Pauline Epistles

 Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry

 

Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways


Part One

 

Introduction

 

We will not study all of Paul's letters in this course.  We will cover Paul's Prison and Pastoral Epistles (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus).  It should also be noted that the books are not treated in chronological order.  Instead, they are examined in the order in which they are found in modern translations of the Bible.

 

Ephesians

1. Introduction

A. Time and place:  This epistle was written from prison in Rome, in about 61-63.

 

B. Paul had spent about 3 years with this church, and the believers were mature (Acts 19).             

 

C. Theme:  Our new identity in Christ leads us to live lives worthy of the Gospel.

The first part of the letter discusses how we come to be part of God's family.  It is because of the work of Christ for us.  The last three chapters discuss how we as believers should live.

 

2. How Gentiles Became Members Of God's Family (1-3)

A. We are chosen by God – Chapter 1

 

B. We are brought near to God through Christ -- Chap. 2

Read and discuss Eph 2:1-10

 

C. We were made heirs through the Gospel -- Chap. 3

 

3. How Members of God's Family Should Live (4-6)

A. We should live in unity -- Chapter 4

 

B. We should be imitators of God -- Chapter 5

Read and discuss Eph 5:8-21

 

C. We should wear God's armor -- Chapter 6

 

Philippians

1. Introduction

A. Date and destination

Paul probably wrote Philippians from a Roman prison in approximately A.D. 61-62.  In 1:1 the letter is addressed to the saints in Philippi.  Acts 16 records Paul's ministry in Philippi.

 

B. Theme:

1. Sevanthood:  The passage which best state this theme is 2:3-4:  "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

 

2. Joy:  Paul's circumstances look very bad, but in spite of this he is full of joy, and continually exhorts us to rejoice.

 

3. The Gospel:  Paul refers to the Gospel many times in this short letter.  Among other things, he speaks of his work in the Gospel and living worthy of the Gospel.

 

C. Outline of Philippians:

1. Serving in the Gospel (Chapter 1)

Class Discussion:

Using the three steps of Bible Study, discuss Phil 1:12-18

How does this passage show Paul to be a servant of the Gospel?  How can you follow his example?

 

2. Serving in humility (Chapter 2)

This chapter gives us the example of Jesus, and urges us to follow His example of humble servanthood.

 

3. Serving in Christ (Chapter 3)

We can be confident in our relationship with God only because of Jesus.

 

4. Serving in peace and with our substance (Chapter 4)

 

Colossians

1. Introduction

A. Date and Destination

Colossians was written at about the same time as Ephesians and may be dated in the early 60s.  The people to whom the letter was written belonged to a church which was founded not by Paul, but by Epaphras (1:7-8). These saints do not know Paul personally (2:1). They live in the city of Colossae and were probably converted during Paul's ministry in Ephesus, when the gospel went out to all of the province of Asia (Acts 19:10).

 

B. Theme: The Superiority of Christ

False teachers have entered the Colossian church, denying the complete sufficiency of Christ and teaching Old Testament regulations and manmade requirements. To counter this, Paul emphasizes the absolute supremacy of Christ. He shows that Christ is all we need. The verses which perhaps best express both the theme and the purpose of this letter are 2:9-10:  "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority."

 

After speaking of the greatness of Christ, and what He has done for us, Paul teaches how we should live as followers of Christ.  In this way the letter is similar to Ephesians.

 

C. Outline of Colossians

1. Christ is Superior to All Creation (chapter 1)

Read and discuss Col 1:15-23

 

2. Christ is Superior to Philosophy and the Law (chapter 2)

 

3. Living in Christ (chapters 3-4)

 

Pastoral Epistles

1. Introduction

A. Definition

The letters of 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus are referred to as Paul's "Pastoral Epistles."  They are different from Paul's other letters in two ways:  (1) They are among the last letters that Paul wrote, reflecting the concerns which burdened Paul near the end of his life.  (2)  They are addressed not to a congregation but to two young men who were functioning as pastors.  They are highly personal.

 

B. Date

Paul's missionary journeys occupied approximately the years A.D. 48-56.  From 56-60 Paul was slowly making his way through the Roman courts, arriving ultimately in Rome.  From 61-62 he was held in house arrest.  It is possible that he was released, and as he traveled, he left Timothy in Ephesus and Titus in Crete.  The approximate dates of 1 Timothy and Titus are 63-66.  After being once again imprisoned, Paul wrote Timothy a second letter, 2 Timothy, approximately A.D. 67.

 

C. The Recipients

1. Timothy.  Timothy was the son of a Greek father and a Jewish mother (Acts 16:1).  No mention is made of his father's faith, but his mother Eunice and grandmother Lois were both known for their sincere faith.  Paul became like a spiritual father to the young man, referring to him as 'my true son in the faith' (1 Tim 1:2) and 'my dear son' (2 Tim 1:2).  Timothy became one of the apostle's most trustworthy fellow-laborers (Rom 16:21; 1 Cor. 16:10; Phil. 2:19-22; 1 Thess. 3:2).

 

2. Titus.  We do not know very much about Titus.  He was a Gentile (Gal. 2:3).  He was given one of Paul's most difficult and delicate assignments - to represent the apostle in troubled Corinth (2 Cor. 2:13; 7:6,7, 13-15; 8:6, 16-17).  When Paul visited Crete with Titus, he left him behind to further the work the two had begun (Titus 1:5).

 

2. 1 Timothy:  Major Topics

A. The necessity of being on guard against false teachers in the church (1:3-7; 4:1-3,7; 6:3-5).

 

B. Statements regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ (1:15-17; 2:3-7; 3:16; 6:13-16).

 

C. Appropriate behavior for women (2:9-15).

 

D. Qualifications and duties of elders & deacons (3:1-13; 5:17-20).

 

E. The care of widows in the church (5:3-16).

Read and discuss 1 Timothy 5:3-16

 

F. Attitudes toward money (6:6-10, 17-19).

 

3. 2 Timothy

Paul was a prisoner in a Roman dungeon when he wrote this, the last of his epistles, to Timothy.  The date is approximately A.D. 67.  Not long afterward, according to tradition, the apostle was beheaded.

 

A. Purpose

The purpose of 2 Timothy is to encourage Timothy and us to be faithful in ministry in the face of hardship.

 

B. Major Topics

1. The reality of hardship and suffering for those involved in ministry (1:8-12, 15; 2:8,9; 3:10-13; 4:10, 14-15).

 

2. The inerrancy and purpose of the Scriptures (3:15-17).

 

3. The necessity of preaching the Word (4:2-5).

 

4. The person and work of Jesus Christ (1:9-10; 2:8, 11-13).

 

4. Titus

A. Titus was a Gentile convert (Gal 2:3) who had served and traveled with Paul (Gal 2:1-3).  Possibly Titus worked with Paul in Ephesus.  From there Titus was sent to Corinth to help that church with its work (2 Cor 7:6,7: 8:6,16).

 

B. After they had left Timothy behind in Ephesus, Paul and Titus traveled on to Crete.  After a short while, Paul left Titus there to provide direction and appoint leadership for the church.  Later Paul wrote this epistle and had it delivered to Titus.

 

C. Crete was the fourth largest island of the Mediterranean.  In New Testament times life in Crete had sunk to a terrible moral level.  The dishonesty, gluttony, and laziness of its habitants were well known.

 

D. Grace promotes good works among God's people.

 

Philemon

1. Date and Destination

A. This letter was written at about the same time as Colossians.  It may have been written during Paul's imprisonment in Rome.

 

B. The destination of the letter is Colossae.  That this is so can be seen by cross referencing 1:1-2 with Colossians 4:17.  Although the letter is addressed to more than one person, it speaks almost exclusively to Philemon, who appears to be a close friend of Paul's.

 

2. Theme: A Plea for Onesimus

A. Onesimus has been a slave of Philemon's, but has run away and has perhaps stolen from Philemon as well (12).  Such behavior warrants the death penalty under Roman law.  However after Onesimus has left Philemon he finds Paul in prison.  Through his contact with Paul he becomes a Christian and is helpful to Paul (verses 10-13).

 

B. However, he is still Philemon's slave, so Paul does right in sending him back.  He sends him back with a plea for mercy from Philemon.  This plea is the main theme of the letter which may be seen in verse 10 - "I appeal to you for my son, Onesimus…"

 

 

Part Two

 

In this section you will find more information on the topics discussed in class.  Be sure to answer all the questions within each assignment box.  This will be part of your grade for this course.  Also, as you study, write down any questions you would like to discuss in class.

 

Ephesians

 

1. The Gentiles Were Chosen by God - Chapter 1

A. Praise to God for what He has done in the lives of believers

 

B. Read vs 11-14.  How did God mark the Gentile believers as being truly His own people?

 

C. The seal of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit's presence in those Gentiles shows that they belong to God; it also is the guarantee of a future inheritance "which will be received at their redemption."  This redemption of God's people refers to the glorified bodies they will receive at the Lord's return (See Rom 8:23).

 

D. Paul asks God to give them a spirit of wisdom and revelation so that they may know Him better (1:17).  He also prays that, having the eyes of their hearts opened, they will come to know 3 things:

1. The hope to which God has called them.

This hope is the final glorification which is referred to in verse 14.

 

2. The riches of God's glorious inheritance in the saints.

Not only do the saints have a glorious inheritance in God, but God has a glorious inheritance in the saints.  In Romans 8:23, Paul speaks of the saints' glorification as being an adoption of the saints by God.  This brings joy to the Father.  In Ephesians, Paul writes much about the exalted position the believers have in the eyes of God.  Here he prays that the believers will know how special they are to God.

 

3. God's incomparably great power for those who believe.

In order to demonstrate what he means by this, Paul refers to the power God manifested in Christ by His resurrection from the dead.  This great power of God is "for us who believe" (19).  God did all these things in Christ for the benefit of the Church.

 

E. Christ is the head of the Church, and the Church is "the fullness of Him [Christ]"

The Church is the revelation to the world of who Christ is, just as Christ is the revelation of who God is.

 

2. The Gentile Believers Were Brought to God through Christ (Chapter 2)

A. What God has done for believers

Read the following Scriptures, and find out what they say about the condition of the believers before their regeneration, and what God did to bring them to where they are now.

 

1. Eph 2:4-6

a. Believer's former condition:

b. What God did:

 

2. Eph 2:12-13

a. Believer's former condition:

b. What Christ did:

 

3. Read the following verses,  and note what they say that God has done for the believers:

1:3;  1:4;  1:5;  1:7;  1:8;  2:5;  2:6 

. . . . . . .    

B. It is because of our union with Christ that God blesses us and works on our behalf (2:5-6).

 

C. Paul emphasizes that our salvation is by God's grace alone.  He is teaching us to not have a proud attitude.  It is only because of Christ that this grace is available.

 

D. Gentiles and Jews united in Christ -- 2:11-22

1. Gentiles used to be separated from God and His people (11-12)

a. without Christ

b. aliens from Israel

c. strangers from the covenants of promise

d. having no hope and without God in the world

 

2. Yet now they have been "brought near" (2:13).

 

3. Christ is "our peace," the One who brings Jew and Gentile together.  He is our peace because He has "destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.

This dividing wall is symbolized by the barrier in the temple in Jerusalem that kept Gentiles from entering the temple.

 

4. Find the answers to the following questions in Eph 2:14-18.

a. What was the cause of the wall of hostility between Jew and Gentile?

. . . . . . .           

b. How did Christ demolish this wall?

 

3. The Gentile Believers Were Made Heirs through the Gospel (Chapter 3)

A. The mystery now revealed

The mystery which has been revealed to the apostles is the truth written in chapter 2; the inclusion of the Gentiles in one body with the Jews through the Gospel.

 

B. The love of God

1. In 3:17-19, Paul prays that God will empower the believers to know that which is beyond natural understanding: the incredible love of Christ.  What will be the result of this prayer of Paul's being answered (found in verse 19)?

 

2. At this point, Paul realizes he is asking God for something incredible.  Yet he also realizes, as he states in verse 20, that God is able to do beyond all we can ever ask or imagine.

 

3. God used this power to create the universe out of nothing.  And this same power is now at work in those who believe.

. . . . . . . .     

4. The Members of God's Family Should Aim for Unity (Chapter 4)

Paul spends much of the first half of the letter establishing the believers in the knowledge of their new identity.  He then begins the second half with these words:  "As a prisoner of the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received" (4:1).

 

In other words, when we consider all Christ has done for us, it should lead us to live in a very different way.  Paul explains in very practical terms how we can do this.

 

A. Unity comes through humility and love -- 4:1-3

How is such unity accomplished?  Through humility, patience and love (4:2).

 

B. Believers have much in common

1. Christians have too much that unites us for us to allow divisions

 

2. Even in the midst of this unity, there is diversity.  This is because Christ manifests His grace in different ways through the believers by giving them different gifts (4:7-8).

 

C. The 'five-fold ministry'

1. The purpose of the five-fold ministry

a. The purpose of the ministries listed here is to equip all believers for their ministries.  It is the ministry of the believers that causes true maturity and growth.

 

b. The growth and maturing of the Body of Christ will protect it from false teachers.  When the Church comes to maturity, divisive false doctrines will be gone and the believers will unite in love around truth (4:13-16).

 

2. Every believer has a ministry

a. In 4:7-16, Paul reveals the vision of the Lord has for His Church and the responsibility of each believer to play a part in the fulfillment of this vision.  The Lord has given to every believer a purpose and goal in life, which is to contribute to the growth and development of the Body.

 

b. Therefore, Paul insists the believers must no longer live the aimless, sinful lives they once lived (4:17-19).

 

D. Put on the new man

True conversion means a changed life.  In fact, the initiation rite of the early church -- baptism -- is the picture of a life being changed.

 

1. Truthful speech should replace telling lies.

 

2. Do not stay angry beyond the present day, and in so doing "give place to the devil."

 

3. Instead of stealing, work. . . . . . . .    

 

4. Speak only words which edify

 

5. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit

a. He is grieved by:  bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice

 

b. He is pleased by kindness, tenderness and forgiveness

 

5. The Members of God's Family Should Live Lives of Love (5:1-6:9)

A. Warning. . . . . . .             

It is important to note that Paul is saying the identity of the believers should motivate them to live in a Godly fashion. 

 

B. False Teaching

Paul indicates that some are trying to deceive the believers "with empty words."

. . . . . . . .      

C. Live in light of who you are

We are no more darkness, but light and should live as such.

 

D. Exposing deeds of darkness

1. But, how should believers go about exposing the deeds of darkness?  By talking much about them? No, for Paul says it is shameful even to mention them (5:12).  How then?  By the way they live their lives.  When the believers live as children of light, the brightness of their lives reveals the contrast between good and evil works. 

 

2. As seen in 5:14, what impact does the believer's righteous lifestyle seem to make on the world around him?

 

E. Be filled with the Spirit (18-21)

 

F. Submission and Relationships -- 5:22-6:9

1. Husbands and wives

a. Paul begins these instructions by teaching that wives should submit to their husbands.  The husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the Church.  Therefore, the wife submits to the husband "as to the Lord" (5:22-33).

 

b. The husband is to love his wife the same way Christ loved the Church in surrendering Himself up for it (5:25-27).  The portrait Paul gives the husbands of Christ's care for the Church is love in its most extreme form for another's highest good.  As the husband cares for his own body, so he should for his wife who is one flesh with him.  This also relates to Christ's care and concern for the Church, who is one with Him (5:29-39).

 

c. Note that in the instructions given to the husbands and wives, Paul only instructs each partner to fulfill their own role.  The husband is not to subject the wife to himself for that would not be loving.  And the wife is not to nag the husband to love her, for that would not be submissive.  So Paul tells each to do their own part, and this is how he ends the chapter (5:33).

 

2. Children and parents

a. Children are told to obey their parents "in the Lord" or according to the Lord's will (6:1).   This is proper, and with it comes a special promise from God (6:2-3).

 

b. Fathers should not exasperate their children, but instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (6:4).  As the loving husband makes it easier for the wife to be submissive, so the father who obeys this instruction will inspire obedience in his children.

 

3. Slaves and masters

a. This instruction can easily be applied to the relationship between employer and employee.  The employee should work wholeheartedly for his or her employer, both when they can be seen and when they cannot be seen by the employer.

 

b. Paul says elsewhere that such wholehearted service makes the Gospel attractive to others (Titus 2:9-10).

 

c. In 6:9 Paul urges masters to be good to their slaves.  He reminds them that they are fellow slaves of God along with their own slaves; and God will judge them alongside of their slaves without favoritism.

 

6. The Children of God Should Wear God's Armor (6:10-24)

Paul urges us to be strong in God and to put on His armor so we can stand against the devil's schemes (6:10-11).  He points out that our war is not with people, but with the unseen wicked spiritual forces in the heavens (6:12).  Therefore, God's spiritual armor is needed to be able to remain standing (6:13).  This spiritual armor is a lifestyle of godly living.  Each piece is only available in God.  We cannot produce any of these attributes in ourselves.

A. Belt of truth

We are to live according to the truth revealed to us in the Gospel.  We are to not allow our lives to be based on false teachings or changing feelings.  In addition to this, we need to be careful to see to it that we always are truthful.  Our words should be trustworthy and honest at all times.

 

B. Breastplate of righteousness

Righteousness, like the rest of the armor, is a gift from God.  We are to live lives of righteousness.  This means to live in a way that is 'right;'  that is pleasing to God.  When we act in an unrighteous way, we become vulnerable to spiritual attack, and we can do no good in the work of God's kingdom.

 

C. Preparation of the Gospel of peace

Peace is given to us, and we are to be messengers, spreading this Gospel of peace to others.

 

D. The shield of faith (6:16).

When we put our trust in God, there is nothing the enemy can do to us. 

 

E. The helmet of salvation (6:17).

The knowledge of our salvation guards our minds and covers our thinking.  Our mind is a battlefield, and the thoughts we choose to dwell on go far in determining the outcome.  We need to make it a practice of grabbing hold of God's thoughts.

 

F. The sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (6:17).

Paul is speaking of Scripture here.  Jesus used this as a weapon when under attack by Satan (Mat 4:1-11).

 

G. Praying always

We are to pray in the Spirit, and pray for our fellow believers.  We are also to pray for ministers of the Gospel.

 

 

Assignment:

Study the following passages, using the 3 steps of Bible Study.  Write down the main point and one application for each one:

 

Ephesians 2:11-22

 

Main Point:

 

 

Application:

 

 

Ephesians 4:17-32

 

Main Point:

 

 

Application:

 

 

 

Philippians

 

1. Serving in the Gospel  (Chapter 1)

A. Partnership in the Gospel

In verse 5 Paul gives the reason for his joy:  It is for their partnership in the gospel from the time he met them until this present time.

. . . . . . . .  

B. Confidence that God will complete the work

In verse 6 Paul speaks of His confidence that God will complete the work He has started in these Philippians - or, in other words, bring them safely into His coming Kingdom.

 

C. According to verse 10-11, what will happen if Christian love abounds in knowledge and insight?

. . . . . . . .      

D. Paul in prison, and the Gospel preached

1. What positive effect does Paul see his imprisonment as having had (verse 12)?

. . . . . . . .      

2. Paul rejoices in the fact that other people have become emboldened by his stand for the gospel and have begun to speak out themselves for the truth (verse 18).  However, although some do so out of a heart of love for Paul, others by doing so seek to cause him more misery in his imprisonment (verse 17).

 

3. According to 1:18, what is Paul's response to the false preachers' attempts to hurt him?  Why?

. . . . . . . .       

4. In verse 19 Paul expresses his confidence that "what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance."  What deliverance is Paul speaking of (see v 20)?

 

5. Although Paul greatly longs to depart to be with Christ, he has long ceased to live for himself or to make decisions based on his own desires.  So in this passage, we see Paul's intense desire to be with Christ being equaled by his intense desire to benefit other people.

 

E. The suffering of the Philippians

The apostle's heart goes out to the Philippian Christians in their suffering.  His desire for them is the same desire he has for himself: that they will stand strong for the Gospel in the face of their tormentors.

 

2. Serving in Humility (Chapter 2)

A. Humility brings unity

While pride would tend to cause strife, humility promotes unity.  When people seek to take the lowest place and serve others they are working for the common good and not seeking prominence for themselves.  Instead, they are looking to benefit others. 

 

B. Christ's humility and glory

1. Sometimes Jesus is spoken of as being "less" than the Father, because He has become less in form and position, having wrapped Himself in the nature of a servant.  At other times He is spoken of as the Father's equal, for within the servant's form the Deity remains complete.

 

2. Just as Christ chose to esteem the Father as better than Himself, so the Philippian Christians are exhorted by Paul to consider one another better than themselves.

 

3. The Bible constantly exhorts us to humble ourselves before God and allow Him to exalt us.  Here in the life of Jesus we see someone who humbled Himself in the most extreme manner and was then exalted by God in the most extreme manner.

 

C. Working out your salvation

1. In vs 12-13 we are told to work out our salvation, because it is God who is working in us.  So who does the work, the believer or God?  And if salvation is by grace through faith, (Eph 2:8-9), how can it be "worked out" at all?

 

2. Verses 12-13 make it plain that the believers and God are working together.  The believers are called to cooperate with God by yielding to His work in their lives.

 

D. Epaphroditus

In 25-30 Paul speaks of sending back Epaphroditus (probably with this letter).  Epaphroditus is the messenger the Philippians sent to Paul with their financial aid (4:18).  Sometime while he was away from Philippi, he became sick and almost died.  In verse 29 Paul says that the Christians should honor men like Epaphroditus.  He gives the reason for this in verse 30.

. . . . . . .              

3. Serving in Christ (Chapter 3)

A. True circumcision

It seems the Judaizers have been at work in Philippi as in other places.  Here, Paul tells the believers to beware of them.  He adds that they are not the true circumcision, but we (Christians) are.

 

B. No confidence in the flesh

1. Paul has more reason than others to have confidence in the flesh, but he does not

 

2. It is only Jesus who can make you acceptable to God.  Do not trust in anything else.

 

3. Nothing compares to knowing Christ.

The best things in life are just rubbish compared to knowing Christ (Matt 13:44-46).

 

C. Pressing toward the goal

We have a goal of final salvation and seeing God glorified in our lives.  Do not look to the past -- successes or failures -- but keep your eyes on the goal!

 

4. Serving in Peace (Chapter 4)

A. Be in unity -- and help others to be also.  Get along with one another

 

B. Rejoice in the Lord always!

Consider Paul's circumstances as he writes these words.  He is in prison, facing a trial and possible execution.  His response?  Rejoice!

 

C. Do not be anxious -- ask God and trust Him

 

D. Giving

1. Learn the secret of being content in all things

Again, take note of Paul's circumstances.  "I can do all things" specifically refers to being able to be content no matter what is happening in life.

 

2. Do not seek the gift, but the good of the giver

 

3. Be confident that God will supply all your need -- and the need of those who give

 

Assignment:

Study the following passages, using the 3 steps of Bible Study.  Write down the main point and one application for each one:

 

Philippians 2:1-11

 

Main Point:

 

 

Application:

 

 

Philippians 3:1-14

 

Main Point:

 

 

Application:

 

 

Colossians

 

1. Christ is Superior to All Creation

A. Paul's prayer for the Colossians -- that they will

1. Be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding

 

2. Walk worthy of the Lord

Walking worthy results in fully pleasing God, bearing fruit, and increasing in the knowledge of God.

 

3. Be strengthened to endure patiently with joy

 

B. Focus on Christ

1. He has delivered us

 

2. He has redeemed us, and brought us forgiveness

 

3. He is "the image of the invisible God."

No one can see God -- but in Jesus we are finally given a full revelation of Him.  Later (v 19), Paul says that in Jesus "all the fullness should dwell."

 

4. All things were created by Him and for Him

 

5. He is before all things

 

6. He is the head of the Church

 

C. Christ reconciles us to God

1. This reconciliation came "in the body of His flesh through death."

 

2. He will present us to God, holy and blameless

There is a condition to this promise, though.  Paul says "if indeed you continue in the faith..."

 

D. Paul's sufferings

1. His sufferings "fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ."

 

2. God gave Paul a ministry of making Him known to the Gentiles.  This ministry was the cause of much suffering for Paul.

 

3. Paul stays faithful, "striving according to His working which works in me mightily."

 

2. Christ is Superior to Philosophy and the Law (Chapter 2)

A. Continue to walk in Christ just as you received Him

 

B. When you have Christ, you have everything.

There is no need to add anything to Him.  In fact, doing that actually causes us to lose something.  Paul says, "you are complete in Him [Christ]."

 

C. Jesus has "wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us..." (14)

1. God has made us alive in Christ.  It was not the law that accomplished that

 

2. The law was 'contrary to us,' but Jesus has set us free from its power through the cross.

 

3. Knowing that you received life through God alone, do not run to legalism

There is an appearance of wisdom in legalism (23).  It seems to cause people to live a more holy and pleasing life.  But this is not really the case.  How are people deceived by this appearance, and why is it not really wisdom at all?

3. Living in Christ

A. Set your mind on things above

Since Christ has raised you to this new life, live like it!  You used to walk in all kinds of sinfulness, but now you have been changed.  Do not go back to that filth! 

 

B. The character of the new man

Love is shown to be the most important virtue.  As believers in Christ, we are to live lives of love.  All of our actions and relationships should be bound with love.

 

C. The Christian home

1. Wives, submit to your husbands

 

2. Husbands, love your wives

 

3. Children, obey your parents

 

4. Fathers, do not provoke your children

 

5. Slaves, obey your masters

Know that whatever work you are doing, you are really doing it for the Lord

 

6. Masters, be fair to your workers -- remember that you also have a Master

 

D. Continue in prayer

Included in this, Paul makes a request that they pray for him, that he can clearly present the Gospel.

 

E. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside

Live in such a way that people are attracted to Christ.  "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt..."

 

 

Assignment:

Study the following passages, using the 3 steps of Bible Study.  Write down the main point and one application for each one:

 

Colossians 2:1-10

 

Main Point:

 

 

Application:

 

 

Colossians 3:18 – 4:1

 

Main Point:

 

 

Application:

 

 

 

 

The Pastoral Epistles

 

1. 1 Timothy

A. The teaching of the church is characterized by grace and not by law.  1:3-20.

1. Timothy should avoid false teachers of the law.  1:3-7

a. Their teachings bring controversy (1:3-4)

b. Their teaching does not produce love (1:3-4)

c. They do not know what they are talking about (1:6-7)

 

2. Timothy should understand the purpose of the law.  1:8-11

a. The law is good. 1:8

For the law to have benefit it must be used properly.  There is a wrong legalistic use that must be avoided.

 

b. The law is made for the unrighteous.  1:9,10

 

c. The Law is designed to show people their sinfulness.

 

3. Timothy should be mindful of God's abundant grace.  1:12-14

Paul remembers his background of violent opposition to the Gospel.  He was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man.  He is overwhelmed by the grace of the Lord who appointed him to his service.  God delights in choosing those whom the world thinks incompetent to be His vessels of grace (1 Cor. 1:26-31).

 

4. Timothy should receive the grace of God poured out on sinners.  1:15-17

Paul sees himself as the worst sinner because of his violent opposition to the Gospel (Acts 9:1,2).  If God was gracious enough to save him, He is gracious enough to save anyone.

 

5. Timothy should hold on to faith and a good conscience.  1:18-20

a. Fight the good fight.  1:18

 

b. Do not lose faith and a good conscience.  1:19,20

These are vital for ministry.  Failure in one brings failure in the other. 

 

c. Hymenaeus and Alexander

Paul's prescription for these two blasphemers was that they be handed over to Satan.  This refers to excommunication from the congregation (see 1 Cor. 5:1-5).  Out in the world, away from the fellowship and care of the church, they would be taught not to blaspheme.  The purpose of this drastic action is not to punish them, but to restore them (2 Cor. 2:5-8: 2 Thes. 3:14-15).

 

B. Church life.  2:1 -- 3:16

1. Prayer promotes opportunities to proclaim God's grace.  2:1-7

a. Prayer is of first importance - 2:1.

 

b. Pray for those in authority - 2:2.

 

c. God wants everyone to be saved.  2:3-4.

 

d. Salvation is possible only through Jesus Christ.  2:5-6. 

 

e. Salvation is proclaimed by individuals.  2:7.

 

2. The behavior of godly women promotes respect for God.  2:9-15

a. Inner qualities are of greater value than outward show.  2:9,10

 

b. Submission to authority follows God's divine order.  2:11-15

1). Women are to have proper attitudes toward male leadership.  2:11, 12.

There are two possible explanations for this verse.  Some maintain that Paul prohibited teaching only by women not properly instructed, i.e. the women at Ephesus.  These women tend to exercise authority over men.  Others say that Paul did not allow a woman to be an official teacher in the church.  She was not to exercise authority over a man.  The word translated "quietness" in v. 11 and "silent" in v. 12, does not mean complete silence or talking.  It is clearly used elsewhere (Acts 22:2; 2 Thes. 3:12) to mean "settled down, undisturbed, not unruly."

 

2). Creation order is to be observed.  2:13,14. 

The reason Paul makes this appeal to the women is because of the creation order, i.e. Adam was formed first then Eve.

 

3). Women are saved through childbearing.  2:15.  Here are two possible meanings to this:

a). it speaks of the godly woman finding fulfillment in her role as wife and mother in the home.

b). it refers to women being saved spiritually through the most significant birth of all, Jesus Christ.

 

3. Qualified leadership promotes maturity in the church. 3:1-13

Many churches fail to function properly because there is a shortage of qualified leaders. 

 

C. Guarding the faith 4:1-6:10

1. The faith of the church will be abandoned by some in the last days.  4:1-5

 

2. The faith of the Church is upheld by a good minister of Jesus Christ.  4:6-16

a. He focuses on godliness.  4:6-8.

b. He puts his hope in the living God.  4:9-10. 

c. He sets a proper example in his personal life.  4:11-14.

d. He watches his life and doctrine closely.  4:15-16.

 

3. The faith of the church is upheld when the church behaves like a family.  5:1-6:10

a. Widows are to be taken care of properly.  5:3-16

Throughout the Old and New Testament widows, along with orphans and aliens, are viewed as special objects of God's mercy.  As such they are to be taken under the wing of the congregation (Deut. 10:18; 24:17-21; Acts 6:1-7; James 1:27).

 

b. Elders are given special respect by the church.  5:17-25

1). They are to be given financial support.  5:17-18

2). Their sins are given public exposure.  5:19-21

3). They should not be appointed hastily.  5:22-25

 

c. Slaves are to treat their masters honorably.  6:1-2

 

d. The heretics and the greedy are to be recognized.  6:3-10

1). Heretics do not agree with the doctrine about Christ.  6:3-5.

2). The greedy are not content with what they have.  6:6-10.

 

D. Final exhortation 6:11-21

1. The appearing of Jesus Christ will certainly take place.  6:11-16

 

2. The appearing of Jesus Christ should affect one's attitude toward money.  6:17-20

a. Do not put your hope in wealth.  6:17. 

b. Lay up treasure for the coming age.  6:18-19.

c. The faith is to be maintained in view of His coming.  6:20-21. 

 

2. 2 Timothy

A. One who ministers must be steadfast.  1:1-2:13

1. Qualities of being steadfast  1:6-18

a. Sincere faith

 

b. Zeal is present because of what God has done for each person.  1:6, 7. 

 

c. Courage is necessary because of hardships -- 1:8-12

 

d. Diligence to the Gospel. 1:13-18

 

2. Duties of steadfastness.  2:1-13

a. Being strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.  2:1

 

b. Entrusting the truth to reliable men who will be qualified to teach others.  2:2

 

c. Enduring hardship. 2:3-7

 

d. Motivation for enduring hardship (2:8-13)

1). Remembering Jesus Christ. 2:8

2). Remembering the suffering of Paul because of the Gospel. 2:9,10

3). Remembering future consequences.  2:11-13

 

B. One who ministers must be doctrinally sound.  2:14-4:8

1. We must be diligent in maintaining doctrinal soundness.  2:14-26

a. By correctly handling the word of truth.  2:14-19

 

b. By being a clean instrument.  2:20-21.

 

c. By being faithful in our conduct.  2:22-26.

 

2. We must understand the characteristics of the last days.  3:1-9

a. People will be godless.  3:1-5

The "last days" is a term which includes the entire period between the first century and Christ's return.  During this time the world will see terrible times.  Paul gives a list of 19 general characteristics that can be expected of godless people in the last days.  These are always present but they will intensify as Christ's return draws near.

 

b. Those who do not acknowledge the truth when they hear it will be led astray.  3:6-7

 

c. Those who have depraved minds will be rejected.  3:8,9

The reference to Jannes and Jambres and their opposition to Moses draws not on the Old Testament but on a widespread Jewish legend about two of Pharaoh's magicians who competed against Moses and lost (Exodus 7:11, 9:11).  Those who oppose the truth will not get very far, their folly will be clear to everyone.  (Compare 1 Timothy 5:24,25).

 

3. The preaching of the word is the vital ministry of the church.  3:10-4:8

a. Those who faithfully proclaim the Word will face severe opposition.  3:10-13

 

b. Those who proclaim must be faithful to the Scripture.  3:14-4:5

 

C. Paul reminds us of God's faithfulness in the midst of adversity.  4:9-22

 

3. Titus

A. Qualified elders are entrusted with God's work.  1:5-9

Paul and Titus ministered together in Crete (1:5) but they did not have time to organize churches.  So, Paul left Titus behind to appoint elders in every town. 

 

1. An elder is entrusted with God's work.  (1:7).

 

2. Elders are to be qualified.  1:6-8.

As in 1 Tim 3:2-7, Paul lists the qualifications for elders.  Both lists cover essentially the same qualities.  These qualifications are the marks of maturity.  An individual will not achieve perfection in any of these qualities but his life should consistently reflect them.

 

3. In v. 7, Paul switches from the term "elder" to "overseer".  The two words plainly refer to the same church office.

 

B. False teachers in the Church  1:10-16

1. There are false teachers in the church.  1:10

 

2. They must be silenced.  1:11

The consequences of allowing these to teach is that whole households can be ruined.  They must be silenced (compare 2 Timothy 2:23-26).  Their motive is not the good of the church but their own financial gain.  Allowing them to minister only brings harm.

 

3. They must be sharply rebuked.  1:12-14

 

4. They are unfit for doing anything good.  1:15, 16

 

 

C. Godly behavior is expected of all groups in the Church.  2:1-10

1. Teach older men to manifest maturity.  2:2

 

2. Teach older women to be reverent.  2:3

 

3. Teach younger women to be good wives and mothers.  2:4,5

Seven qualities are mentioned of what they are to be.  By manifesting these qualities they would earn the respect of outsiders and prevent God's word from being slandered. 

 

4. Encourage young men to do what is good.  2:6-8

Paul encourages them first of all to have self-control since this is where many have the greatest problem.  Since Titus was a young man, he also received some advice.  Paul was concerned that Titus teach in such a way that those in opposition would have nothing bad to say about him. 

 

5. Teach slaves to be trustworthy.  2:9,10

 

D. The grace of God promotes Godly behavior.  2:11-14

These verses briefly describe the effect that grace should have on believers.  Grace leads to the rejection of ungodliness and leads to holier living.

 

1. The grace brings salvation to all believers.  2:11

 

2. This grace teaches believers to say "no" to sin and "yes" to righteousness.  2:12

Those who have "died with Christ" do not need to be enslaved by the power of sin.  Freedom is possible through the Spirit whom He has given unto us.

 

3. This grace gives believers a blessed hope.  2:13

 

4. This grace is provided through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  2:14

 

E. This grace motivates believers to do what is good.  2:15-3:11

1. Doing good involves being good citizens within the community.  3:1, 2

Paul lists seven qualities expected of Christian citizens.  They should be an influence for good in the community in every way.

 

2. Doing good is motivated by grace.  3:3-8

a. By remembering from what we were saved.  3:3

b. By remembering the kindness and love of God.  3:4-7

c. By remembering that our devotion should be to doing what is good.  3:8

 

3. Doing good involves striving for unity.  3:9-11

 

F. Doing good results in the provision of daily necessities and in productive lives.  3:12-15

Paul concludes his letter to Titus with some personal requests.  He was an apostle, yet he needed the support and encouragement of other believers.  He gives one last plea for believers to do what is good by providing for their own necessities.

 

Assignment:

Study the following passages, using the 3 steps of Bible Study.  Write down the main point and one application for each one:

 

1 Timothy 4:1-16

 

Main Point:

 

 

Application:

 

 

2 Timothy 4:1-8

 

Main Point:

 

 

Application:

 

 

Titus 2:1-15

 

Main Point:

 

 

Application:

 

 

 

Philemon

 

1. Paul introduces the letter and greets Philemon and others

 

2. Thankfulness to God for Philemon (4-7)

 

3. Plea for Onesimus (8-25)

A. As an apostle, Paul could exercise his spiritual authority over Philemon and order him to forgive Onesimus (8).  However, he chooses instead to ask Philemon to welcome Onesimus (17).

 

B. The name Onesimus means "useful."  Paul admits to Philemon that in the past Onesimus has not been useful (11). However, because of his conversion, Onesimus has become a person who is useful to Paul and to Philemon (11).

 

C. When Onesimus left Philemon he was only Philemon's slave. Now, because of his conversion he is a brother as well (16).

 

D. Paul urges Philemon to "welcome him as you would welcome me" (17).  However, this welcoming back into Philemon's household is not Paul's true desire. His true desire is something he makes plain and yet never directly asks for.  What is Paul's true desire in this matter ( 13-14)?

 

E. In verses 15-16 Paul speaks of the possibility of Onesimus having left for awhile so that Philemon could have him back for good. 

 

Assignment:

Study the following passage, using the 3 steps of Bible Study.  Write down the main point and one application:

 

Philemon 8-16

 

Main Point:

 

 

Application:

 

 

 

Part Three

 

1. Revision:

 

Discussion Groups:

Revise the material in this course together.  Ask one another the following questions (and more if you want to come up with your own).  Try to answer as many as possible without looking in your notes.

 

1. Give a summary of the content and message of Ephesians

 

2. Give a summary of the content and message of Philippians

 

3. Give a summary of the content and message of Colossians

 

4. Give a summary of the content and message of the Pastoral Epistles

 

5. Give a summary of the content and message of Philemon

 

 

 

2. Questions:

Ask questions that you wrote down during the month as you studied the material, or any other question you may have.