Letters of Paul | The Pauline Epistles

Letters of Paul | The Pauline Epistles

Letters of Paul | The Pauline Epistles

The Epistles of Paul or Pauline Epistles or Letters of Paul are a set of 13 letters attributed to the apostle Paul of Tarsus and addressed to different Christian communities of the 1st century. A fourteenth letter, the Epistle to the Hebrews, the work of an anonymous author, is sometimes added to them. They quickly became part of the canon of Scripture. From the end of the first century, most Christian communities used these texts in their liturgy.

The Pauline epistles, also called Epistles of Paul or Letters of Paul, are the thirteen books of the New Testament attributed to Paul the Apostle, although the authorship of some is in dispute. Among these epistles are some of the earliest extant Christian documents. They provide an insight into the beliefs and controversies of early Christianity. As part of the canon of the New Testament, they are foundational texts for both Christian theology and ethics. The Epistle to the Hebrews, although it does not bear his name, was traditionally considered Pauline (although Origen, Tertullian and Hippolytus amongst others, questioned its authorship), but from the 16th century onwards opinion steadily moved against Pauline authorship and few scholars now ascribe it to Paul, mostly because it does not read like any of his other epistles in style and content.

Letters of Paul have a characteristic personal relationship between the writer and recipient of the letter. Paul greeted many people by name and was often affixed with information on the value of their friendship and gratitude for the kindness they gave him.

Most scholars agree that Paul actually wrote seven of the Pauline epistles (Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 2  Corinthians, Romans, Philemon, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians), but that four of the epistles in Paul’s name are pseudepigraphic (Ephesians, First Timothy, Second Timothy, and Titus) and that two other epistles are of questionable authorship (Second Thessalonians and Colossians). According to some scholars, Paul wrote these letters with the help of a secretary, or amanuensis, who would have influenced their style, if not their theological content.

Read also: The Complete Holy Bible

The Pauline epistles are usually placed between the Acts of the Apostles and the Catholic epistles in modern editions. Most Greek manuscripts, however, place the General epistles first,[4] and a few minuscules (175, 325, 336, and 1424) place the Pauline epistles at the end of the New Testament.

In the order they appear in the New Testament, the Letters of Paul are:

RomansChurch at RomeΠρὸς ῬωμαίουςEpistola ad RomanosRomRo
1 CorinthiansChurch at CorinthΠρὸς Κορινθίους ΑʹEpistola I ad Corinthios1 Cor1C
2 CorinthiansChurch at CorinthΠρὸς Κορινθίους ΒʹEpistola II ad Corinthios2 Cor2C
GalatiansChurch at GalatiaΠρὸς ΓαλάταςEpistola ad GalatasGalG
EphesiansChurch at EphesusΠρὸς ἘφεσίουςEpistola ad EphesiosEphE
PhilippiansChurch at PhilippiΠρὸς ΦιλιππησίουςEpistola ad PhilippensesPhilPhi
ColossiansChurch at ColossaeΠρὸς ΚολοσσαεῖςEpistola ad ColossensesColC
1 ThessaloniansChurch at ThessalonicaΠρὸς Θεσσαλονικεῖς ΑʹEpistola I ad Thessalonicenses1 Thess1Th
2  ThessaloniansChurch at ThessalonicaΠρὸς Θεσσαλονικεῖς ΒʹEpistola II ad Thessalonicenses2 Thess2Th
1 TimothySaint TimothyΠρὸς Τιμόθεον ΑʹEpistola I ad Timotheum1 Tim1T
2 TimothySaint TimothyΠρὸς Τιμόθεον ΒʹEpistola II ad Timotheum2 Tim2T
TitusSaint TitusΠρὸς ΤίτονEpistola ad TitumTitT
PhilemonSaint PhilemonΠρὸς ΦιλήμοναEpistola ad PhilemonemPhilemP

Sources: BiblicaBible Study ToolsWikipedia

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Photo explanations: Saint Paul writing his epistles by Valentin de Boulogne (1618-1620), Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.


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