Lecture 11: Prison Epistles (Part 2), Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews and James

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Common themes and applications from the Prison Epistles and the Pastoral Epistles are theologically significant as well as practical in their application in daily life. Hebrews emphasizes Jesus as the great High Priest and includes warning passages against committing apostasy. James emphasizes the relationship between faith and works in a way that complements what Paul writes in his letters, even though it sometimes seems contradictory at first. (52 min.)

Prison Epistles (Part 2), Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews and James


I. The Prison Epistles (part 2)

A. Exegetical Highlights in Philippians

1. A Personal Letter (1:3-11)

2. Christ’s Example of Humility (2:5-11)

3. The Impossibility of Denying the Lordship of Christ (2:10)

4. A Brief Biography of Paul (3:4-6)

5. God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Responsibility (2:12-13)

6. Promises about Prayer & the Peace of God (4:4-7)

7. The Strengthening Grace of God (4:13)

B. Key Theological Themes

C. Key Applications

II. The Pastoral Epistles

A. Background

1. The Books: 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus

2. The Author: Paul

3. Dates: AD 62-68

4. Recipients: Timothy and Titus

B. Exegetical Highlights

1. Criteria for Church Leaders

2. Deacon vs. Elder

3. Additional Topics

C. Theological Themes and Application

III. Hebrews

A. Background

1. Author: Unknown

2. Recipients: Unknown

B. An Outline of Hebrews

1. The Supremacy of Christ (1:1-14)

2. The Five Warning Passages (2:1-4; 4:12-13; 6:4-8; 10:26-31; 12:25-29)

3. Jesus as the Great High Priest (2:17-18; 4:14-15:10; 7:1–8:13)

4. The Supremacy of the New Covenant (8:1-13)

5. The Nature of Faith (10:19-12:3)

C. Key Theological Themes in Hebrews

1. Christ alone is sufficient for salvation (1:1-4).

2. Do not fall away (5:11-6:12).

D. Key Applications from Hebrews

IV. James

A. Background

1. Author: James, the half-brother of Jesus

2. Recipients: Jewish Christians in the Diaspora

3. Date: A.D. 44-49


B. Three Key Topics of James

1. Trials and Temptations

2. Wisdom and Speech

3. The Right Use of Riches

C. A Subordinate Topic in James: Faith vs. Works

1. Different Definitions of Faith

2. Different Views of Works

3. Different Problems Being Addressed

D. Key Applications from James


Name Description
1 Understanding the New Testament - Quiz 11

This quiz covers the material in Understanding the New Testament, Lesson 11 – Prison Epistles (Part 2), Pastoral Epistles, Hebrews, and James.


  • How are God’s sovereignty and your responsibility spoken of in Philippians 2:12-13? What does Paul mean when he says to work out your salvation with “fear” and “trembling?”  What two things does Paul say God is doing in you?
  • What are the criteria for an elder and a deacon in 1 Tim. 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5- 16? Why is it important for a leader to meet these criteria? What does your church think about whether both men and women can fill these roles? Why does your church think that is the best way of understanding these criteria?
  • How would you identify a false teacher of the gospel? What are some marks of false teaching given by Paul in 1 Timothy 1:2-11, 6:3-10, 2 Timothy 4:1-5, and Titus 1:10-16?


  • How is the supremacy of Jesus spoken of in the book of Hebrews?  What was the role of the High Priest in the Old Testament? What is the significance of Jesus functioning as our High Priest today? Take some time this week to meditate on Hebrews 2:17-18 and 4:14-16.
  • What is the role of works in James 2:14-26? How would you respond to someone who claimed that there is a contradiction between James and Paul in regards to the role of works in salvation? If good works are a fruit of salvation, what is the warning that James is giving? What response should this prompt from us?


52 min

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Recommended Reading

From Pentecost to Patmos, pp. 343-439.

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