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The Pauline epistles, also called Epistles of Paul or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen books of the New Testament attributed to Paul the Apostle, although the authorship of some is in dispute. Among these letters are some of the earliest extant Christian documents. They provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of early Christianity. As part of the canon of the New Testament, they are foundational texts for both Christian theology and ethics. The Epistle to the Hebrews, although it does not bear his name, was traditionally considered Pauline (although Origen questioned its authorship in the 3rd century C.E.), but from the 16th century onwards opinion steadily moved against Pauline authorship and few scholars now ascribe it to Paul, mostly because it does not read like any of his other epistles in style and content.Most scholars agree that Paul actually wrote seven of the Pauline epistles, but that four of the epistles in Paul's name are pseudepigraphic (Ephesians, First Timothy, Second Timothy, and Titus ) and that two other epistles are of questionable authorship (Second Thessalonians and Colossians). According to some scholars, Paul wrote these letters with the help of a secretary, or amanuensis, who would have influenced their style, if not their theological content.
The Pauline epistles are usually placed between the Acts of the Apostles and the general epistles in modern editions. Most Greek manuscripts, however, place the General epistles first,and a few minuscules (175, 325, 336, and 1424) place the Pauline epistles at the end of the New Testament.
In the order they appear in the New Testament, the Pauline epistles are:
|Romans||Church at Rome||Πρὸς Ῥωμαίους||Epistola ad Romanos||Rom||Ro|
|First Corinthians||Church at Corinth||Πρὸς Κορινθίους Αʹ||Epistola I ad Corinthios||1 Cor||1C|
|Second Corinthians||Church at Corinth||Πρὸς Κορινθίους Βʹ||Epistola II ad Corinthios||2 Cor||2C|
|Galatians||Church at Galatia||Πρὸς Γαλάτας||Epistola ad Galatas||Gal||G|
|Ephesians||Church at Ephesus||Πρὸς Ἐφεσίους||Epistola ad Ephesios||Eph||E|
|Philippians||Church at Philippi||Πρὸς Φιλιππησίους||Epistola ad Philippenses||Phil||Phi|
|Colossians||Church at Colossae||Πρὸς Κολοσσαεῖς||Epistola ad Colossenses||Col||C|
|First Thessalonians||Church at Thessalonica||Πρὸς Θεσσαλονικεῖς Αʹ||Epistola I ad Thessalonicenses||1 Thess||1Th|
|Second Thessalonians||Church at Thessalonica||Πρὸς Θεσσαλονικεῖς Βʹ||Epistola II ad Thessalonicenses||2 Thess||2Th|
|First Timothy||Saint Timothy||Πρὸς Τιμόθεον Αʹ||Epistola I ad Timotheum||1 Tim||1T|
|Second Timothy||Saint Timothy||Πρὸς Τιμόθεον Βʹ||Epistola II ad Timotheum||2 Tim||2T|
|Titus||Saint Titus||Πρὸς Τίτον||Epistola ad Titum||Tit||T|
|Philemon||Saint Philemon||Πρὸς Φιλήμονα||Epistola ad Philemonem||Philem||P|
|Hebrews*||Hebrew Christians||Πρὸς Έβραίους||Epistola ad Hebraeus||Heb||H|
This ordering is remarkably consistent in the manuscript tradition, with very few deviations. The evident principle of organization is descending length of the Greek text, but keeping the four Pastoral epistles addressed to individuals in a separate final section. The only anomaly is that Galatians precedes the slightly longer Ephesians.
In modern editions, the formally anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews is placed at the end of Paul's letters and before the General epistles. This practice was popularized through the 4th century Vulgate by Jerome, who was aware of ancient doubts about its authorship, and is also followed in most medieval Byzantine manuscripts with hardly any exceptions.
The placement of Hebrews among the Pauline epistles is less consistent in the manuscripts:
|36||(31-36 AD: conversion of Paul)|
|50||First Epistle to the Thessalonians|
|51||Second Epistle to the Thessalonians|
|53||Epistle to the Galatians|
|54||First Epistle to the Corinthians|
|55||Epistle to the Philippians|
|Epistle to Philemon|
|56||Second Epistle to the Corinthians|
|57||Epistle to the Romans|
|62||Epistle to the Colossians|
|Epistle to the Ephesians|
|64||First Epistle to Timothy|
|Second Epistle to Timothy|
|Epistle to Titus|
|67||(64-67 AD: death of Paul)|
In all of these epistles except the Epistle to the Hebrews, the author and writer does claim to be Paul. However, the contested letters may have been written using Paul's name, as it was common to attribute at that point in history.
Seven letters (with consensus dates)considered genuine by most scholars:
The letters on which scholars are about evenly divided:
The letters thought to be pseudepigraphic by about 80% of scholars (traditional dating given):
Finally, Epistle to the Hebrews, though anonymous and not really in the form of a letter, has long been included among Paul's collected letters, but most scholars now regard it as not written by Paul.
Paul's own writings are often thought to indicate several of his letters that have not been preserved:
The first collection of the Pauline epistles is believed to be that of Marcion of Sinope in the early 2nd century,although it is possible that Paul first collected his letters for publication himself. It was normal practice in Paul's time for letter-writers to keep one copy for themselves and send a second copy to the recipient(s); surviving collections of ancient letters sometimes originated from the senders' copies, other times from the recipients' copies. Paul's collection circulated separately from other early Christian writings and was later added to the New Testament.
The Epistle to the Ephesians, also called the Letter to the Ephesians and often shortened to Ephesians, is the tenth book of the New Testament. Its authorship has traditionally been attributed to Paul the Apostle but starting in 1792, this has been challenged as Deutero-Pauline, that is, written in Paul's name by a later author strongly influenced by Paul's thought, probably "by a loyal disciple to sum up Paul’s teaching and to apply it to a new situation fifteen to twenty-five years after the Apostle’s death".
The Epistle to the Galatians, often shortened to Galatians, is the ninth book of the New Testament. It is a letter from Paul the Apostle to a number of Early Christian communities in Galatia. Scholars have suggested that this is either the Roman province of Galatia in southern Anatolia, or a large region defined by an ethnic group of Celtic people in central Anatolia.
The Epistle of Paul to the Colossians,, is the twelfth book of the New Testament. It was written, according to the text, by Paul the Apostle and Timothy to the Church in Colossae, a small Phrygian city near Laodicea and approximately 100 miles (160 km) from Ephesus in Asia Minor.
The First Epistle to the Thessalonians, commonly referred to as First Thessalonians or 1 Thessalonians, is a Pauline epistle of the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The epistle is attributed to Paul the Apostle, and is addressed to the church in Thessalonica, in modern-day Greece. It is likely the first of Paul's letters, probably written by the end of AD 52.
The Epistle to the Laodiceans is a lost letter of Paul the Apostle, the original existence of which is inferred from an instruction to the congregation in Colossae to send their letter to the believing community in Laodicea, and likewise obtain a copy of the letter "from Laodicea".
And when this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read before the church at Laodicea, and that you yourselves read the letter which will be forwarded from there.
The New Testament is the second part of the Christian biblical canon, the first being the Old Testament. The New Testament discusses the teachings and person of Jesus, as well as events in first-century Christianity. Christians regard both the Old and New Testaments together as sacred scripture.
An epistle is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians are usually referred to as epistles. Those traditionally attributed to Paul are known as Pauline epistles and the others as catholic epistles.
Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed author is not the true author, or a work whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past.
The Pauline epistles are the fourteen books in the New Testament traditionally attributed to Paul the Apostle, although many dispute the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews as being a Pauline epistle.
Frederick Fyvie Bruce, usually cited as F. F. Bruce, was a British biblical scholar who supported the historical reliability of the New Testament. His first book, New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? (1943), was voted by the American evangelical periodical Christianity Today in 2006 as one of the top 50 books "which had shaped evangelicals".
Kai is a conjunction in Greek, Coptic and Esperanto.
Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., was Professor of New Testament and Chair of the Biblical Studies Department at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.
Minuscule 103, ΟΘ28 (Soden), is a Greek minuscule manuscript of the New Testament, on parchment leaves. Palaeographically it has been assigned to the 12th century. The manuscript has complex contents.
Minuscule 455, ΟΘ 41, is a Greek minuscule manuscript of the New Testament, on paper. Palaeographically it has been assigned to the 13th or 14th century. Formerly it was labelled by 85a and 95p.
The Epistle to the Hebrews of the Christian Bible is one of the New Testament books whose canonicity was disputed. Traditionally, Paul the Apostle was thought to be the author. However, since the third century this has been questioned, and the consensus among most modern scholars is that the author is unknown.
The New International Commentary on the New Testament is a series of commentaries in English on the text of the New Testament in Greek. It is published by the William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
The canon of the New Testament is the set of books Christians regard as divinely inspired and constituting the New Testament of the Christian Bible. For most, it is an agreed-upon list of twenty-seven books that includes the Canonical Gospels, Acts, letters of the Apostles, and Revelation. The books of the canon of the New Testament were written before 120 AD.
Colossians 4 is the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Traditionally, it is believed to be written for the church in Colossae by Apostle Paul, with Timothy as his co-author, while he was in prison in Ephesus, although there were debatable charges that it is the work of a secondary imitator or that it was written in Rome. This chapter contains the final exhortations and greetings.
1 Thessalonians 1 is the first chapter of the First Epistle to the Thessalonians in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It is authored by Paul the Apostle, likely written in Corinth in about 50-51 CE for the church in Thessalonica. This chapter contains the prescript and Paul's thanksgiving.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the Bible:
But the first collector of the Pauline Epistles had been Marcion
His thesis is that Paul himself collected and edited some of his own letters. (From the Foreword by Gerd Theissen, University of Heidelberg)