There are thirteen letters supposedly authored by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament. Those that are traditionally Christian tend to hold a different understanding and belief about Paul's writings. Those with a higher critical theological background (formal or not) tends to think differently.
In all the thirteen epistles, the author claims to be Paul. However, there has been some debate concerning the authorship of some of these epistles.
Seven epistles are accepted by higher critical theologians as having been entirely written by Apostle Paul himself. The others are thought to have been written by some of his followers using Paul’s name. We will look at each of these letters individually and see how they are distinct from each other.
Those that are traditional in their beliefs in the bible as being the inerrant Word of God will say that all of the writings that are attributed to him are under his authorship and are perfectly inspired. Understandably, it would be difficult to concede on this issue for those that are in this court.
How is authorship determined? For those that believe Paul wrote all thirteen letters it is a manner of belief and faith. The burden of proof lies with those of the affirmative. Unfortunately, there are no external individuals or documents that could assuredly testify to those six letters authenticity.
Romans is the sixth book of the New Testament and it was written by Paul while he was in Corinth about 57 AD.He was writing to the Christian church in Rome, preparing them for his first visit to the church while on his way to Spain. In this letter, Paul explains his understanding of the Christian faith and how it applies to the lives of the Christians. He also acknowledges the unique religious heritage of the Jewish people but asserts that righteousness comes from God through faith in Jesus Christ.Romans is the longest and most significant of Apostle Paul’s letters.
These letters were both written by the Apostle Paul. He wrote the first letter to the Corinthians about 53-54 AD at Ephesus. The letter deals with some of the problems facing the Christian life and faith that had arisen in the church he had established in Corinth during his first missionary visit.Paul’s main concerns were the divisions and immorality in the church. He addressed questions about sex, marriages, church order, gifts of the Holy Spirit, and resurrection. In this letter, Paul states that he is admonishing them as beloved children and that they should be imitators of Jesus Christ.
Paul wrote the second letter from Macedonia about 57 AD. In it, he applauds how the Corinthians responded to his first letter. He also defends his apostleship against a few people who had accused him of being a false apostle.
Although there are only two letters of Paul to the Corinthians in the New Testament, evidence from these letters shows that he had written at least four letters, and the church had replied at least once (1 Corinthians 5:9; 2 Corinthians 2:3-4; and 7:8)
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Galatians is the ninth book of the New Testament and was written by Paul at around 47 AD. In this letter, Paul addressed the question that had arisen about whether new converts needed to be circumcised and obey the Mosaic Law to become true Christians.Paul reaffirms that Jewish law was no longer the only way to righteousness and that the only way to be put right with God was through faith in Jesus Christ. He also defends his right as an apostle of Christ and insists that his calling came from God and not from any human authority. He emphasizes that his mission was especially to the non-Jews.
Although this letter is usually attributed to Paul, some scholars think that it is probably a Deutero-Pauline(written in Paul’s name by one of his disciples after his death). This is because a large portion of the letter is almost similar to Colossians and Philemon.This letter generally talks about God’s plan to bring the whole creation together with Jesus Christ as the head. It also appeals to God’s people to live together in harmony through oneness with Jesus Christ.
The letter has used several figures of speech to show the oneness of God’s people in Christ, such as “the church is like a body, with Christ as the head” (Ephesians 3:6; 4:15-16; 5:23).
Scholars believe this letter was written by Paul while he was in prison in Rome, about 62 AD. He wrote to the Christian congregation he had established in Philippi.
He wrote the letter at a time when he was facing some opposition from other Christian workers and was concerned about the false teachings in the church at Philippi.
In this letter, Paul thanks the Christians in Philippians for the gift they had sent him during his time of need. He also encourages them to have courage during their times of trouble. He reassures them of the joy and peace found to those who live in union with Jesus Christ
There’s been some debate about the writer of this letter. While some scholars believe that Paul wrote it while in prison in Rome around 62 AD, others believe that the developed theology in this letter indicates that it is a deuter-Pauline.
The letter is addressed to the church at Colossae and warns against the false teachers who claimed that to know God and get salvation one must worship some spiritual leaders.This letter is quite similar to letters to the Philemon, making some scholars believe that the writer had changed the details to meet a different situation.
Paul probably wrote the first letter to the Thessalonians about 50 AD while he was in Corinth. He had just heard about the opposition that had arisen from the church he had established in Thessalonica.
He writes to encourage and reassure the Christians there. He also answers some of their questions, including the return of Christ.
The authorship of the Second Thessalonians is, however, debatable as it copies the style of the first letter but seems to reflect a later time. The church in Thessalonica was confused about the Second coming of Christ. The writer wrote to tell them that the time had already arrived. He then corrected this idea by talking of the evil and wickedness that will reach a climax under the leadership of the “Wicked One” who will be opposed to Christ.
Although attributed to Paul, scholars believe that Paul did not write any of these two letters. These two, along with Titus, are often referred to as Pastoral epistles. They mainly consist of instructions to younger colleagues about church administration and worship, with advice on how church leaders should behave. Finally, the writer advises Timothy on how to be a good follower of Jesus Christ and the responsibility that he has towards various groups of believers. .
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There has also been some dispute about the authorship of this letter. Considering its similarities to the two letters of Paul to Timothy, scholars believe the three letters to be trito-Pauline(written in Paul’s name a generation after his death).The letter reminds Titus of the kind character that a church leader should have and advises him on how to teach the various groups in the church.
This letter was probably written by Paul while in a Roman prison around 61 AD(though some sources date it earlier). Paul wrote this short letter to Philemon, a wealthy Christan of Colossae, on behalf of Onesimus, a runaway slave who had wronged him. In the letter, Paul appeals to Philemon to be reconciled to his slave and to accept him back as a Christian believer.
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