pauline-letter

Paul did not write Acts but part of his ministry history is contained in it.
(John Lathrop)

In this brief article I would like to speak to you about reading Paul’s New Testament letters. I am going to suggest that you do something that can enhance your understanding of these documents. Specifically, I want to encourage you to read some relevant background information about Paul’s letters. In order to find this background information you do not need to buy additional books or go to the library.

What you need to do is read the book of Acts. Paul did not write Acts but part of his ministry history is contained in it.In Acts we read the account of how Saul of Tarsus became a believer in Jesus. After this life-changing experience we now know Saul as the apostle Paul. In addition to the account of his coming to faith in Christ we also read about some of Paul’s ministry experiences.

These experiences include the planting of churches. The details that you find in Acts concerning the planting of these churches can in some cases be helpful to you as you read Paul’s letters to the churches in these cities.

In the New Testament Paul wrote letters to a number of churches. For example, he wrote to the churches in Ephesus, Philippi, and Thessalonica. These were not the only churches that Paul wrote to but these are significant to note in order to bring out the point I want to make in this article.

The details of the founding of these churches can be found in Acts 16 (Philippi), 17 (Thessalonica), and 19 (Ephesus). Reading these accounts prior to studying Paul’s letters to these churches is helpful

For example, if you read Acts 19 you will learn how the church in Ephesus was planted.

One important piece of information found in the chapter concerns an image that was located in the city. The city of Ephesus was host to a great idol, Diana or Artemis of the Ephesians. In fact, idolatry was big business in the city; there were craftsmen who made images of the shrine.

The idolatry in the city may have been the reason why the Lord inspired Paul to write Ephesians 6, the great passage about the armor of God. The Ephesians believers were living in the midst of a spiritually hostile situation; they were truly involved in spiritual warfare.

This can be seen not only by the presence of the image in the city but also by the fact that there were exorcists in the city (Acts 19:13). There were people in the city who were bound by evil spirits. However, Paul assured the Ephesian Christians that they could prevail in the midst of the darkness of this environment; they could be victors in Christ.

Here is one more example, in 1 Thessalonians 2:2 Paul writes “We had previously suffered and been insulted in Philippi, as you know, but with the help of our God we dared to tell you his gospel in spite of strong opposition” (NIV).

Acts 16 describes the difficulties that Paul encountered in Philippi and Acts 17 speaks about the strong opposition that he faced in Thessalonica.

These passages give some specifics to help you understand more completely what the challenges in both places were. As the parallel passages in the gospels can help you gain a fuller understanding of events in life of Jesus, so the book of Acts can help give you a fuller understanding of events in Paul’s life and the experiences of the early churches. Avail yourself of all the information that God has given and you will have greater knowledge and understanding.

 

Profile photo of John P. Lathrop - United States
John P. Lathrop - United States

John P. Lathrop is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University, Zion Bible Institute, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary’s Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME). He is an ordained minister with the International Fellowship of Christian Assemblies and has twenty years of pastoral experience.

 

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http://i1.wp.com/beritamujizat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/pauline-letter.jpg?fit=500%2C326http://i1.wp.com/beritamujizat.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/pauline-letter.jpg?resize=500%2C326John P. Lathrop - United StatesKolomTeologiAcy,Bible Study,Pauline LettersPaul did not write Acts but part of his ministry history is contained in it. (John Lathrop) In this brief article I would like to speak to you about reading Paul’s New Testament letters. I am going to suggest that you do something that can enhance your understanding of these documents....Tuliskan Kebenaran, Hasilkan Perubahan