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Introduction to the New Testament: Romans to Revelation - Lesson 3

Introduction to Paul (Part 3)

Paul was trained as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians because he considered them enemies of God. After his conversion experience, he travelled in Asia Minor and Europe preaching the gospel and planting churches. Many of the letters in the New Testament are ones that he wrote to these churches.

 

Craig Blomberg
Introduction to the New Testament: Romans to Revelation
Lesson 3
Watching Now
Introduction to Paul (Part 3)

Introduction to Paul

I. The Canon of the New Testament

A. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts

B. Letters of Paul

1. Letters to churches (decreasing length)

2. Letters to individuals (decreasing length)

C. Hebrews, General Epistles (James, Peter, John, Jude), Revelation

II. Paul's Life Before His Letters

A. A.D. 5-10: birth in Tarsus

B. Age 5-12: elementary education

C. Age 12-14?: tentmaking apprenticeship

D. Age 15-18?: study with Gamaliel in Jerusalem

E. A.D. 32-35 (age twenty-something): conversion/call/commission

F. Until A.D. 47-48: "hidden years" but eventually in ministry in Syrian Antioch

III. Theological Changes from Saul's Conversion

A. Christology

B. Soteriology

C. Eschatology

D. Ecclesiology

IV. Paul's 4 Missionary Journeys

V. Fixed Points in the Chronology of Acts

A. Ascension and Pentecost [A.D. 30] Acts 1-2

B. Stoning of Stephen and conversion of Saul [A.D.32 or 33]

C. Paul's first Jerusalem visit [C.A. A.D. 35]

D. Death of Herod Agrippa I [A.D. 44] Acts 12

E. Height of famine in Judea [A.D. 46] Acts 11:27-30

F. First missionary journey, Apostolic Council, and second missionary journey (1+ years in Corinth) [A.D. 49]

G. Gallio in Corinth [A.D. 51-52] Acts 18:12

H. Third missionary journey [A.D. 52-55]

I. 3 years in Ephesus [A.D. 53-56]

J. Return to Jerusalem/arrest and imprisonment under Felix (2 years) [A.D. 57-59]

K. Accession of Festus [A.D. 59] Acts 24:27

L. Two years in Rome [A.D. 60-62]

VI. Chronology of Paul's Letters

A. Galatians A.D. 49

B. 1-2 Thessalonians A.D. 50-51

C. 1 Corinthians A.D. 55

D. 2 Corinthians A.D. 56

E. Romans A.D. 57

F. Philemon/Colossians/Ephesians A.D. 60-61

G. Philippians A.D. 61-62

H. Titus, 1 Timothy A.D. 62-?

I. 2 Timothy < A.D. 68

VII. The Typical Greco-Roman Letter

A. Salutation: "X" to "Y" greetings

B. Prayer and/or thanksgiving

C. Body

1. Main information

2. Exhortation or request

D. Concluding Farewell

VIII. Disputed and Undisputed Epistles of Paul

A. Undisputed

1. Galatians

2. Romans

3. 1 Corinthians

4. 2 Corinthians

5. 1 Thessalonians

6. Philemon

7. Philippians

B. Semi-disputed

1. 2 Thessalonians

2. Colossians

C. Heavily-disputed

1. Ephesians

2. 1 Timothy

3. 2 Timothy

4. Titus

IX. Ancient Attitudes to Psedonymity

A. Post A.D. 150 (largely Gentile) Christianity

B. Earliest (Jewish and Gentile) Christianity

C. Pre Christian Judaism

X. Epistles and Canonization

A. Disputed books eventually accepted

1. Hebrews

2. James

3. 2 Peter

4. 2 John

5. 3 John

6. Jude

7. Revelation

B. Disputed books eventually rejected

1. Epistle of Barnabas

2. Shepherd of Hermas

3. Didache

4. 1 and 2 Clement

XI. Earliest Post-New Testament Christian Literature

A. Apostolic Fathers

B. New Testament Apocrypha

C. Nag Hammadi Library

D. Ante-Nicene Fathers

XII. Twelve Pillars of Pauline Thought: Blending the Best of the Old and New Perspectives

A. Monotheism and election of Israel

B. Human sin and failure of Israel and her law

C. God's covenant faithfulness in mercy to Jew and Gentile

D. Reflected in salvation through crucified Messiah

E. Vindicated in Jesus' resurrection displaying him as Lord

F. Already but not yet fulfillment of God's promises in Him

G. Life in Christ solely by grace through faith

H. Jesus and Holy Spirit spoken of in language of deity

I. Following Jesus implies "cruciform" living

J. Life in Spirit is foretaste, guarantee of coming glory

K. Countercultural community is crucial

L. Parousia and resurrection as the climax


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  • Paul was trained as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians because he considered them enemies of God. After his conversion experience, he travelled in Asia Minor and Europe preaching the gospel and planting churches. Many of the letters in the New Testament are ones that he wrote to these churches.

  • Paul was trained as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians because he considered them enemies of God. After his conversion experience, he travelled in Asia Minor and Europe preaching the gospel and planting churches. Many of the letters in the New Testament are ones that he wrote to these churches.

  • Paul was trained as a Pharisee and persecuted Christians because he considered them enemies of God. After his conversion experience, he travelled in Asia Minor and Europe preaching the gospel and planting churches. Many of the letters in the New Testament are ones that he wrote to these churches.

     

  • Correlation of the accounts in Galatians and Acts on Paul's trip to Jerusalem. 

  • Galatians as a model of apologetics supporting Christianity.

  • Comparing faith and works in Judaism and Christianity. 

  • Paul faced persecution when he preached in Thessalonica. The return of Christ is a central theme in the letters to the Thessalonians.

  • One aspect of the subject of biblical eschatology is the timing and nature of the tribulation. 

  • Paul addresses the extremes of asceticism and hedonism, as well as concerns regarding marriage, spiritiual gifts and the resurrection.

  • Divisions in the Corinthian church were caused by both theology and lifestyle.

  • Whether or not believers should eat food that had been offered to idols was an issue in the Corinthian church. The importance and role of spiritual gifts was a major topic of discussion.

  • Paul updates the people in the church in Corinth about his travels. He also follows up on relationships and defends his apostolic ministry.

  • Paul responds to specific situations in the Corinthian church including emphasizing a correct perspective on giving and encouragement to see God's redemptive purpose in our suffering.

  • Knowing the key places as backgrounds for Romans, the timeline and the outline of the book are helpful to understanding the context and message.

  • Paul wrote Romans as a systematic exposition of the gospel.

     

  • In Colossians, Paul emphasizes the deity of Christ. Philemon was written to a gentlema Paul knows to encourage him to welcome back Onesimus, his runaway slave, who became a disciple of Christ and was returning.

  • Paul addresses how to live in different roles: husbands and wives, masters and slaves, elders and others in the church.

  • Paul describes the blessings of salvation and encourages believers to live in unity that transcends cultural and racial barriers. 

  • Paul describes to the followers of Jesus in Ephesus, who they are in Christ, and the ethical implications for how they should live their daily lives.

  • Paul contrasts the condescention and the exaltation of Christ, and addresses specific situations in the Philippian church.

  • Paul writes to encourage and instruct Timothy and Titus, both of whom are young pastors. It is important for Titus to identify and train elders and deal effectively with factious people. 

  • Paul instructs Timothy about how to pastor a church and turn it away from heresy.

  • Both 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians contain key passages addressing the roles of men and women in the local church. Some of them address conduct when gathering for corporate worship.

  • 1 Timothy 2:11-15 gives some direction for gender roles in a worship service.

  • Key themes and catchwords in James include trials, wisdom, temptation, speech, doubt and perseverance.

  • James discusses the roles of faith and works in a believers life and the importance of prayer.

  • A prominent theme in Hebrews chapters 1-5 is the superiority of Christ to the angels and to Moses.

  • Hebrews 6:4-8 is a key warning passage. Christ's priesthood is superior to both the Levitical priesthood and also to Melchizedek. Chapter 11 remembers the heroes of the faith.

  • A major theme of 1 Peter is perseverance despite persecution.

  • The outline of 1 Peter has similarities to other letters of the first century that emphasize a high view of Christology.

  • Jude and 2 Peter both emphasize refuting false teachers.

  • In his epistles, John emphasizes themes that refute gnostic doctrines. He outlines the tests of life as keeping God’s commandments, loving one another and believing in Jesus as the God-man.

  • As you study and preach from the epistles of John, note the passages that Dr. Blomberg describes as, “gems from John.”

  • Revelation was written by the apostle John in the late first century using apocalyptic, prophetic and epistolary genres. A possible structure by time line would be the past (chapter 1), the present (chapters 2-5) and the future (chapters 6-22). 

  • In addition to the framework of eschatology, Revelation chapters 1-6 develops themes of Christology including a description of Jesus as the lion who is a lamb, as well as the spiritual condition of some of the churches in the first century. 

  • In both of the possible scenarios for the tribulation, believers are exempt from God’s wrath but they are not exempt from Satan’s attacks.

  • Revelation chapters 12-22 cover themes of salvation and judgment of nations, Armageddon, the millennium and the new heavens and new earth.

Using the English New Testament, this course surveys the New Testament epistles and the apocalypse. Issues of introduction and content receive emphasis as well as a continual focus on the theology of evangelism and on the contemporary relevance of the variety of issues these documents raise for contemporary life.

 

Dr. Craig Blomberg 
Introduction to the New Testament: Romans to Revelation 
nt512-03 
Introduction to Paul (Part 3) 
Lesson Transcript

 

This is the 3th lecture in the online series of lectures on understanding the Epistles and Revelation, in complement with the textbook by Craig Blomberg’s Book, Acts through Revelation, An Introduction and Survey. 

 

The textbook goes into some detail about the typical Greco-Roman letter, how it would have been written and delivered, the various rhetorical and literary genres and sub-genres into which epistles can be divided. The even smaller literary forms and constituent elements that comprise recognizable forms of Greco-Romnan writing embedded within Paul’s various letters and much of this information to the extent that it relates to specific letters will be repeated both in the textbook and the lectures as we process letter by letter through Paul’s writings.  

 

But one model that is recurring, dominant and important enough to merit reinforcement and illustration by means of additional information is the outline of a typical Greco-Roman letter. Somewhat different from modern letters, certainly different from the growing trend to abandon written letters for the very casual and virtual electronic emails, the young Greco-Roman boy was taught in school and exercises were given to him for practice. Writing letters were done in a form that had four basic parts or five if you count the two subsections of the body of the letter separately. Whereas we sign a letter at its end, the Greco-Roman world impressed on writers what was called a salutation immediately at the beginning, taking the form of the sender, followed by the recipients and then a word of greetings. From some points of view, that makes better sense as one doesn’t have to go to the end of the letter to find out who wrote it. It was also equally conventional to offer a brief prayer or wish of well-being for the recipients or in those cases where the author of the letter had information of the recipient to offer a word of thanks, often couched in explicit religious language of given thanks to God or gods. Paul will in fact in the vast majority of his letters just as he will uniformly adopt a salutation. 

 

The significance of the observation is more for those occasions which he deviates from this. Omitting these points will show that there is a very serious situation in a given community that requires a need to shock the audience into attention. Or a greeting or prayer may be unusually long or short or theological or devoid of any theological preview and again we see as we proceed through the letters which may be reasonable deduced about the circumstances leading to the composition of these letters from the variety and variation of standard form. Every letter, of course, had a body, the reason for writing the letter in the first place. The body typically communicated the main information or reasons for writing in declarative or indicative prose.  And then if the author had one or more requests and in a position of authority and had exhortation or commands to give to give someone in a position of subordination, those would tend to be grouped together at the end of the body, though by no means is this a rigid pattern beginning with the salutation and a prayer, ending with a concluding farewell and bringing greetings to and from relevant parties. Again we will see ways in which Paul’s letters follow or deviate from these patterns and make appropriate conclusions on the basis of those observations. Readers or students new to contemporary Biblical scholarship are sometimes surprised to learn that the Bible begins thirteen of its letters with the name of Paul at the beginning where the writer’s name was to appear. Only seven of these thirteen letters are reasonably undisputed in terms of the description of authorship.

 

It hasn’t always been this way; in the history of the church all thirteen letters are understood to have been written by Paul. In the rise of Biblical criticism and the 19th century German manifestations of it which were the most radical devised, there were times when only Galatians, Romans and 1st & 2nd Corinthians were largely undisputed and there were the occasional scholar who believed that none of these letters came from Paul. But today, the seven letters are undisputed and they include the four that largely survived the criticisms of the 19th century and became known as the ‘chief letters’. These letters were the most theological prominent of Paul’s letters, along with 1st Thessalonians, Philemon and Philippians. Two letters, however, 2nd Thessalonians and Colossians were labeled as semi-disputed because roughly half or so of non-evangelical scholarship, those that are already committed to accepting the straight forward claims of Scripture because of belief in its inspiration. Approximately half of that scholarly world finds reasons for thinking that these two letters could not have come from Paul and we will discuss those briefly as we introduce those letters individually. Even more disputed are the Book of Ephesians and the pastoral letters of 1st & 2nd Timothy and Titus. This is mentioned for the purpose of additional student research and understanding that this is the situation outside of evangelical circles throughout the 21st century. 

 

The technical term for writings whose authorship is doubted and this applies to any literary work in the Bible for elsewhere is pseudonyumity.  The ascription of what in fact turns out to be a false name to a particular document in terms of its authorship. There is a lively debate as to the ethical nature of pseudonyumity in the ancient world. The conservative student when first presented with this theory is often tempted to simple conclude that scholars that treat certain books as from writers other that the books ascribe them are simple talking about forgeries, plain and simple. That in fact it was a deceptive practice with scholars proposing theories of pseudonyumity are claiming that the Jewish and Christian authors of the books of the Bible where allegedly pseudonymously intended to deceive their audiences. The evidence, however, is not that clear cut for that matter, even in the modern world. We might pick up a book from the book shelves of a store the autobiography of a famous person only to read in the fine print on the title page or preface that it really is the life and times of a person as told to another person who in fact is a ghost writer. We have come to expect that busy people in the public eye not to have the time and sometimes not the literary ability to write interesting and well written autobiographies. But we do not charge such works with the libel of forgery. The same is true when we come across a work completed posthumously. When writers begin a project even a drafted detail outline of it in the initial stages and then the project had to be taken up by other people who try to complete the work as close to the original designs of the project. Once again, as long as that information is acknowledged, no one would be accused of forgery. In the ancient world there are Jewish and Greco-Roman example of precisely these things that were going on except that the writers that completed the projects did not feel bound nor were there literary or moral conventions that required them to acknowledge that they were the ones that completed the project rather than in the name of the person it was accredited to. 

 

If one narrowly looks at the period of time immediately before and after the New Testament, they can find documents written in the name of ancient leading religious and philosophical people who were transparent fiction, people that were long since dead but with their names on books which had recently appeared.  The reasons for using a synonym may have been due to a debt owed to the person by the writer or to the features of their lives that were well known or because the writer wanted to commend it as a particularly authoritative work or at times because the writer believed that he or she had some kind of vision or paranormal experience with that physical dead individual. There is no question in the Judaism leading up to the 1st century and to the origins, Christianity accepted numerous inter-testamental works very appropriate for religious study and devotion though none was ever formally canonized which were pseudonymous, and there was no evidence that these pseudepigraphical works, various Dead Sea Strolls and other such documents were ever impugned as immortal or unethical or deceptive forgeries.  On the other hand, the earliest existing Christian evidence from the second half of the second century continuing ahead in the centuries to come, suggests that Christians, both gentile and Jewish never accepted as acceptable for inclusion into their sacred canon such pseudonymous works. To date, the unanswerable question is, was there an earlier period of time in between these two movements in which Christianity was more influenced by Jewish convictions, would have accepted such pseudepigraphical pseudonymous writings not only those not designed to be forgeries and appropriate for religious devotion but even as acceptable for inclusion into the Christian canon. Until the discovery of more information, the most responsible scholarship will admit that we simple don’t know.  We should not then just dismiss as inconsistent with theories of inspiration or inherency of Scripture, theories of pseudonyumity, but we simply have to judge them on their merits, case by case, as we will in fact attempt to do as this series of lectures progresses. 

 

We have a related question that often comes up to the curious introductory theological student, at least in our time of many modern novels that raise many kinds of questions about the process of the canonization of the New Testament. Is the question of what books were seriously considered at any point in the earliest Christian centuries for being included in the Christian canon in that list of books of uniquely scared and normative Scripture. And which of the books that did come to be included were ever seriously questioned, and what were the reasons for those debates? It’s interesting that we have no evidence to suggest that any of the four Gospels or the Book of Acts was ever seriously questioned or that any of the later Christian apocryphal Gospels or acts not to be confused with the inter-testamental apocryphal books were ever serious put forward as candidates for canonization. Indeed, with one exception, all of the disputed books that were accepted were epistles. And in our textbook, we have itemized the reasons for each of these briefly. We simple list the books here: Hebrews, James, 2nd Peter, 2nd & 3th John, Jude and then the Book of Revelation. 

 

The textbook doesn’t discuss any of the disputed books that were eventually rejected of which there were only two of which there was significant debate and another two with less debate.  Greatly debated was the 2nd century epistle ascribed to Barnabas and another written by a pastor called Hermus, while largely orthodox in their theology.  Two other works, the Didakay and the Writings of Clement, part of the writings that eventually became known as the Apostolic Fathers. There were just enough newer and troublesome doctrines that eventually lead to their rejection. The Epistle of Barnabas, while dealing with the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, was viewed as being too anti-Semitic in that it rejected too much of the Old Testament and the Jewish dispensation for it to be accepted in the same way as 1st century Apostolic teaching.  The Shepard of Hermus, while attractive because of a particularly section of parables and visions with at times intriguing parallels near to the parables of Jesus or the visions of the apocalypses of John in Revelation was also seen as being too apocalyptic, visionary and speculative thought to be like those writings of the 1st century apostles.  The Didakay, is the ancient Greek word for ‘teaching’ and the full title being ‘the teachings of the 12 Apostles’. This is a pseudonymous document written perhaps around AD 90 or a little later, dealing with instructions on topics as prayer, celebrating the Lord’s Supper, identifying true verses false prophets, but again was considered to be sub-apostolic, not  entirely in agreement with the corresponding instruction, valuable though it was, it was omitted from the canon. The same is true for two letters attributed to Clement, the first, more likely being authentic but again the second century, including statements that were explicit and implicit suggesting that the authors themselves whether Clement or someone else recognized that they were writing from a derivative level of authority and not inspired by God as directly or to the same extent to those of the first century. The modern novels with all of their claims about countless works that were suppressed due to political motives now needing to be given a hearing that they never received is however excited in terms of movies but are in fact, fiction. 

 

There are three main bodies of literature available from the post New Testament Christian period. All written by alleged Christian writers of one kind of another that is often discussed in many different contexts. We have already mentioned The Apostolic Fathers, a collection of second century writings that is largely orthodox in content but not entirely so. The New Testament Apocrypha, late 2nd century but primarily 3rd and 4th century that tend to be more unorthodox by not entirely so but tent to repeat the historical genres of the New Testament such as the Gospels and Acts and fill in the gaps by curious Christians wanting to know more about the life of Jesus and his followers. It’s interesting that there are few Apocrypha epistles and only one or two Apocrypha apocalypses. Finally and probably best known in our age of fascination with non-Christian explanations of Christian origins, there is the Nag Hammadi library, that corpus of scrolls discovered at the same time as the Dead Sea Scrolls several years after World War II; in this case, a site in Egypt that’s known as Nag Hammadi which is largely Gnostic in origin but not exclusively. At times these documents recast early Christian beliefs and teachings of Jesus and the Apostles in considerably unorthodox form, quite different in both form and content from anything we fine in the New Testament. 

 

Once again, there is no existing evidence that even the community that used and created such literature ever put them forward as equal to the twenty seven canonical books of the New Testament. If they did, that information has been entirely lost and yet to be discovered. The writings that did compete were the writings that the most orthodox even if they were ultimately deemed to be sub-Christian or sub-apostolic in some minor respects. The writings that were the least orthodox in the post New Testament period were those that we have no evidence from the ancient world that they were ever put forward; however, they may have been used in communities that produced them as equal to Christian or Jewish Scripture. There is one more large, almost encyclopedia collection of all the other early orthodox writings after the mid to later 2nd century, sometimes defined to include those of the Apostolic Fathers but moving well beyond them to include all existing literature, most of it in Greek with some being in Latin from Christian writers, otherwise orthodox prior to the Council of Nicaea in 323 AD at which consensus was arrived concerning a number of Christian theological debates. 

 

Let’s end this introduction to Paul’s life and letters with a brief review of the twelve items that Michael Gorman singles out in his book as forming the heart or pillars of Paul’s thoughts. It introduces the debate between the reformation era of understanding of Paul that prevailed at least within protestant scholarship through to the mid-20th century and later 21st century often known as the new look or new perspective on Paul. We will say more about this debate as we look at the letter to the Galatians to which we will turn to in the very next lecture. But in anticipating some of our synthesis and following Gorman precisely, we may identify a dozen key defining theological convictions that permeate not just a single or two or three letters but in every case a number of epistles to give us a key window into understanding his major points before we take things apart and look at Paul’s letters one at a time.

 

As one who continued to consider himself thoroughly Jewish even if now a follower of Jesus of Nazareth as well, Paul remained unrelentingly monotheistic. In no sense could he be called a polytheist, he believed in one God, Yahweh, the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the creator and sustainer of the universe and the one who from Genesis 12 onward had singled out Israel to be the elect community of God’s people for whom God’s work would eventually touch all of the world. Secondly, any Jew or anyone else reading the Hebrew text and despite God’s creation of the world and of humanity as first perfect; humanity fell into sin and Israel failed at many stages to live up to their calling even provisionally, once they were given the law at Mt. Sinai; the entire history of Israel’s experience in Old Testament times can be described as cycles of obedience and disobedience. And in response to this, God either blessed or withheld his blessing to various degrees from the land, the people and also from its rulers. 

 

Thirdly, despite human sin and Israel’s faithlessness, God did remain and will remain faithful to his covenant promises.  His promises to be merciful to the Jew and through the promises to Israel beginning in Genesis 12 to be a blessing to all the nations so that the promises of his covenant extending to all humanity that punctuate the New Covenant God will make with Israel, not like the older one. The new one will include the gentiles along with the Jew and will indeed be fulfilled. 

 

Fourthly, the Messiah was the same individual as the suffering servant and this was fulfilled through Jesus himself as shown in Isaiah 52 and 53. The seemingly oxymoron of a crucified Messiah will be overcome by Jesus’ bodily resurrection from the grave, vindicating his claims to deity, occasionally explicitly and more often implicitly and certainly his claims to Messiahship that punctuated his earthly ministry. His resurrection now displays the legitimacy of his title as Lord and Master for Yahweh, God the Father himself in a way that never compromised Jewish monotheism. True, not all of the Old Testament promises have yet to be fulfilled or even been fulfilled in him but Paul believed that the last days had been inaugurated and that the new age had begun and therefore that the coming fulfilment that yet remained unfulfilled was guaranteed and of course we know this to be the second coming of Christ. Further, individuals experience the salvation available through Jesus, the crucified Messiah solely by God’s grace as they are related to him through faith and not by works in any fashion. This doesn’t mean that Paul is against doing good as he regularly refers to Christian works as the necessary outgrowth of a truly saved life as shown in Ephesians 2:10 following the famous grace through faith passage in verses 8 through 9. But those good works are the outgrowth, the response of gratitude that flows from saving faith and not in any sense part of what merits salvation. 

 

Life is not only in Christ for Paul but through the Holy Spirit and as a results, it becomes clear in other parts of the New Testament, Paul can speak of both Jesus and the Holy Spirit in language once reserved for Yahweh attributable only to deity itself. Paul is clearly articulating incipient Trinitarianism; he is providing all of the raw data for an understanding of Jesus and the Holy Spirit as fully personal agents of God co-equal with God, divine in themselves and yet in no way denies the one God of the universe. More on that when we come to 1st Corinthians 8; the Christian life though does not mean that we share in the divine attributes at least not to the extent as Father, Son and Holy Spirit do. If anything, for Paul, based not least on his own experience, the devoted Christian life is more often replicating Christ’s crucifixion or at least the kinds of suffering that lead to his crucifixion rather than anything that be called triumphant in this life. The coming glory is precisely that, a promise only in the age to come. But, life in the Holy Spirit is afore taste and is a guarantee of coming glory as Paul uses such metaphors as the Spirit being the pledge or down payment of the full fulfillment of Gods promises to his people. Meanwhile, it is the task for Christian, not merely to live in discipleship, following Christ, even when it means suffering, in splendid isolation from one another. They are commanded to form themselves into counter cultural communities of local churches living out the counter cultural Gospel that Paul articulates and the ethics that flow through it, which we will be scrutinizing in more detail. The final point, deals with the second coming of Christ, the resurrection of all humanity, the final judgment and eternal state for believers and unbelievers. With this broad framework we are now ready to embark on the next lecture on a more detailed study which may be chronologically the first of Paul’s epistles, namely the letter to the Galatians.