This course offers an analysis of the epistles that Paul wrote from prison (Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, and Philippians). As Christians, we face many challenges to our faith. False teachings and worldviews assault our loyalty to Christ. Suffering tempts us to think that God is not in control, or that he does have our best interests at heart. And our relationships with other believers are often strained to the point that we doubt the value of the church. But Paul responded to these types of difficulties in his letters from prison.
This study also will set Paul’s pastoral letters against the background of apostolic times. Special attention will be given to the way in which Paul handled false doctrine, to the basic teaching on leadership and church growth, and to the application of the apostle’s teaching to contemporary situations.
1. Describe and differentiate the historical circumstances surrounding the composition of Paul’s Prison Epistles with particular attention to their authorship and recipients and comparatively analyze the place of the epistles in the larger cultural world.
2. Analyze the literary context of these letters in terms of epistolary structure and rhetorical features in order to construct text meaning.
3. Identify the theological emphases of these biblical texts in relation to Pauline topics such as Christology, salvation, missiology, eschatology, and ecclesiology and assess them in light
of current studies.
4. Determine the contemporary relevance of these biblical texts for the support of individual faith development and the congregation’s corporate witness.
5. Identify from recall the location by book and chapter of pertinent passages in the Pastoral Epistles.