besought God for the king's recovery. All places were also full of mourning and lamentation. Now the king rested in a high chamber, and as he saw them below lying prostrate on the ground, he could not himself forbear weeping. (350) And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty‑fourth year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign."
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 19.8.1-2 (343-350)
‑Details vary: angel; owl, etc.; but no indication that Luke is mistaken on any point
G. Purpose of Acts: Why did Luke write it?
‑Key verses in introduction give hints:
1:1 - former work "about all that Jesus began to do and teach".
‑implies a theme of what Jesus continued to do and teach through the Holy Spirit and by
means of the apostles.
1:8 Outlines the book, describing the progress of the Gospel from Jerusalem to Rome.
‑Empowering by the Holy Spirit is seen as continuing the ministry of Jesus after He was
‑By extension from Luke 1:1‑4: so Theophilus might know the certainty of the history of the
early Christian church.
‑i.e., this purpose of Luke is continued into Acts.
H. Sketch Outline of Acts
Scale: "|" = approximately 1 chapter.
‑Structure appears consciously to follow Acts 1:8:
Outline Verse: 1:8 ‑|----------------------------------|
| The Gospel spreads |
| in Jerusalem |
At end of each | |
section are | |
Summary/ 6:7 ‑|‑-------‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑‑|
Transition | |
Verses: | Through Palestine |
| To Antioch |
| To Asia (Minor) |
| To Europe (Greece) |
| To Rome |
(also a summary at close)
‑Some of these transition verses are quite brief
-The idea common to all references is the increasing growth of the church.
IV. Exegesis of Historical Passages
A. Preparation for Exegesis:
Some features we need to continually build
1. English (native language) Bible Knowledge
OT has 929 chapters, NT has 260, total 1189
Need to read several chapters/day
Once thru per year: 3.26 chs/day
4 chs/day: thru OT once, NT twice
2. Biblical Language Competency
Keep up via regular translation, vocab review,
grammar (Pastor Al Jackson: thru Metzger yearly)
TVT recommends verse/day from each testament
3. Bible Background
Special study for specific passages
be realistic: don't overkill & then give up
have read over 50 books/yr since 1968
over 100 for six of these
usually over 50 in religion
4. Spiritual Insight
Gained thru experience w/ own problems, plus learning
via helping others with theirs
Crucial to have a close communion, love for Lord
B. Genres in Acts & Epistles
Genre: a type of literature
may be as broad as distinction between prose/poetry
may be as narrow as limerick, parable
Genres covered in class exegesis:
Acts 15:22-29 combines both (1) and (2)
TP: Acts 10:34-46 combines (1) and Sermon
Frequent in Acts
some subgenres below in next major section
1 Cor 15:12-28 (eschatological)
TP: Rom 4:1-11 (soteriological)
James uses this genre
Col 2:8-23 (Christological/soteriological)
TP: Gal 3:6-14 (soteriological)
1 Tim 6:11-21
Genres not covered in class:
6. Miracle Account:
Frequent in Acts: covered in Synoptics
7. Hymn, Poem:
TP: Col 1:15-20 may be such (Christological)
evangelistic in Acts
some think 1 John and Hebrews belong here
TP: Col 1:15-20 (Christological)
TP: 2 Thess 2:1-12 (eschatological)
Frequent at end of epistles
e.g., Rom 16:25-27
Frequent at beginning of epistles
e.g., 1 Cor 1:4-9
12. Prayer (Report):
Frequent near beginning of epistle
e.g., Eph 1:15-23
C. Historical Passages and the Genre "Narrative"
Not all historical passages are in the narrative genre, and not all narratives need be historical. Due to inspiration of Scripture, non-historical narratives would only be found in parables, etc. But a historical passage might be a letter (as in Acts 15, above), or part of a hymn (Pss 105-06), or such.
1. Use the standard newpaper reporter's questions to sketch out what is happening: who? what? when? where? why? how? etc.
2. Be on the lookout for major terms, especially ones which are puzzling or ambiguous. Here we must look for the ambiguity of the word in the Greek, as translators into English or whatever can hardly be expected to preserve the ambiguities of the original language. Do each of the various possible meanings of the Greek word make any sense in this passage? If so, does it make any difference?
3. How does the event fit into the overall flow of salvation history? How does it fit into the immediate context that the author has given it? Does this help us to understand what is going on?
4. Check over some commentaries to see if the historical background sheds any light on the passage. If some particular activity, custom, etc., seems to be important in the passage, see if you can find out more about this in a Bible encyclopedia or such.
5. What features of the narrative does the author seem to be emphasizing? Look for repetition, positioning, etc.
6. Historical narratives are generally the easiest parts of the Bible to understand (with some definite exceptions!) but they are often the hardest to use for preaching and teaching. Some directions in which to investigate:
Exemplary (1 Cor 10:6): Are we to imitate or avoid imitating particular persons, actions, attitudes?
Salvation Historical (Acts 1:1): What does the narrative tell us about what God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, apostles, are doing in God's redemptive program?
Theological (Rom 1:21-2:16): What does the narrative show us about human nature, about wickedness, righteousness, and what sorts of things can happen in a fallen world which is yet in the process of being redeemed?
Typological (Heb 2:13-14): For OT narratives, how do they prefigure major themes in redemption, particularly the work of Christ?
V. Paul's Early Epistles and His Eschatology
A. The Early Epistles: 1-2 Thessalonians, Galatians
‑About 1/2 of the NT is in the form (genre) of letters (including Revelation)
-1 John and Hebrews may be sermonic form, though sent as letters.
1. Letters of the Hellenistic Period and Paul's Letters
a. Normal format of an ancient letter
1) Sender(s) ‑‑ nominative case. Like modern letterhead.
2) Recipient(s) ‑‑ dative case. To so-and-so.
3) Greeting ‑‑ infinitive (usually χαίρειv)
‑Usually translated as "Greetings."
‑‑ may involve comments about health of either sender or recipient
4) Text of letter.
5) Closing ‑‑ takes various forms.
‑In a business letter, may be omitted, or be
"Farewell ¤ρρωσo - 2s perf. m/p impv.
(be healthy)" ¤ρρωσθε - 2p from ρώvvυμαι
‑An informal letter may include greetings from
friends, etc. ‑ σ¹άζoμαι.
‑In the NT, we have 2 letters besides NT books themselves:
(1) Acts 23:26ff Letter sent with Paul from the Tribune to the governor at Caesarea.
Sender ‑‑ "Claudius Lysias"
Recipient ‑‑ "To the most excellent governor Felix"
(Note: same title as Theophilus has)
Greeting ‑‑ "Greetings" (χαίρειv)
Closing ‑‑ "Farewell" (in some manuscripts).
(2) Acts 15:23ff Letter sent by the Jerusalem Council.
Sender ‑‑ "The Apostles and brothers who are elders"
Recipient ‑‑ "To the brethren in Antioch and Syria ..."
Greeting ‑‑ "Greetings" (χαίρειv)
Closing ‑‑ "Farewell" (¤ρρωσθε).
‑Note this is also a business letter format.
Loeb CL, Selected Papyri, 3 vol. set of secular materials:
v.1 Private ‑ agreements, receipts, wills, letters, prayers.
v.2 Public documents.
v.3 Literary papyri.
We are interested in vol. 1. (#266 in LCL series)
‑Same format in these letters, but sometimes give date also.
‑Recipient's name was on the outside of the scroll.
‑Remarks about health are common here (not so much in Paul):
e.g., 1:91, 93, 96, 104
‑Letter no. 1:107 has personal closing salutations,
as do 1:110, 111, 112, 113.
-¤ρρωσo/θε occurs in 1:89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 96.
b. Paul's modifications of standard letter format
1) Longer letters; all sections tend to be longer.
‑Philemon is the exception, and is typical of the length of
letters in Loeb.
sender 6 vv.
recipient lengthened slightly
greetings lengthened slightly
text 15 chapters
closing 27 vv. with greetings
2) Greetings and closing were characteristically Christian.
‑χαίρειv is neutral term and is sometimes used by Xians (cf. the Jerusalem Council).
‑But Paul used χάρις (grace) and ε®ρήvη (peace, from Shalom)
and sometimes he added "mercy".
‑Closing frequently has a benediction (a prayer for them or praise to God)
instead of "be in good health."
‑cf. Romans 16:25‑27.
3) Text is often divided into didactic and hortatory sections.
‑Could be a result of having a long letter.
‑Is used as an argument against Pauline authorship of Hebrews where doctrine and exhortation
‑Hebrews follows more of a sermon format, so this could explain the difference.
c. Dictation of Letters
‑Rom. 16:22 "I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle" indicates that Paul dictated some of his letters
to a "secretary."
‑Some think this was because of an eyesight problem, but it was a common practice in this
‑Non-biblical letter papyri (being autographs) show that most letters were written by
professional scribes: handwriting of the main part is very nice (=> professional writer)
but shifts to less neat hand at the end when the actual author wrote a note or signed his
‑See R.N. Longenecker, "Ancient Amanuenses and the Pauline Epistles" in Longenecker and
Tenney, New Dimensions in NT Study (1974) ‑ a Festschrift celebrating ETS's 25th year.
‑We know Paul often added a few words in his own hand,
1 Cor. 16:21 "The greeting is in my own hand C Paul."
2 Thess. 3:17 ‑ Paul says this is his regular practice, even if he does not always explicitly
‑Possibly done to guard against forgeries:
2 Thess. 2:2 ‑ Don't be shaken by "letter as if from us."
‑Presumably also indicates Paul had proofread his letter.
d. Suggested Chronology of Paul's Letters
1) 2nd Journey, 50‑53
1 and 2 Thessalonians (written at Corinth, c52)
‑if any before this, not chosen to survive.
2) Between 2nd and 3rd Journeys
Galatians (Antioch, c53)
3) 3rd Journey, 54‑58
1 Corinthians (Ephesus, c55)
2 Corinthians (Macedonia, 57)
Romans (Corinth, winter 57‑58)
4) 1st Imprisonment at Rome, 61‑63
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon
5) Between Imprisonments, locations unknown, after 63
1 Timothy, Titus [Hebrews]
6) 2nd Imprisonment at Rome, 64‑68, (date of death uncertain)
e. Classification of Paul's Letters by Content
1) Eschatological: 1‑2 Thessalonians
2) Soteriological: Galatians, 1‑2 Corinthians, Romans
3) Christological (or Prison): Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon
4) Ecclesiological (or Pastoral): Titus, 1‑2 Timothy
‑Same as chronological order, but mainly a memory device
-Some letters don't fit well into these categories:
Soteriology is poor classification for 1‑2 Cor.
Christology is poor classification for Philemon.
2. Thessalonian Epistles
1) City of Thessalonica was renamed at the time of Alexander for his step‑sister.
‑Hellenizers often 1) founded a new city in a good location (like Alexandria) or
2) renamed an existing city.
‑When Rome took over Macedonia in 146 BC, they made Thessalonica the capital.
‑It was strategically located on Via Egnatia, the major east‑west road from Rome to
Asia Minor (w/ sea-links);
see map of Roman Road system on p 8.
‑Romans really improved road quality so travel much easier ‑ nothing better till 20th century.
2) First visited by Paul on 2nd miss. journey, Acts 17:1‑9.
‑Although only 3 synagogue services (=> 2+ weeks) are mentioned (17:2),
Paul's letters suggest his total stay was longer than this:
1 Thess. 2:9 "worked night and day" to set an example.
‑ sounds longer than 2 weeks.
Phil. 4:15‑16 ‑ they sent a gift to Paul more than once
while he was in Thessalonica.
=> at least 2 months.
3) Also fits with converts, Acts 17:4, which included:
‑devout Greeks (ones who had contact with the synagogue but were not proselytes)
‑prominent women (probably Roman women, since Jews and Greeks had already been
mentioned, but can't say for sure).
1 Thess. 1:9 ‑ Apparently the majority of converts were pagans who came after Paul had
preached in the synagogue, mostly former idolators.
1 Thess. 4:1‑5 ‑ Still had problems with fornication.
‑Nucleus of church: Jews and Greeks from synagogue, some prominent women
and many pagans.
‑Eventually unbelieving Jews raise a mob and Paul is forced to leave city.
b. Place from which Paul Wrote
‑Paul was probably in the same place for both letters.
‑Corinth is most likely, although some late (400‑500 AD) manuscripts (as in KJV)
have a subscription saying "from Athens by Timothy [i.e. carrier]."
‑Other texts say Corinth or Rome (?) instead of Athens.
‑Have similar problem in Titus, where internal evidence disagrees with late subscription.
‑Paul went from Thessalonica to Berea (both in Macedonia), but was soon forced to leave there also (Acts 17:10‑15). Paul is taken to Athens (v.15), leaving Timothy and Silas behind. Paul requests them to come quickly while he waits in Athens.
‑Berea to Athens: 1 Thess. 3:1 implies Timothy came to Paul in Athens but was sent back to Thessalonica before 1 Thess. was written. (Silas probably came also, but may have been sent to another church, probably Berea or Philippi).
‑Athens to Corinth: In Acts 18:1, after little success in Athens, Paul goes to Corinth and meets Silas and Timothy from Macedonia (18:5).
‑1 Thess. 3:6 (with 3:1) implies Timothy has come from Thess. twice at the time 1 Thess. was written.
‑Since 2 Thess. deals with similar problems, it was probably written soon after 1 Thess. As Paul was in Corinth for 18 months, probably 2 Thess. was written from there also, perhaps after Timothy and Silas returned from delivering 1st letter.
c. Occasion of 1 Thessalonians
‑Paul had been run out of Thessalonica by the mob.
‑Jason was captured and forced to put up a bond (probably a peace bond, which he would forfeit
if further violence over this matter occurred in the city).
‑On account of this bond on Jason, Paul probably feels he cannot return (cf. 1 Thess. 2:18).
‑Timothy (3:6) and Silas (infer from 1:1 and 3:1) came from Thess. (perhaps with a delegation)
with news of doctrinal confusion and persecution in the months‑old church.
‑Opponents apparently charging that Paul is an opportunist who has "abandoned ship" when
things got rough.
‑Since Paul cannot go and deal with the problems in person, he sends a letter to the church.
d. Contents of 1 Thessalonians:
‑Huddleston, Acrostic Bible: -NIV Study Bible (Leon Morris)
F = Faith of Thess. church Thanksgiving for Thess (ch 1)
A = Apostolic labors in Thess. Defense of Apos actions (2-3)
I = Investig. of ch's welfare Exhortation to Thess (4:1-5:22)
T = True love betw Christians Concluding Prayer, Greetings,
H = Hope in Christ's return Benediction (5:23-28)
‑The themes in 1 Thess. are scattered throughout the book, so this is a listing rather than
1) Persecution: Paul aware of their severe trials, exhorts them to remain steadfast, and is
pleased with their endurance: 1:6, 2:14‑16, 3:3‑8.
2) Holiness: As many had come out of a pagan background, he encourages them against falling
back into the pagan sins of immorality, fraud, laziness, etc.: 3:12‑4:12, 5:14‑23.
3) Slander: Paul defends self against charges raised by his enemies (the Jews?):
a) That he sponged off his converts: 2:1‑12
(worked day and night to support himself, unlike the traveling philosopher‑teachers).
b) That he abandoned them when things got hot: 2:14‑3:7
(says he does not want to be away and sent Timothy instead).
4) Confusion regarding the 2nd Coming:
‑2nd coming mentioned in every chapter: 1:10, 2:19, 3:13, 5:23.
‑Paul deals with specific problem of those who die before the 2nd Coming in 4:13‑18.
‑The early church did not know when the 2nd Coming would occur, whether in their lifetimes
or not (nor do we!).
e. Occasion of 2 Thessalonians
‑Less information on the motivation for the letter, but is probably due to continued confusion
regarding the 2nd Coming.
‑The source of the confusion seems to be a forged letter claiming to be from Paul, which
produced anxiety and perhaps idleness, since it claimed the 2nd Coming had already
‑Note 2 Thess. 2:2: "spirit" ‑ revelation
or "message" ‑ verbal report
or "letter" ‑ written note "as if from us."
‑In 3:17 Paul says that he always writes the closing greeting himself, thus his
handwriting serves as a distinguishing feature in all genuine letters from him.
f. Contents of 2 Thessalonians (Huddleston; NIV):
D = Descrip. of Thess. faith Introduction (1)
A = Apostasy in last days Instruction (2)
Y = Yield fruit through work Injunctions (3)
‑The themes are quite similar to 1 Thess.
1) Principally on the 2nd Coming.
‑1:6‑10 is related to the present persecution.
‑2:1‑12 Some say the Day already occurred.
‑In Rabbinic literature, persecutions were to be the "birth pangs of the [coming] Messiah."
‑But other events which must occur first: apostasy and the appearance of "the man of
2) Comfort to those who are troubled by:
‑Persecution: 1:4‑7, 3:3.
‑Confusion: 2:1‑3, 13‑17; 3:3, 16, 18.
3) Rebuke to the lazy and disorderly: 3:6‑15.
‑It may be due to sinful habits, or to waiting for the Lord's return (quitting job, etc.).
Two major views:
North Galatian Theory
South Galatian Theory
1) North Galatian theory: Paul's letter was sent to the northern, "ethnic,"
region of the province.
a) This region in North Central Asia Minor was invaded by
Gauls from Europe in 278 BC.
‑Only "cities" in this area were: Ankyra, Pessinus, and Tavium. These were not Hellenistic
cities, but were more like fortified camps.
‑This region was little influenced by Hellenistic culture since Gauls entered the area after
Alexander the Great had gone through planting Greek cities/culture.
‑Were being "Romanized" through influence of Empire.
b) Paul may have visited here for the first time on the 2nd Missionary Journey (Acts 16:6 "and
he passed through the Galatian region ...") and again on the 3rd journey (Acts 18:23 "he
passed through the Galatian and Phrygian regions"), but this is uncertain.
‑Note we have no accounts that indicate that he did any work there. His earliest possible visit
would have been on the 2nd MJ.
c) Proponents: The Northern theory has been the traditional view back to the 4‑5th century
commentators (but by this time the provincial boundaries had been changed) up till
the late 19th cent. Lightfoot and Reicke are 2 moderns who hold this view.
2) South Galatian theory: Paul's letter was sent to the southern part of the Roman province,
which was not ethnically Galatian.
a) When the Romans broke up Asia Minor into provinces, they included the southern cities of
Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe as well as the northern ethnic group in the
province named Galatia.
b) Paul visited these southern cities once or twice (counting his return over same route) on the
1st MJ. He visited them a third time at the beginning of his 2nd MJ.
‑These cities were all Hellenistic, having been under Greek culture and language for about 4
c) Proponents: Since Ramsay (the first to do archaeology in Asia Minor) put forward his
strong arguments, this view has been generally held. It does not divide liberals and
conservatives. F.F. Bruce is a typical modern proponent.
3) Northern Arguments (Lightfoot):
a) The style of Galatians is similar to Romans.
‑Paul is dealing with the same Jewish‑works problem, but is more polemic in Gal.
‑This may imply the two were written at about the same time on the same MJ (Ephesians
and Colossians are an example of a pair written closely together, dealing with the
same subject, where one is polemic and the other irenic).
b) The title "Galatians" was more popular as an ethnic term than as a provincial term.
‑We would not call Scots "English."
c) The Hellenistic natives of Pis. Antioch, Iconium, etc. would be offended to be called
"Galatians" since the ethnic group was considered barbaric.
d) Several comments in the epistle fit the known character of the ancient ethnic Galatians.
‑According to other ancient authors, they were:
drunken (Gal. 5:21, but in a long list of other sins),
4) Southern Arguments:
a) There were many more Jews in the southern region who would be nearer to and concerned
(Acts 16:1‑4) or influenced by Judaizing tendencies (the Seleucid kings imported them as
stable citizens for founding new cities).
b) Paul uses provincial names elsewhere when he writes (Macedonia, Judea, etc.) to label
people in those places.
‑Luke apparently does not. (answer to 3b above)
c) Ramsay notes that people of Antioch, etc., who were not Roman citizens derived their
Roman benefits from inhabiting the Roman province, hence the title "Galatians"
would not be an insult to them. (answer to 3c above)
d) Note that Paul is not trying to be polite in addressing the Galatians: he omits the
thanksgiving and calls them "fools" later. If the title "Galatians" had bad
connotations, Paul might have used it anyway. (answer to 3c above)
e) The cultural allusions in Gal. fit the Hellenized cities of the south better. (answer to 3d
‑The Gauls had only a tribal organization at this point.
‑Paul's comments regarding adoption laws, etc. presume a Hellenistic background.
f) The Gauls were by now only a minority, even in northern areas, so the temperament evidence
is not that significant (nor unique).
g) The churches of Galatia were to be involved in the collection for the Jerusalem saints
(1 Cor. 16:1).
‑In the list of people from local churches who went with Paul to Jerusalem, we find 2
from southern Galatia "Gaius of Derbe and Timothy [from Lystra]" in Acts 20:4,
and none mentioned from northern Galatia.
‑Could argue that the list is not complete or the N. Gal. group joined them later, though.
h) Barnabas is mentioned in Gal. 2:13 as if the Gal. churches were familiar with him.
‑"Even Barnabas was carried away" would draw surprise from a group who had been
evangelized by Barnabas.
‑Yet Barnabas had only been on the 1st MJ in S. Gal.
i) The "you" reference in Gal. 2:5 most naturally refers to the Galatians: "so that the truth of the
Gospel might remain with you."
‑This reading presumes Gal. 2 is discussing the Jerusalem Council and implies that the
Gal. were believers before it occurred (c50 AD). Thus the Gal. were saved during
the 1st MJ and before the 2nd.
‑But "you" could have a more general reference to "Gentiles" rather than to the Gal. in
‑Also, if Gal. 2 refers to the famine visit which preceded the 1st MJ, then the "you" would
also be general.
5) Conclusion on Recipients
The evidence is hardly overwhelming, but the southern theory looks somewhat stronger.
b. Date of Galatians.
‑This, of course, depends on who the recipients were.
If northern view, then we can't date the letter before Paul was in No. Galatia at least once
and probably twice (Gal 4:13).
If southern view, then we have the following possibilities:
1) Before the Jerusalem Council (49‑50 AD).
‑Paul wrote from Antioch in c49 AD.
‑This view is held by F.F. Bruce. His logic:
‑Paul returns from 1st MJ to Antioch to find trouble there (Acts 14).
Peter is there and Gal. 2 incident occurs.
‑Paul learns that the Judaizers have also been up in the Gal. region.
‑Paul writes this letter before he leaves for Jerusalem.
(F.F. Bruce is trying to harmonize Gal. 2 and Acts 15 by seeing them as
2 independent events. This is quite possible).
2) Written on the 2nd MJ.
‑Paul wrote from Corinth in c51 AD.
‑This view is held by H. Ridderbos. His logic:
‑Paul is spending 18 months in Corinth, after Jerus. C.
‑He has founded Gal. church, given them Jerus. decree.
‑Gets word that Judaizers are still making gains in Gal.
‑Writes letter as he is too tied up to go personally.
‑Ridderbos sees Gal. 2 and Acts 15 as different events at the Jerus.
Council. Acts 15 shows the formal proceedings, while Gal. 2
shows some behind-the-scenes discussions.
3) Written between the 2nd and 3rd MJs.
‑Paul wrote from Antioch in c53‑54 AD.
‑This view is held by Ramsay. His logic:
‑Paul has just returned from the 2nd MJ, hears of the problem but is not
able to go immediately, so writes.
‑Also sees Gal. 2 and Acts 15 as both Jerus. Council.
‑All 3 of these views date Galatians before Paul could have visited the northern
regions twice (if we take the Acts passages to imply a northern visit at all).
‑Gal. 4:13 ‑‑ "the first time I visited you" is strong evidence that Paul had
visited the recipients more than once.
‑This is not possible (if we limit ourselves to Acts data for N. Galatia)
until the 3rd MJ for northern view.
4) Written on the 3rd MJ.
‑Earliest plausible date for No. view, but also possible for So. view.
‑Lightfoot places Paul in Greece, writing in c57 AD.
‑Most others place Paul in Ephesus, writing c55‑57 AD.
Note: Views 2) through 4) all say Galatians 2 is describing same event as Acts 15.
30 40 [______] 50 [______] [______] 60
<‑c14 years ‑> ^ 1 MJ ^ 2 MJ 3 MJ
Famine visit Jerus. Council
‑Note that if Gal. 2 is the famine visit (44‑46 AD), then Paul is saved "too quickly" after the
resurrection (30 AD).
This weakens Bruce's model (see time-line in the appendix of LaSor's commentary Church
‑Newman feels that Ramsay's view is best, especially in light of the Gal. 1:1‑2 greeting:
‑The sender section says "Paul and all the brothers with me."
‑In Paul's other letters, the co‑senders have a connection with the recipient group in
some direct way.
‑The members of another mission church (Corinth or Ephesus) would not have this tie;
but Antioch C the "mother" church which sent Paul out and which witnessed the
Gal. 2 incident and the Jerusalem Council C would have this relationship.
‑Since Bruce's date is too early, the only other time Paul was in Antioch was between the 2nd
and 3rd MJs.
5) Summary of Factors Involved in determining a date for Galatian letter:
a) Relation of Acts 15 and Gal. 2 - same or different?
b) Relation of Romans and Galatians ‑ similar style.
c) Identity of co‑senders in Gal. 1:2 - Antioch?
d) "You" in Gal. 2:5 - Galatians or Gentiles in general?
e) 2 visits? ‑ Gal. 4:13.
c. Occasion of Galatians
‑The Galatians had been strongly influenced by "Christian" teachers of a Jewish background
who were demanding conformity to the OT ritual laws (2:12ff; 3:2‑5; 4:9‑11,17; 5:1‑6).
‑These Judaizers apparently also attacked Paul as not being a "real" Apostle (Paul answers this
charge in 1:1,12,15‑16; 4:12‑17; 6:17).
‑Note that "apostle" meant "someone sent on a commission" in Greek and was not a special
Christian term as yet.
‑At the time of Paul's writing, the Galatians have begun to keep Jewish holidays and festivals
(4:10), but most have not yet been circumcised (5:2).
‑Since circumcision was such a big step (this made one a "Jew" in both Jewish and pagan eyes),
perhaps the Gal. sent to Paul for his opinion before taking it.
d. Contents of Galatians
‑See the standard sender, recipient, greeting, but no thanksgiving (this is PaulÕs only church
letter without one).
‑This probably indicates the seriousness of the danger in Paul's mind: the Gal. may fall for a
Historical Arguments (1:11‑2:14)
‑Apostleship (1:11-24): Paul is a true apostle by direct and independent appointment by Christ
(key verse 1:12).
‑Agreement (2:1-14): Paul's gospel agrees with other Apostles' gospel (key verses: 2:6‑9,
1:8‑9; also seen at the Jerusalem Council). The Judaizers' "gospel" doesn't.
Doctrinal Arguments (2:15‑4:11)
‑Justification (2:15-3:18) is by grace rather than by works (key verse 3:11).
‑Purpose of the Law (3:19-4:11) is to demonstrate man's predicament (key 3:21‑22).
The Law should make men aware of sin and despair of their own efforts to keep it.
-Sarah/Hagar illustration (4:21-31): based on Isa 54:1ff in addition to Gen 16-21.
‑Final charge (5:1‑4): if you become circumcised, you are asking God to judge you by works.
You will be condemned.
‑Motives of the Judaizers (6:12‑13):
‑Fear persecution (making converts to be Jewish prosyletes would avoid such).
‑Desire to have a large following (to boast).
‑Final sting: Those who are circumcised don't even keep the Law themselves, because they are
unable to (6:13).
B. Pauline Eschatology
-The doctrines concerning death, second coming, eternal state, etc.; i.e., doctrines
relating to "last things."
-See Bruce, Paul: Apostle of the Heart Set Free, chap 27
and Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology, chap II
-Consider various topics of eschatology as sketched below:
1. Downpayment/Earnest ‑ Holy Spirit within believer as "already" of glorified state
2 Cor 5:5: HS as deposit, guaranteeing what is to come
Rom 8:23: HS as firstfruits; waiting redemption of bodies
2 Cor 3:18: being transformed into His likeness w/ ever‑increasing glory
2. Nearness of End ‑ difficult to understand
On one hand: Soon
Php 4:5: Lord is at hand
1 Cor 7:29: time is short
Rom 16:20: God will soon crush Satan
On other hand: Time Unknown
1 Th 5:1‑2: will come like thief
Rom 11:12,25: when full number saved
Yet: Signs and Specific Events Precede
2 Th 2:2‑3: rebellion & man of lawlessness
1 Th 5:3‑4: shouldn't surprise believers
This paradoxical presentation is often used by liberals to argue various strata in the NT, but it is present in both Gospels and epistles.
3. Death & Intermediate State
Death as Sleep
1 Cor 11:30: believers misusing Lord's Supper
1 Cor 15:6,18,20: believers who have died (but note context of v 18)
Depart to Be w/ Christ
At Home w/ the Lord
2 Cor 5:1‑10
body as building, tent, garment (1‑4)
intermediate state as unclothed? (3)
Jesus Will Bring Dead Believers w/ Him
1 Th 4:13‑15
4. Israel (Rom 11)
At present only small remnant believes (5,17)
Provides opportunity for salvation of Gentiles (11‑12,15)
God able to restore Israel (23‑24) and will do so when full number of Gentiles saved
5. Man of Lawlessness (2 Thess 2)
[Ridderbos makes considerable use of "apocalyptic imagery" to explain away detailed
He arises before Day of Lord (3)
Held back until proper time (6‑8), the apostasy? (3)
Individual human (3) empowered by Satan (9)
Misleads unbelievers (10) thru miraculous power & deception (9‑10)
Opposes & exalts self above all Gods (4)
Sets himself up in God's temple (4)
Destined for destruction (3) at Jesus' coming (8)
[Close parallels w/ Dan 11:36‑12:3 (esp 36‑37); 7:21‑27; Matt 24:15‑31 (esp 15);
6. Rapture ‑ gathering of believers to be with Lord
1 Cor 15:51‑52: at last trump, dead rise, living changed
1 Th 4:13‑18: at coming of Lord
[close parallels w/ Matt 24:26‑35; see Waterman, JETS 18 (1975): 105‑113]
7. Parousia ‑ 2nd coming of Christ
Freq referred to as: parousia (coming), epiphany (appearance), revelation, or "the day"
1 Th 4:15‑18: Jesus comes from heaven, loud command, voice of archangel, trumpet of God,
resurrection & gathering of believers to meet Lord, be w/ Him forever
2 Th 1:6‑10: punishment of persecutors & relief for persecuted when Jesus revealed from
heaven in blazing fire w/ angels; unbelievers punished w/ everlasting destruction; Jesus
glorified in & marvelled at by His people
2 Th 2:8‑9: Jesus will destroy man of lawlessness by breath of mouth and glory of coming
Of believers at Jesus' coming (1 Th 4:14‑17; 1 Cor 15:51‑52); not all die, but all changed (51)
Resurrection body (1 Cor 15:35‑49) glorious, spiritual (vs natural, not vs material)
9. Millennium ‑ 1,000 yr reign of Christ; not explicit in Paul
Strongest passage is 1 Cor 15:22‑28, which appears to picture 3 resurrections:
 Christ's (23)
 believers at His coming (23)
 end‑resurrection when death destroyed (24,26).
[Fits most common Jewish eschatology at NT period; app based on Zech 14, Dan 7 and
natural exegesis of Rev 19‑20]
Universal: Rom 14:10; 2 Cor 5:10; 2 Tim 4:1
Impartial: Rom 2:1‑16
Of Works: Rom 2:6‑10; 2 Cor 5:10
Believers vindicated: 1 Th 1:10; 5:9; Rom 5:9
11. Eternal State
Creation liberated from bondage: Rom 8:19‑22
Death destroyed: 1 Cor 15:25‑26
God all in all: 1 Cor 15:24‑28
perish (Rom 2:12)
everlasting destruction (2 Th 1:9)
shut out from God's presence (2 Th 1:9)
forever with the Lord: 1 Th 4:17; 1 Cor 13:12
share His image: 1 Cor 15:49; 2 Cor 3:18
VI. Exegesis of Theological Passages
A. What is a "Theological Passage"?
1. Not really a genre, "theological passage" is a description of the content of the passage.
2. The genre might be a speech in Acts (or the Gospels), describing the person and work of Christ; or a letter like Romans, with a systematic argument running many chapters; or a poetic passage like Col 1:15-20; or a controversy passage, as we will study in our next genre (Col 2:8-23); or even an exhortation passage like 1 Cor 13, where love is described.
3. A theological passage is one in which the main emphasis is to describe for us one of the following: what God is like (theology proper), what humans are like (anthropology), what Christ has done (soteriology), what the church should be (ecclesiology), what will happen when we die or at the end of the age (eschatology), etc. Obviously combinations of these are theological passages also.
B. Recognizing a Theological Passage
1. In a typical NT letter, the letter genre is composed of several subunits (Ryken, Words of Life, 92):
Opening (sender, adressee, greeting)
Closing (final greetings, benediction)
2. A theological passage is most likely to be located in the body of a letter, though Paul sometimes gets in some theological material even in the "sender" subunit! (Rom 1:2-6)
3. Paul, especially, tends to organize his letters with a more theological emphasis in the body, separating the practical material out into the exhortation section.
C. Exegeting a Theological Passage
see Fee, NT Exegesis, 25-50
1. Items shared with any NT genre
a. Read the context.
best to read the entire document in one sitting if possible
b. Try to figure out where the passage begins and ends.
c. Make an initial translation, noting ambiguities in key words, and variant readings in the Greek text.
d. How do the sentences fit together?
see the discussion in Fee, NT Exegesis, 60-77
e. Analyze the grammar and significant words.
f. Research the historical-cultural background.
2. Items more specific to letters
a. Sender, receiver(s)
b. What part of letter is passage in?
c. What particular situation in view?
(1) letter as a whole?
(2) passage in particular?
d. What do the details and key words and phrases in our passage tell us about what the author is saying?
e. What seems to be the main point the author is making?
f. What is the logical flow of the author's argument? How is he going about making his main and secondary points?
3. Back to more general items
a. How does all this fit into the broader biblical and theological context?
b. What do other commentators have to say about this passage?
c. Now that you've done all this, how does this amend your original translation?
d. What applications do you see for us today in this passage?
e. Pull all this together for your sermon, Bible study,
VII. Mid-Term Exam
No, this is not the exam. But we will try to give you some information on what to study and how. This material is especially designed for the mid-term, but should be helpful for the final exam as well (with suitable modifications), and more generally for studying other courses.
A. How to Study
The following is a list of items which, if you do them, will surely improve your grade in this or any course. They are taken from the October 1994 issue of The Teaching Professor. Even if (due to other responsibilities) you don't have time to do all of these, there are some that take no extra time (## 3-7) and will pay real dividends.
1. I read the assigned reading before we cover that material in class.
2. I allow enough time for reading the assigned material so that I can read it slowly and thoughtfully.
3. I read to understand, because I really want to know the subject we are studying.
4. I attend class regularly and am rarely or never late.
5. I sit near the front of class, so that I feel like a participant, not merely an observer.
6. I take notes on virtually everything said or discussed in class.
7. I ask questions in class until the subject being covered is clear in my mind.
8. I get together with several others in the course to review readings and lecture notes 2 or 3 days prior to the exam.
9. I get a good night's sleep (7 or 8 hours) prior to the day of the exam.
B. What to Study
1. Study the "Contents & Outline" pages in the front of the printed notes (pp 2-5). They were especially designed to give you an overview of the course.
2. Study the headings in the notebook below the level of those in the "Contents & Outline" above. They will help to fill in some detail on the framework provided by the outline.
3. Read over the notebook (sections I through VI) at least a couple of times, using a highlighter to mark what appear to be significant points. Don't mark everything; that just wastes time!
4. About two-thirds of the exam points will be multiple-choice, short-answer, or matching, the other third will be essay. Try to see what sorts of material would make a good essay, and what is more likely to be short-answer or such. Here working with some other students in the class can be very profitable.
5. Regarding memorization, I don't think that is the best strategy for seminary-level courses. Try to understand what is being talked about in each section of the notes. Try to visualize the history, the arguments, etc. But don't assume just having a general idea of what the course is about will identify dates or persons for you!
VIII. Gentile Background to the New Testament
1. The Greek Language
Traceable back to before 1400 BC, the Greek language was spread all over the Middle East by the conquests of Alexander the Great, 333-323 BC, and by the subsequent colonization started by him and continued by his successors, the Seleucids (Syria and Asia Minor) and the Ptolemies (Egypt). Greek quickly became the language of international trade, and the language of the upwardly mobile, since it was the Greek city-states in this area that had the wealth, power, and influence.
With the Greek language came Greek culture, as sketched below. Since the Greek word for Greece is "Hellas," the Greek verb for "to live like a Greek" was "Hellenizein." "Hellenism" is the name for the Greek culture as it is appropriated by non-Greeks, and "Hellenist" is apparently the term used to designate non-Greeks who had adopted Greek culture to a significant extent.
2. Greek Religion
The Greeks believed in and worshipped many gods and goddesses, of whom the best known are probably Zeus, Apollo, Athena, Aphrodite, Artemis and Poseidon. The deities were viewed as immortal but not having always existed; as powerful, but not omnipotent. The gods knew everything about what humans were doing, but were capable of tricking and deceiving one another. Though they expected good behavior on the part of humans, they were also sometimes cruel and brutal.
Each god or goddess had certain realms in which they were especially powerful. Zeus was god of weather, Poseidon of the sea, Athena of wisdom and craftsmanship, etc. A human who has going to be involved in one of these realms had better be sure he was on the good side of the god or goddess who ruled it. Sacrifice was the way to get a god on your side; as one Greek proverb said, "Gifts persuade the gods." The various Greek city-states typically viewed one of the gods or goddesses as their own particular protector. Athena (naturally) was so viewed by Athens, Poseidon by Corinth, Artemis by Ephesus.
Morality was not typically a strong point with the Greek deities, and this came to be viewed as something of a scandal by some of the Greek philosophers. Given the sexual escapades reported of Zeus in Greek mythology, it is no wonder that the Greco-Roman world had such low standards of sexual behavior. Most worshippers of the Greek gods and goddesses seem to have viewed them as forces to be placated in order to get on with one's own life, rather than as models for behavior and beings worthy of dedication of one's whole being.
Syncretism, the mixing of elements between religions, is common among polytheistic religions, and those of Greece and Rome were no exception. The chief Greek god Zeus came to be identified with the Roman Jupiter (and the Syrian Baal), Aprodite with Venus, Artemis with Diana, etc. Other deities were being imported from Egypt and the East even during the first century AD.
The mode of worship in Greece (and Rome) seems to be quite ancient, sharing some features with OT worship, and so probably going back to the Flood at least. The temple is viewed as the god's or goddess' house; sacrifice is food offered to the deity; a special priesthood is necessary to take care of the temple and to see that rituals are performed properly.
3. Greek Philosophy
One of the unique features of Greek culture was their interest in philosophy, literally "love of wisdom." In actual usage the term meant an attempt to understand ultimate reality without recourse to religion. This activity may have had its roots in near eastern wisdom traditions, but the earliest known practitioners were the pre-Socratic philosophers in the Greek cities of Asia Minor (6th cen BC): Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes and Anaxagoras.
The best-known Greek philosophers are Socrates, his disciple Plato, and his disciple Aristotle (400s-300s BC). Plato founded the Platonic school of philosophy and Aristotle the Peripatetic, but by NT times these had been eclipsed by two other schools, the Stoics and the Epicureans, mentioned in Acts 17:18.
The Stoics inclined toward belief in a single God, who filled the universe with purpose. A spark of the divine existed in every person, so that all shared a common brotherhood, including barbarians, women and slaves. The Stoic ideal was to live a life of virtue no matter what misfortune should come one's way. Stoicism caught on at Rome, and became the dominant view among philosophically-inclined Romans.
The Epicureans were considered atheists by many of the ancients (though so were the Christians!). They believed that matter was the ultimate reality; that the soul dies with the body; that the gods exist, but are made of a special sort of matter, and have no interest in the affairs of humanity. The chief goal of Epicureans was to life a life untroubled by pain or worry, and they sought to achieve this by avoiding any desires that they could not satisfy.
4. The Greek City
Unlike most ancient societies, the basic political unit of the ancient Greeks was the city, each functioning as a separate state until the conquest of Greece by Philip and Alexander the Great. This was apparently due to Greece having no large agricultural areas or unifying features like a major river and their having rejected kingship early in their history. The upshot was that rule was local, sometimes by an aristocracy, later by democracies or a small clique.
The population of a city consisted of full citizens (whose adult males had a voice in local affairs), other residents (whether local or foreign), and slaves. The idea of citizenship rights and responsibilities, and of local pride, became strong in such a context. Many cities, as their population became too large to be supported by the surrounding croplands, sent out colonists to start new cities elsewhere, and the home city became the metropolis (mother city).
The idea of the Greek city was spread into the East with the conquests of Alexander. The Seleucids, especially, founded cities as control points to unify their empire, and these quickly became the dominant commercial sites. With the Greek cities came numerous Hellenizing influences.
5. Greek Art, Rhetoric, Literature
The Greek "golden age" is commonly associated with Athens in the period 450-400 BC. Under the direction of the gifted ruler Pericles and with significant funds coming in from the Athenian-dominated Delian League, the arts reached a height in Athens almost unprecedented in world history. Gifted sculptors and painters abounded; the marvelous architecture of the Acropolis was built; historians, poets, and dramatists wrote; orators developed their skills to a high level. There work came to be considered classic by the Greeks in the following centuries, and had great influence among the Romans at NT times, and among Europeans even to this day.
6. Greek Athletics
Greek athletics is somewhat familiar to most of us today as a result of the revival of the Olympic games at the end of the 19th century. Though most societies have used athletics as a way to train and maintain physical strength for warfare, the Greeks developed athletic contests to a high level.
By NT times, there were four main competitive meets which had been in existence for several centuries, two of which met every four years (Olympic and Pythian games) and two every two years (Isthmian and Nemean games). Besides these, most major cities held games every year or so, and there were many professional athletes who competed in them.
The main events were various types of footraces, ranging from a dash the length of the stadium (c200 yd) to a race of about 3 miles. [The marathon was not an ancient event.] Besides racing, there was the discus throw, the javelin, the broad jump, boxing (no gloves, more like brass knuckles!), (Greco-Roman) wrestling, the pankration (wrestling with hitting), and the pentathlon (fr, bj, d, j, w). Paul on occasion makes use of figures drawn from athletics.
Rome developed the chariot race (see Ben Hur) and human combats (gladiators) as even more exciting spectator sports.
B. The Roman Empire
1. The Emperor
The office of emperor as the chief executive officer of the Roman empire was developed by Augustus during his long reign (31 BC-AD 14). It was a position of absolute authority, though nominally much of the rule was conducted with the approval of the Senate (the old ruling council of elders for the city).
The Latin word "imperator" means one who has power of life and death, but the emperor could also delegate this power to his governors in the provinces.
Augustus was also called "Caesar," which at first meant nothing more than (adopted) son of Julius Caesar, but came to be one of the distinct titles of the emperor.
"Augustus" was also a title (his original name was Octavian) meaning "revered one." This came close to being a divine title, and the emperor was worshipped as a god in many of the provinces.
The Roman emperor was by far the wealthiest person in the empire.
2. The Empire
The empire consisted of Rome (the capital city), Italy (a rather privileged region), client states (that had allied themselves with Rome and were ruled by native rulers), and the provinces (literally, regions previously conquered). The provinces were ruled by governors sent out from Rome either by the emperor (if they were border regions or in danger of revolt) or by the Senate (if they were safe, interior provinces). Egypt was virtually the private property of the emperor because a safe supply of grain was necessary to feed the poorer classes in Rome.
3. The Army
The Roman army had originally been a citizen army, called up in emergencies to defend Rome. By NT times it was a full-time professional army made up mostly of non-Romans. But a veteran of 20 years' service was retired as a full Roman citizen, with a bonus of more than 10 years' pay and a plot of land. His descendants would thereafter be Romans.
In AD 23, the Roman army consisted of 25 legions (4800 infantry and 120 cavalry each), for a total army of less than 125,000 men (plus auxiliary units), rather small for the size of the empire they controlled. The discipline, training and organization of the army was superb and there were no armies that could match them during the first three centuries of the empire.
The Roman tax system consisted of both direct and indirect taxes. The indirect taxes C e.g., sales, harbor and inheritance taxes C were paid by (virtually) all inhabitants of the empire. Roman citizens, however, were exempt from the direct taxes, which were paid by non-citizens who lived in the provinces. These consisted of a land tax for those who owned land and a head tax for those who didn't. Censuses established the population of a province and thus the amount of tax that the governor must collect. In NT times the tax rates were not excessive (by modern standards), though they got worse and worse to the end of the empire. During the 1st century AD the privilege of collecting taxes was sold to the highest bidders, who were given a rather free hand, leading to considerable corruption and a strong hatred for tax collectors.
5. The People
Outside of Rome, Roman citizenship was a high privilege, as we see in the exchange between Paul and the military commander in Acts 22:22-29. It conferred exemption from certain taxes and the right of appeal to Caesar. Otherwise, non-citizens retained whatever class structure existed in each particular region, with large disparities in wealth and influence between upper and lower classes, and a large underclass of slaves.
In Rome, many very poor people might yet be Roman citizens, as they had been born into the lower classes of the city. Yet as citizens, they were exempt from direct taxes, eligible for the public dole of food given out by the emperor, and were entertained by the various public shows provided ("bread and circuses"). In principle they were far above the resident foreigners and slaves, though in practice this was not necessarily so, as the dole and entertainment tended to undercut any incentive to labor.
The upper classes of Rome consisted of the emperor and his family on top, the Senatorial order next, and the Equestrian order (also called Knights) below them. The Knights often became very wealthy because they were permitted to engage in business but the Senators were not.
Slavery was widespread C perhaps 1/3 of the population of Rome was in slavery C and the slaves had virtually no civil rights. In practice, some slaves were treated well, and the slaves of a wealthy family might easily have far more privilege and power than poorer citizens. It was not uncommon for slaves to be freed, either at the death of their master, or by purchasing their freedom in one way or another.
The empire made the Mediterranean and its connecting seas safe from piracy. Transport by sea was far more convenient than land transport, but the technology of shipbuilding in the ancient world was such that sea travel was not safe during the winter months.
The Romans by the end of the 1st cen AD had built some ¼ million miles of paved roads, forming a network converging on Rome. The roads were laid as straight as possible, cutting into hills and bridging over valleys. The roads had curbs, with excellent paving 3-5 feet thick, using stone and concrete. They were narrow by our standards, with four "lanes" each about 8 feet wide.
Roman bridges were one of important uses of the arch, an architectural device developed by the Romans.
7. Roman Coinage
usually dated by consulate of reigning emperor
obverse (front) usually ruling emperor
reverse usually a deity or personification
coin inscriptions rather standard, e.g.:
TI CAESAR DIVI AUG F AUGUSTUS / PONTIF MAXIM
Tiberius Caesar, Son of Divine Augustus, Augustus /
Pontifex Maximus (chief priest of Roman religion)
IMP CAES VESPASIAN AUG PM TRP PP COS III / IUDAIA CAPTA
Emperor Caesar Vespasian Augustus, Pontifex Maximus,
Tribunican Power, Father of the Fatherland, 3rd Consulate / Judaea taken captive
denarius of Tiberius (obv: Tiberius; rev: Livia? Vestal Virgin?) (above); prob this is the tribute money of Matt 22:19
sestertius of Vespasian (obv: Vespasian; rev: Judaea, soldier?) (below)
IX. Paul's Middle Epistles and His Soteriology
A. 1 & 2 Corinthians
1. The city of Corinth
‑Until c100 years ago, sailing technology did not enable
boats to sail more than 5‑10 degrees into the wind.
‑Since the prevailing winds on the Mediterranean are from
the west, it was quite difficult to sail west, especially
near land (where tacking was dangerous).
‑Thus from pre‑classical times (c600 BC), ship traffic west
often took the shortcut across the isthmus at Corinth,
instead of sailing around the peninsula.
‑Hence Corinth was a natural spot for a port city.
‑Corinth itself was at the center of the isthmus with
satellite port cities on each side: East ‑‑> Cenchraea
(Acts 18:18; Rom 16:1); West ‑‑> Lechaeum.
‑Due to rebellion by Corinth, the Romans completely
destroyed Corinth when they came through in 146 BC
(making the city an example, like Carthage).
‑The city was rebuilt in 46 BC by the Romans and became
a major prosperous city for eastern trade.
‑The present ruins show almost exclusively Roman
inscriptions and architecture; only the temple of
Apollo is left from before 146 BC.
‑Corinth became the capital of the province of Achaia.
‑Due to the mixing of cultures and its transient population,
Corinthians saw differences in rules and concluded that
none were absolute. Corinth thus became famous for its
immorality and loose living in a not very moral empire.
‑The temple to Aphrodite had "legalized" prostitution.
2. The church in Corinth
‑Was founded by Paul on his 2nd MJ, after he came down from Athens (Acts 18:1‑18).
‑He began preaching in the synagogue (standard method).
‑When resistance reached a certain level (nonbelievers began blaspheming Jesus),
Paul moved to the house of Justus next door (!).
‑God encourages him (18:9‑10). Paul was probably worried about being run out of town as
had happened often before.
‑Perhaps Paul at this time made a vow asking for God's protection (18:18).
‑The attempt of the Jews to have Paul punished by Gallio fails (18:12‑16).
‑Paul remains in Corinth 18 months, working and living with Aquila and Priscilla part of
‑When Paul leaves to head for Jerusalem and Antioch, A & P accompany him to Ephesus;
the follow up work at Corinth is continued by Apollos (18:24‑28).
3. Background to 1 Corinthians
‑From Corinth, Paul goes to Ephesus ‑> Jerusalem ‑> Antioch, which ends the 2nd MJ.
‑After some time, begins 3rd MJ: revisits churches of 1st MJ (?) (i.e. Galatia, Phrygia),
then to Ephesus for 3 years.
‑At Ephesus, Paul had contact with Corinth by sea travel, letters, delegations
(apparently made a quick trip himself).
‑Paul apparently wrote a letter to Corinth before 1 Cor.: 1 Cor. 5:9 "I wrote you in my letter ..."
‑Appears to point back to an earlier letter (on Christians living immorally)
which we do not have. Looks like they misunderstood this earlier reference.
4. Occasion of 1 Corinthians
‑Paul has received a letter from Corinth, is answering it.
Starting in ch. 7, he turns from things he has heard about them (via delegations or messengers)
to their letter:
7:1 "Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a
‑The subsequent "now concerning" (¹ερί δ“) markers which follow this one probably also
relate to written questions:
7:25 They asked about virgins in relationship to marriage.
8:1 Probably asked about relation to idols.
12:1 Deals with spiritual gifts.
‑Paul probably quotes their remarks in places and corrects them: "'All things are lawful' .. but
all do not edify."
‑Besides letter, Paul had received some people from Corinth.
1:11 Chloe's people (slaves/employees from her household).
‑1 Cor. 1‑5 app responds to their report.
16:17 "the coming of Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus"
‑May or may not be the same as "Chloe's people".
‑Probably an official delegation since 16:15‑16 imply they are leaders
in the church.
‑"Supplied" => gift, news, fellowship?
‑Paul had been in Ephesus for a while, Corinthians had problems so had sent a letter and at
least one delegation to Paul, which he responded to.
5. Sketch Outline of 1 Corinthians (scale: "|" = 1 chapter)
Problems re/ | Divisions | 1‑4
| Incest | 5
| Lawsuits | 6
| Marriage | 7
| Food offered to idols | 8‑10
Misuses of | Lord's Supper | 11
| Spiritual Gifts | 12‑14
Heresy re/ | Resurrection | 15
Closing | Collect for Jerusalem | 16
In both chapters 8‑10 and 12‑14, it looks like the middle chapters, 9 and 13, are discussing
different topics, but they are actually making very relevant points regarding the main
topic in view.
‑In ch 9, Paul gave up what was legally his in order not to offend anyone. The Corinthians
should do the same thing with respect to foods offered to idols and other matters.
‑In 13, love is the key spiritual gift, not tongues.
6. Background of 2 Corinthians
Paul had intended to send Timothy to Corinth (1 Cor.16:10f).
‑Timothy was probably to check on things in Corinth, but Paul feared that Timothy was not up
to it (timid, youthful).
‑We do not know if he got there or how he made out, but probably did not go well if he went.
‑In 2 Cor., Titus (not mentioned in Acts or 1 Cor., but apparently an older, more mature
believer) is the liason and there are still troubles.
Some difficulty has arisen in the church regarding an offender (2 Cor. 2:6‑7).
‑Possibly the same person in 1 Cor.5 concerning incest.
‑Perhaps the ringleader of an opposition group (Judaizers?) as in 2 Cor. 10‑13. Don't know for
Paul, to try to deal with problem, had sent a severe letter.
‑Then he sent Titus who does not come back when expected.
‑Then, being very concerned and restless, Paul goes to Macedonia to meet Titus halfway.
‑Titus has a favorable report, mentioned in 2 Cor. 2 and 7.
2:5‑11 shows that problems have been basically cleared up by the time Paul wrote 2 Cor.
‑After writing 2 Cor., Paul goes down to Corinth, winters there (AD 57‑58) and writes Romans.
‑Paul having time to write, and the calm character of Romans suggests that the Corinthian
situation had stablized.
Summary of Paul's letters (L) and visits (V) to Corinth.
51‑53 V 1 Founds church, spends 1.5 years there (Acts 18)
L 1 Lost "separation" letter (1 Cor. 5:9)
L 2 1 Corinthians
V 2 Painful visit (largely unknown)
‑Appears to be personal visit to solve problem of offender, but without desired result.
2 Cor. 2:1 "I would not come to you in sorrow again."
2 Cor. 13:1‑2 "This is the third time I am coming to you."
L 3 Letter of Many Tears
2 Cor. 2:3‑4,9; 7:8 ‑ Paul wondered if he had been too strong, but was happy with
‑Some think this is 1 Cor., but it is not "many tears" (cf. 2 Cor. 2:1) or as "strong"
as 2 Cor.
‑So this letter is probably lost.
57 L 4 2 Corinthians, written in Macedonia.
57‑58 V 3 Winter visit, 3 months, 2 Cor.13:1‑2, Acts 20:2‑3 writes Romans.
Alternative arrangement identifying 1 Cor. as Letter of Tears:
V 1 ‑ same
L 1 ‑ same (lost)
V 2 ‑ same
L 2 ‑ 1 Cor.
L 3 ‑ 2 Cor.
V 3 ‑ same
7. Sketch Outline of 2 Corinthians (scale: "|" = 1 chapter)
| Paul's defense of |
| his ministry | 1‑6
| Joy at their repentence | 7 also in ch. 1 and 2
| Collect for Jerusalem | 8‑9
| Judaizers Answered | 10‑12 (note 11:22ff)
| Coming Visit | 13
Reason for collection: Apparently the Jerusalem Council had asked Paul not to forget the Jews
when he ministered to the Gentiles. He agreed to help the poor people in Jerusalem.
Possibly they were poor due to economic persecution.
8. Integrity of 2 Corinthians
This is not a question of authorship, but a matter of whether the form we have is the original
form of the letter.
‑Few deny that 2 Cor. is by Paul (it is the most personal of his church letters).
‑But many liberals feel some sections are parts of the lost letters L1 and L3.
a. 6:14‑7:1 is viewed as part of L1 mentioned in 1 Cor. 5:9.
‑Deals with separation, matching description in 1 Cor. 5:9.
‑Looks as if it interrupts the context of 6:11‑13 and 7:2 which refers to opening their hearts.
‑It must have been accidentally inserted.
Problems with this view:
1) No textual support: all texts have this passage in this place.
2) No statements from antiquity (Jerome, Origen) that this passage was not in some
3) Must assume that this got in so early that no church father outside of Corinth knew about it.
4) Must assume some copyist was dumb enough to accidently insert a page/paragraph at this
‑Why the material would be placed here is not obvious.
5) What we have of the content of the real separation letter does not fit with this passage.
‑1 Cor. 5:9 says not to associate with people who claim to be Christians, but their lives don't
‑2 Cor. 6:14f says not to have religious associations with unbelievers who are involved in
idolatry (false worship).
‑So these are not the same topic; thus only speculation that they refer to the same letter.
‑There are other Pauline digressions which can be omitted and a smooth, coherent discussion
remains: 1 Cor. 12‑14 has a long digression about love (ch. 13).
b. 2 Corinthians 10‑13
‑Paul here is speaking against his opponents (probably Judaizers).
‑The shift in tone between 1‑9 and 10‑13 is fairly sharp:
1‑9 expresses relief and thanksgiving, 10‑13 is stern.
‑Thus some see 10‑13 as (part of) the "letter of many tears" (L3) mentioned in 2 Cor. 2:4,
which was very severe.
‑However, Paul is a man of many moods; such tone changes can be detected elsewhere. Since
the letter is long, it probably was not dictated all at one sitting.
‑Perhaps Paul, reflecting over 1‑9, or receiving some fresh news from Corinth, may have
realized that a stronger note was necessary as there were still problems to deal with.
‑There is no manuscript evidence or ancient witnesses which show that 2 Cor. 10‑13 was
missing or added on later.
‑Have only the internal evidence of a tone change.
‑To propose that some dumb scribe dropped assorted pages and confused their order => neither
he nor anyone else knew the correct order.
‑Also, scrolls app were used until c100 AD, so the original and early copies would not likely
have page problems.
1. Order in the New Testament: first of the letters
‑The order of NT books is broadly chronological:
Gospels, Acts, Epistles (writings of Apostles), Revelation
‑The order within these subheadings is more elusive:
Gospels: most to least like the OT, Jewish ideas.
Matt.: genealogies, Messiah; John: implications for Xians
Epistles: Pauline to non‑Pauline, where Hebrews (disputed authorship regarding Paul)
is placed at boundary.
-Within Pauline Epistles order is not chronological, perhaps topical:
a. Are roughly ordered by length, tho letters to the same recipients kept together
‑p46 (Chester Beatty) has Hebrews within the Paul group in order of length:
Rom, Heb, Cor, Gal, ....
b. Romans may be first as it gives the most systematic presentation of the Gospel,
opening up the whole revelation.
c. Romans is probably most important book of group, influencing:
Wesley (Great Awakening),
Barth (partial restoration of gospel in liberalism).
2. The City of Rome
‑Was the capital of the "world" (Roman Empire).
‑Its population of 1 million was about the most possible without better technology
(sanitation, mass transit, water, etc.).
‑Empire had an excellent road system.
‑Capital was a parasite city. In the previous century it had local farmland, but by NT times it
had overgrown this and now relied on imports.
‑About half the population were slaves; the poorer citizens were on welfare
(the emperor provided grain from Egypt and entertainment, "bread and circuses").
3. The Church in Rome
‑We don't know how or when the church was founded. Various suggestions:
1) by Jewish Christians returning from Pentecost (Acts 2:10‑11).
2) by travelers before 50 AD (Suetonius re/ "Chrestus"; Priscilla and Aquila from Rome,
with no indication that they were converted by Paul, Acts 18:2).
3) by Peter, who went to Rome in 42‑43 AD.
‑This is the RC view, supported by Eusebius, Jerome (citing Acts 12:17);
Irenaeus comments "Peter and Paul were in Rome founding the church ..."
‑In antiquity, "founding" could mean to reorganize, as well as to start from scratch
(Alexander & successors founded many Greek cities in the East).
‑Clearly the church existed before Paul got there (cf. Romans), but we are not sure
when Peter came.
‑Peter probably was at Rome, but not for 20 years as Bishop before Paul arrived.
‑Paul does not greet Peter in Romans.
‑The nonchristian Jews in Rome have barely heard of Christianity, which is strange if
Peter has been there (cf. Acts 28:21‑22).
Newman's view: Christians (from Pentecost and/or others who traveled there) started the
church before 50 AD. It was disrupted when Jews expelled (Acts 18:2),
tho Gentile Xns may have remained. It was apparently weak and spotty until Paul
and Peter arrived. Irenaeus' remark would refer to Peter and Paul getting the church
organized again with officers, etc.
b. Character of the church
‑Not much information.
‑Evidence from the catacombs shows there were many Jewish people in Rome, so the church
could have any ratio of Jew and Gentile.
‑We estimate from letter to Romans that the church was mainly Gentile, but had a strong
minority of influential Jewish Xians:
1:13 "among the rest of the Gentiles" => mainly Gentile.
11:13‑24 has many references to Gentiles.
‑Fits the usual procedure of branching out from synagogues.
2:17‑25 aims at the Jews in or in contact with the church.
‑The Jews had been forced out of Rome in 49 AD, but probably started to return
after 54 AD (when Claudius, who expelled them, died).
‑Several named in the greetings (ch 16) are Jewish:
Priscilla, Aquila (v.3); Andronicus and Junias (v.7) and Herodion (v.11)
are called Paul's kinsmen.
-R.A. Peterson suggests weak/strong distinction of Rom 14 is Jew/Gentile distinction
re/ non-kosher meat.
4. Date and Place of Writing Romans
a. Place: From Corinth
‑Paul sketches his future plans in Rom 15:14ff.
‑Has finished work in the East (from Palestine to Greece and Macedonia) and is getting ready
to head to Jerusalem with the collection at the end of the 3rd MJ.
‑Paul is aware of possible dangers in Judea.
‑Towards end of 3rd MJ, Paul was mainly in Ephesus, then went up and around to Corinth.
‑Concluding that Paul wrote from Corinth comes from names of 3 members of the Corinthian
church in the greetings, Rom 15‑16:
Phoebe (16:1), deaconess from Cenchrea, east port of Cor.;
Gaius (16:23), mentioned in 1 Cor. 1:14;
Erastus (16:23), the city treasurer (have evidence of pavement in Corinth laid by
Erastus the aedile).
‑Have greetings to Priscilla and Aquila (16:3), who were known at Corinth.
-During the winter months before taking the offering to Jerusalem.
‑Note references to a collection in Rom. 15:25‑26, 1 Cor 16 and 2 Cor 9.
‑This period is probably referred to in Acts 20:2‑3.
‑Probably written during the winter of 57‑58 AD.
5. Occasion of Romans
a. Future visit. Paul planned to pass through Rome on the way to Spain (15:22ff). These plans
were altered by his imprisonment, tho he finally reaches Rome in Acts 28.
b. Phoebe is going. A recommendation for her and a good opportunity to send a letter.
c. Clarify Gospel. Paul takes the opportunity to outline the fundamental doctrines of
Christianity, perhaps in view of the possibility that he may not reach Rome (15:30‑32;
cp. Acts 20:22‑24, 21:11‑14) due to the dangers in Jerusalem.
6. Sketch Outline of Romans (scale: "|" = 1 chapter)
adapted from Walter Wessel, NIV Study Bible:
| Intro & Theme | 1:1‑17
| Unrighteousness of | 1:18‑3:20
| All Mankind |
| God's Righteousness | 3:21‑5:21
| Imputed: Justificatn |
| God's Righteousness | chs 6-8
|Imparted: Sanctificatn |
| God's Righteousness |
| Vindicated: Prob of | 9‑11
| Israel's Rejection |
| God's Righteousness | 12‑15:13
| Practiced by Believrs |
| Conclusion | 15:14-33
| Greetings | ch 16
7. The Integrity of Romans
a. Omission of chs. 15‑16
Origen says Marcion modified his NT so that it did not have Romans 15‑16.
‑We have no extant manuscripts without these chapters.
‑Not much attention would be given this except for:
b. Variant locations of doxology, 16:25‑27
1) Some mss omit doxology.
2) Some include at end of ch. 14 (Byzantine lectionaries).
3) p46 has it at end of ch. 15.
‑See Metzger's Textual Commentary at 14:23 for discussion.
c. Theories of a Shorter Original
1) Only chs. 1‑14 are original.
‑Not widely held, even by liberals, because the break between 14 and 15 is strange:
the first half of ch. 15 is strongly tied to ch. 14.
‑There are some things in ch. 15 that Marcion would not like, so he might have removed both
chapters. 15 and 16.
‑Most who support this view claim that Paul made 2 eds., adding chs. 15‑16 himself.
2) Ch. 16 was originally part of an Ephesian letter.
‑Baur held that a version of Romans was sent to Ephesus and ch. 16 is a letter of
commendation of Phoebe added to the Ephesus copy.
‑Baur argued that orthodox view had Paul knowing too many people in Rome (c25 by name)
if he had never been there.
‑But given the importance of Rome and ease of travel, Paul could have known 25 people
from his churches who had moved there.
‑Baur: Priscilla and Aquila were left in Ephesus in Acts and are also there in Timothy
(2 Tim 4:19). Why should we think they went to Rome in between?
d. Suggested Solution
1) Textual problem of doxology may reflect lectionary‑type practices.
‑Most lectionaries include the doxology at end of ch. 14.
‑Was Jewish and Christian practice to read scripture as part of the service. Was important
because people did not have their own copies.
‑Jewish practice: have passage end on positive note.
e.g. For end of Malachi, went back and read a blessing from earlier in the book.
‑Perhaps there was a similar practice in Christian circles.
Greetings and travel plans were omitted since they did not particularly edify those who did
not know the people.
2) Did Romans end at ch. 14?
‑Possibly a shorter version was circulating early, but more likely that Marcion shortened it
(Origen) like he edited Luke's gospel.
‑No extant manuscripts lack chs. 15‑16.
3) Paul's greetings to 25 people.
‑Paul's practice here is like that in Colossians where he greets those he knew.
‑This would be impractical in a church where he had ministered and knew nearly everyone.
‑Paul knew lots of people; many could have traveled or moved to Rome, just as many today
move to NYC.
‑Priscilla and Aquila could have had business in Rome so they would have gone back and
forth from Ephesus.
C. Pauline Soteriology
-The doctrines concerning salvation
-Helpful to see terminology (actually figures) under which Paul develops these matters
a. Man's State:
Child of Adam/Satan ‑ not explicit in Paul, but see 1 Cor 15:22; 2 Cor 11:14
Criminal ‑ Rom 5:16
Darkened ‑ Eph 5:8
Dead ‑ Eph 2:1
Debtor ‑ rare in Paul, Col 2:14
Diseased ‑ not in Paul, but elsewhere in OT, NT
Enemy of God ‑ Rom 5:10
Endangered ‑ Rom 1:18; 9:22
Filthy ‑ 1 Cor 6:11
Slave of sin ‑ Rom 7:14
Unfit ‑ Tit 1:16
b. Man's Salvation: pictured as remedies to above problems:
Salvation, Redemption, Pardon, Justification, Cleansing, Healing, Reconciliation, Adoption, Regeneration, Resurrection, Creation.
2. Pictures of Salvation
a. Salvation: deliverance from danger
delivered from enemies: Eph 5:23; Col 1:13
delivered from wrath: Rom 1:16‑18; 5:9; 1 Th 1:10
Christ takes God's wrath due us: Rom 4:25; 2 Cor 5:21
b. Redemption: purchase from slavery
spiritual slavery: 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23
Christ as ransom price: Eph 1:7; 1 Tim 2:6
c. Pardon: forgiveness of debt
two debtors: Luke 7:41‑43
unmerciful servant: Matt 18:21‑25
cancelling debt: Col 2:14
d. Justification: declared innocent in court
by law: Rom 2:1‑16, esp vv 2,11,13
by grace: Rom 3:19‑31, esp vv 20,24,26
e. Cleansing: washing off dirt
from guilt of sins: 1 Cor 6:9‑11
as bride prepared for Christ: Eph 5:26‑27
by washing of regeneration: Titus 3:5
f. Healing: from disease
sin as disease: Ps 38:1‑8; Isa 1:1‑6; Jer 30:12‑15
healing from sin: 2 Chron 7:14; Ps 41:4; Jer 30:15‑17
Christ the healer: Isa 53:5; 1 Pet 2:24
g. Reconciliation: ceasing to be enemies
sinners as enemies of God:
Ps 2, esp vv 2‑3, 8‑9,10,12: they hate Him, Rom 8:7‑8
Ps 11:5: He hates them
reconciled by Christ: Rom 5:8‑11; 2 Cor 5:18‑20; Eph 2:12‑22; Col 1:20‑22
h. Adoption: of child into family
sinners as someone else's children: Hos 1; Jn 8:31‑47; Eph 2:2‑3; 1 Jn 3:8‑10
adopted by God: Gal 4:5‑7; Rom 8:14‑19,21,29
i. Regeneration: a second birth
unfit by nature: Ps 14:1‑3; Jer 13:23; Rom 3:10‑18
born again: Jer 31:33‑34; Ezk 11:19‑20; Jn 3:3‑8; Tit 3:5‑6
j. Resurrection: from death
sin as death: Prov 2:18; 9:18; Lk 1:79; Rom 8:6; Eph 4:18
raised from dead: Eph 2:1‑7; Col 2:8‑15
k. Creation: a new creature
unfit by nature: see "Regeneration" above
a new creation: Ps 51:10; see Jer 31 and Ezk 11 under ŅRegenerationÓ;
2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Eph 2:10; 4:24; Col 3:9‑10
KEY BIBLICAL WORDS OF SALVATION
Delivered from danger
Enemies; coming wrath
Purchased from slavery
Slavery to sin & Satan
Forgiven a debt
Unpayable debt to God
Freedom from debt
Acquitted in court
Charged with crimes
Takes our punishment
Freedom fr punishment
Washed from dirt
Filthy from sin
His blood cleanses
Restored to cleanliness
Healed from disease
Diseased with sin
Restored to health
Made friends from enemies
Enmity with God
Restored to fellowship
Made son and heir
Child of Adam, Satan
New status, new family
Born a second time
By nature unfit
New life (eternal)
Made alive tho dead
Dead in sin
Raised with Christ
New life (restored)
By nature unfit
SOME ADDITIONAL WORDS RE/ SALVATION
Given what not earned
Sins earns death
Life as gift
Chosen not on merit
Life as privilege
Accepted by sacrifice
Separation from God
Restored to fellowship
Sinful flesh removed
Inherit sin thru flesh
Seed cut off
Washed from sin
Sin as filth
Jesus' baptism, death
Baptized w/ Holy Spirit
Enmity with God
Reconciler, food of meal
X. Exgesis of Controversy Passages
A. What is a Controversy Passage?
1. Obviously, a passage in which some controversy is the major feature. That is, some dispute is being argued for the benefit of the reader.
2. In the Acts or Gospels, this might be a narrative, or a dialogue, or a speech. In the Epistles, it will only rarely be narrative (e.g., Gal 2:11ff) because the NT letters have so little narrative material. It may be an imaginary dialogue, where the writer is stating and responding to possible (or real) objections from opponents (e.g., Rom 6:1ff; 1 Cor 15:35ff; Jas 4:13ff). Most commonly, though, in a letter, it will be an exposition or monologue responding to some error or threat from which the writer is concerned to protect his hearers.
B. Identifying a Controversy Passage
1. Controversy passages are commonly a subclass of theological passages. They differ from other theological passages in having a sharper, more polemical tone.
2. They deal with subjects that we already know to have been controversial in the early church, either within (e.g., the judaistic controversy, gifts) or with opponents with whom the early church had extensive contact (Jews, pagans).
C. Exegeting a Controversy Passage
1. The considerations listed for "Theological Passages" all apply.
2. In addition, we should particularly consider these:
a. Try to figure out, as best you can, where the opponents are coming from theologically or practically. Test out your ideas on the passage in view (and, with less certainty, to other passages that appear to be dealing with the same opponents).
b. How does the author of our passage respond to the opponents?