The confrontation of Paul with the Lord along the road to Damascus not only changed his focus in life but also the direction of Christianity in the very early Church. We learn of this conversion from his pen in Galatians 1.13-17. Paul was a citizen of Tarsus whose family strictly observed the Jewish Law. He probably received his education in this city which was known for its schools and culture. As a result Paul was steeped in Greek thought and culture as well as Jewish. Later he was sent to Jerusalem where he learned not only the Law but also all the rules which interpreted it. He became a Pharisee, a term that means "separated one," who strictly interpreted how Jews were to live.
When we are first introduced to Paul he is behaving as a convinced Pharisee would, to harass those who are not living according to the Law, in this case the early Christians. Hence he consented to Stephen's stoning. However this zeal was soon to be re-directed. The Lord of all creation intervenes. "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" "Who are you, Lord?" he asks. "I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up...and you will be told what you have to do."
In a twinkling of an eye Saul’s life has been turned upside down. The road he had always travelled had come to an abrupt end. At one stroke Paul was separated from all the skill and status he had known. All the language and learning he had acquired was taken from him. Like an infant he had to learn to speak another language – the language of Christ. The desert of Arabia would be the venue for this process – perhaps three years to learn “the strange words of Christ” as Rowan Williams called them.
Paul rightly saw that the Christian religion, though born within Judaism, had to be a faith for all peoples. In proclaiming that Jesus Christ died and triumphed over death for all, Paul became the first great Christian theologian. His teaching on sin, grace, justification and righteousness influenced greatly some of the greatest theologians after him such as Augustine and Luther.
It was the authentic Paul's letters that circulated firstly amongst the early Christians, perhaps there were a few more than have survived as suggested in 1Corinthians 5-9. It was customary in the early Church when one community received a letter to share it amongst other Christian communities. This was true also in regards to accounts of martyrdoms of Christians. By the end of the first century it would seem that there were in circulation letters bearing Paul's name with Ephesians as a covering letter but without the Pastoral letters. It was the heretic Marcion c. 180 who compiled the first canon of St. Luke'sGospel and these writings of Paul.
There are approximately 800 copies of letters bearing Paul's name that have survived, but no two copies are completely identical and many are incomplete. Nothing survives in the original hand of Paul. As we approach closer to our era, translators would do as we have done with biblical translations, give a more modern version. Prior to this scribes would often use more than one older copy and compare notes before scribing the text. One of the oldest manuscripts to survive is what is known by historians as Codex Alexandrinus (A02). This was compiled in the 5th C. and was given by Kyrillos Lukaris, Patriarch of Alexandria, to Charles I of England in 1627/8. Today it is in the British Museum. Only a few pages are missing, and all of the letters attributed to Paul are there.
The oldest manuscript of the letters of Paul we have is dated c.200 and is generally known as Papyrus 46 as it was found in Egypt. This codex was made out of one single quire, that is, 52 papyrus leaves were put on top of each other and then folded in the middle; thus forming 104 leaves holding 208 pages of text. However this manuscript definitely did not contain the Pastoral letters or Philemon.
To-day we know that some of the letters bearing Paul's name were not written by him. We must remember for centuries writers used a name of prestige to have their works recognised, and so it is easy to understand how Paul's name came to be associated with various letters just as Matthew and John's names were associated with Gospels. There are only seven letters that can be definitely said to be from Paul's hand, and some of these contain more than one letter such as Philippians and 2 Corinthians. When one studies all letters bearing Paul's name there is obviously a big difference in the structure of the Church in the Pastoral Epistles compared to Galatians, Corinthians and 1Thessalonians, the earliest of Paul's letters. There is also a difference in theology in these and with Colossians, whilst Ephesians is very similar in content with Colossians.
The seven letters that are accepted almost universally by biblical scholars as authentic Pauline letters are: 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, 1 & II Corinthians, Phillipians, Philemon and Romans.
On Colossians scholars are divided over authorship. With the remainder: II Thessalonians, Ephesians, 1 & II Timothy and Titus most scholars believe that they were written by follower(s) of the Pauline school.
In writing his letters Paul followed the conventions of ancient letter writing. Thus his letters begin with the name of the author, together with the names of those who join him in sending the letter; these are followed by the addressees and by a shorter or longer blessing or benediction e.g in 1 Thessalonians 1:1. This is then followed by a thanksgiving section, apart from Galatians. For example, in 1 Thessalonians there are two such sections, 1:2-10 and 3:9-13, and a transitional sentence to the body of the letter, usually in the form of a disclosure statement as in1 Thessalonians 2:1. However the main contents of the letter have no regular structure. Like the opening the ending has more structure. Often there is mention of travel hopes, personal greetings and a blessing. Paul dictated his letters to an amanuensis or secretary, and sometimes he added a few lines in his own hand as seen in 1 Corinthians 16.21-24.
The Seven Certain Letters of Paul
This is most likely the first letter written by Paul in c. 50-51, not long after his departure from Thessalonica when he arrived in Corinth. Therefore it is a precious document as it tells us about the Church twenty years after Christ's death. It has the first record of the resurrection, and the first simple creed.
The letter shows how much Paul was a pastor to those whom he converted when he established a community of Christian believers. He wanted to keep contact with them, and so in this case he is sending Timothy to them. It also revealed his desire to revisit (2:17 3:11). As in all Paul's letter his dominant teaching was the death and resurrection of Christ, and in this letter Paul also focused on Christ's imminent return as every chapter ends with a reference to it. Therefore it was important for those early Christians to live in readiness for the second coming and to live morally according to Christ's precepts. Paul thus exhorted them to walk in holiness, love, diligence, hope, light, and obedience. It is obvious that the very first Christians believed that Christ would return SOON and hence Paul advocated that they "pray without ceasing", and "in everything give thanks."
This letter was written to all the churches in Galatia, c. 51, and certainly no later than 58, probably from Ephesus. After a brief salutation Paul launched into his denunciation. It would seem that Paul had received news of others coming into this region proclaiming a different gospel from that of Paul. These were trying to impose Jewish commitments on the gentiles such as circumcision, Sabbath observance and dietary requirements (2:11-14). Paul's reply was:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. . . . As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed. 1.6-9.
This is the most passionate of all Paul's letters as he addressed these specific issues facing Christians in this region. Paul displays his anger and defensiveness in the language he used to address "his children", "O foolish Galatians who has bewitched you" (3.1), Circumcision is not necessary for salvation. He rebuked:
But now, after you have known God, or rather are known of God, how can you turn back again to the weak and beggarly elemental whereupon you desire again to be in bondage? 4.9.
It would seem that these adversaries doubted Paul's legitimacy in proclaiming the Christian message, as he was not an Apostle. As his version of the gospel did not require observance of the Jewish law, it could not be trusted. Hence these Galatians should reconsider what Paul had taught them and heed the words of the Jewish scriptures that set forth the way of righteousness and the guide for the observance of ritual requirements.
Paul's in defending his apostleship simply told his conversion, that revealed his authority directly from Jesus Christ, and that he was in some way independent of the apostles in Jerusalem (1.11-17). His account also made clear that the conference in Jerusalem had approved missions both to the Jews and to the gentiles. Paul also recounted the Antioch episode with Peter and his rebuke of him for his duplicity ( 2.11). But it is also clear that Paul lost out to Peter in Antioch. Without this letter we would not know of this confrontation.
In this letter Paul made clear that Christians are no longer under the yoke of the Law. Although we are descendants of Abraham, we descend from the son of the freewoman, not the bondwoman, of whom the former is by promise (4.1-31). Therefore Christians are not bound to Jewish laws. It is much more "liberal" than his letter to the Romans which cover common material.
Whether Jew or Gentile, all are subject to sin, which is overcome through the death and resurrection of Christ. Thus we are justified not by the Law but by faith in Christ, which is the main argument of chapter three. We have to respond to that in faith.
I have been crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I [Greek, egô] but Christ who lives in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (2.20).
Sometimes Galatians has been referred to as "the Magna Carta of the Reformation" based on 2.16.
Know that a man is not justified on the basis of the work of the Law, but on the basis of the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. So we too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified on the basis of Christ's faithfulness, and not on the basis of the works of the Law for no flesh will be justified on the works of the Law.
1 Corinthians (B)
This letter was written c. 54-8 from Ephesus, not all that long after Paul had spent those first 18 months in Corinth, and where when he first arrived had found Christians there already such as Aquilla and Priscilla.
Scholars have differed over how many letters Paul actually wrote to the Christians in Corinth. This is one suggestion, using letters of the alphabet for numbering.
Letter A. = that previous letter, now missing as mentioned in 1Cor. 5-9.
Letter B. = most of 1 Corinthians Paul responded to oral and written reports from Corinth see 1Cor. 1.11-17, 7.1, 16.17. Exceptions 11.2-16,14.34-5. This is probably an addition later on when the church began to frown on women's participation in the Church's ministry. It is obvious from Paul's comments elsewhere that he did not think women should be "seen and not heard".
Letter C = 2Corinthians 2.14- 6.23; 7.2-4 Paul defended his apostleship against various unnamed opponents.
Letter D = the so called "Letter of Tears" as mentioned in 2Cor. 2.3-4, 7.5,12.
Letter E = 2Cor. 1.1 2.13, 7.5-16, 13.11-13 a "Letter of Reconciliation"
Letter F = 2Cor. 8 instructions for how to organise the collection for the poor in Jerusalem.
Letter G = 2 Cor. 9 more instructions for the Jerusalem collection.
Letter H. 2Cor 10.1 13.10 Sometimes this is seen as the "tearful letter" by scholars and would therefore have been written before 2Cor. 1-9. Its tone is harsh and sarcastic against the "false apostles". One reason for thinking it later than the earlier chapters is that in the earlier chapters it would appear that Titus had only been to Corinth once, but by 2Cor.12.14-18 he had been there more than once.
From a close study of 1 Corinthians it is evident that a two-way conversation was taking place between Paul and the Christian community in Corinth. Of special interest are the references to a letter they had written to Paul, in which they request advice about: unmarried persons; food offered to idols; spiritual gifts; the organization of the collection; and the return of Apollos.
But given the relatively easy travel between Corinth and Ephesus, Paul had also received information by personal visits from some of the Corinthian folk: Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (1 Corinthians 16:17); Chloe's people (1 Corinthians 1:11); and Apollos, if he had recently arrived from Corinth (1 Corinthians 16:12). What Paul learned from these conversations was divisions in the congregation, (1:11); a man living incestuously, (5:1); the misinterpretation of Letter A. (5:9-10); litigation between members of the church, (6:1); divisions and disorderly conduct at meals, (11:17-22); questions about dress, etc., (11:2-16); and questions about the resurrection of believers, chapter 15.
Thus Letter B is in considerable measure a "reactive" letter, responding to questions, crises, controversies, and challenges; it surely addresses a wider range of issues than any other he wrote. It is in this first letter that Paul has left behind some gems for us as Christians. He gave the first account of the institution of the Eucharist, and the importance of how to celebrate this Sacrament (1Cor. 10.14-22, 11.23 29), the meaning of love in the life of a Christian (1Cor.13), and the victory over death, the last enemy to be defeated.(1Cor.15.54-58).
The collective letters in 2Corinthians reveal that Paul has made that second visit, and that he was contemplating another (2Cor.2.1). It would seem that this visit did not go well 2Cor. 2.1,-11, 7.12) and it was followed it up with "tearful letter", 2Cor.2.3-4, 7.5, 12. Although some scholars describe this tearful letter as being 2Cor, 10-13, it probably is not and has been lost. When Paul was informed that this "tearful letter" had the desired effect he composed a letter in Macedonia in 55-6, 2Cor. 1-9 which was delivered by Titus (2Cor.7.4-16). This is sometimes referred to as "the Letter of Reconciliation". Some scholars see 2Corinthians 2.14 6.23; 7.24 as a separate letter as Paul defended his apostleship against various unnamed opponents. 2Cor. 6:14-7:1 would seem to be non-Pauline. Chapters 8 & 9 have also been seen as two separate letters for instructions for the collection for Jerusalem.
However the situation deteriorated in Corinth which provoked Paul to write 2Cor.10-13, perhaps also from Macedonia where he set out his intention of revisiting for the third time (2Cor.12.14,13.1). What the composite letter of 2Corinthians reveal is that Paul had rival teachers who were teaching another gospel. These are the "false apostles".
It would seem that some editor other than Paul's amanuensis took care to gather these letters which eventually resulted in what we know as 2 Corinthians.
In Romans Paul introduced himself and his gospel to a church, that he had neither founded nor visited. Paul implicitly acknowledged the awkwardness in his labouring in Rome, since it was not one of his foundations, and since it was his policy not to work where the gospel had already been preached by others.
The origins of Christianity in Rome are obscure. Had believers from Judea or Syria visited or migrated to Rome? or had residents of Rome in administration, commerce or legion returned from Judea or Syria with some knowledge of the Gospel? It would seem though from the writings of Suetonius that Jews were expelled from Rome in c.49A.D. over some disagreement on "Chrestus". Amongst those expelled were Aquilla and Priscilla who went to Corinth before Paul arrived. Thus it would seem that they would have been amongst the first Christians in Rome. We may suppose that from its beginning there were both Jew and Gentile Christians. Actually Paul's epistle reflected this membership as evident in the extended discussion of clean and unclean food, the Law and circumcision. 14:1 -15:6 gives further support to the existence of an inclusive church, not unlike the Antioch church before the rigorists arrived from James.
Romans was written probably in Corinth during Paul's final visit in the latter part of the fifties. Paul longed to go westward to Rome as it was the centre of civilization and then on to Spain, but the collection for Jerusalem had to take precedence. So the next best thing was a letter or rather an epistle. Apart from Ch.16 (which probably does not belong to Romans), the whole epistle is a unity of writing. Probably Ch. 16 was part of another letter written by Paul.
Of all Paul's letters this is the most theological and was the basis for Western theology from Augustine onwards. It indeed endeared itself to the Protestant Reformers on the Continent.
Much of what Paul wrote in Romans had already surfaced in his letter to the Galatians. God's righteousness is the unifying theme. Paul began his epistle with a statement of his belief. "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jews first, and then to the Greeks." (1.16).
Yet "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." .i.e. both Jews and Gentiles. But through Christ's death all can be delivered from the power of sin as He is the expiation of man's sins and all can be reconciled to Him. Thus in His righteousness and our faith in Him all can obtain eternal life. Paul indicated that even Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, lived by faith, not by the Law. That came later under Moses, but through Christ we are no longer subject to the Torah. All we have to do is to accept Christ's righteousness for us in faith.
Philippians and Philemon.
Philippians with Philemon are the two most personal letters and the two we know that Paul definitely wrote from prison. But from what prison? Rome? Caesarea or Ephesus? To-day most scholars prefer the last city. One of the reasons for this is distance between prison and the destination of the letters. Both Rome and Caesarea are twice as far from Philippi than is Ephesus. As for Philemon, if his presumed residence was Colossae, the journey for his escaped slave to reach Paul would have been some seven times greater to Rome than to Ephesus. Onesimus has to find his way to city and prison where Paul was and then to make his way back with the letter.
Furthermore his travel plan when writing to Philemon was to visit him in Colossae, and when writing to the Philippians it was to visit Phillipi. However when writing to the Romans from Corinth it was to Rome and Spain Paul was turning his attention, quite the opposite direction from Asia or Macedonia. Moreover in Romans there is a sense of completion of work in Asia and Greece before embarking to Jerusalem.
Philippi standing on the plain of eastern Macedonia had been refounded by Phillip of Macedonia. Under the Romans it became a colonia with citizenship where Roman veterans settled.
When Ephradotus had first arrived in Ephesus he brought not only provisions and a helping hand but also news of the Philippian congregation that revealed problems. Christians had threats of persecution (1.28-9), enemies threatened the moral fabric of the Christian community (3:18-19); false teachers had arose (3.2) etc.
Paul wrote to the Philippians not long after writing his letters constituting 2 Corinthians, i.e. mid fifties.
However one problem with this letter is its unity. In ch. 1 Paul is making the best of his imprisonment; in ch. 2 he is sending Epaphroditus back to Phillipi; in ch.3 Paul criticised Judaisers; in ch.4 he acknowledged the gifts Epaphroditus brought him. Moreover there is between 3.1 and 3.2 a break so harsh as to defy explanation. This sharp change where Paul is basically saying goodbye and then immediately breaks out in attack against the Judaisers suggests there are two letters here.
Then there is the mention of bishops and deacons in the opening verse. Paul is writing in the mid 50's when this kind of organisation does not exist in the Christian community-it is a latter feature, towards the end of the first century as mentioned in the Pastoral letters. In ch. 2.6-11 is the Carmen Christi. This too seems to be a developed Christology, and points to non-Pauline authorship. Polycarp in his letter to the Philippians made mention of "letters" from Paul.
The overall purpose of the letter is a "thank you" letter for the sacrificial giving that the Philippians have made for Paul. Yet the heart of the Phillipians is sanctification. Using the example of Philippi being a free city, he encouraged these Christians to live as becomes being citizens of heaven despite any opposition (1.27-30). They are to live humbly as servants of Christ (2.2-3).
Ch.3 introduces Paul's diatribe against the Judaisers. He himself has all the ingredients of being a good Jew (3.4-6), but they are nothing in comparison with "the knowledge of Christ Jesus" His righteousness "is of God by faith" not from the Law. Beware of all those "whose end is destruction" and let your conversation be heavenly. Ch. 4. Paul gave three exhortations, including that lovely one of "Rejoice in the Lord always", and his thank you and greetings.
Another person appeared at Paul's cell to assist him in his imprisonment, Onesimus, a slave belonging to Philemon. When Onesimus escaped, we may suppose that he made his way to Ephesus and sought out Paul, who befriended him, made a convert of him, too, and benefited from his help. But Paul, unwilling to betray the trust of Philemon, persuaded Onesimus to return to his master, and wrote this brief letter to plead with Philemon for humane treatment of his escaped slave (with perhaps an implied plea for his release). There is also the idea expressed by some scholars that Onesimus was not a runaway slave but was sent by Philemon in a similar way the church in Philippi sent Epaphroditus to Paul. Here he is converted by Paul.
In this letter Paul employs a variety of devices in the art of persuasion to make his case, ranging from flattery (v. 7) and pathos ("I, Paul, . . . an old man, and now also . . . a prisoner of Christ Jesus" v. 9) to a business-like approach (vv. 18-20) and an implied threat ("prepare a guest room for me," i.e. "I'm coming to check up on you," v. 22). In this letter the main theme is thanksgiving. This letter is important in that it reveals the importance of the "house church" amongst early Christians.
Some fifty years later Ignatius of Antioch on his way to Rome, addresses one Onesimus as bishop of Ephesus and makes reference to the letter to Philemon. It is quite probable that this is the same Onesimus who visits Paul in his cell at Ephesus.
I PREACH CHRIST CRUCIFIED
The disputed Letter to the Colossians
Scholars are divided over the Pauline authenticity of this letter. Those who think it is not the work of Paul state as evidence that the difference of style and theology from the other Pauline letters. Undoubtedly the message is clear Jesus is the Lord of all creation. Colossians is also described as conflating theology from the authentic letters. The heresy it seems to be addressing is a form of Gnosticism which is not a problem until towards the latter part of the first century. It was probably written in the same time period as II Thessalonians, i. e. 70-90 A.D to a predominately gentile church, presumably at Colossae.
Those who defend the authenticity of this letter believed Paul wrote it from Ephesus about the same time of the Philemon letter, and that its cosmos theology is not incompatible with the theology of his other letters.
The church in Colossae was situated near the Lycus River in fertile land. The Gospel was first brought by Epaphras (1.7, 4.12) who had travelled to Paul to tell him of the heresy developing (1.8).
Who ever is the author the crowning theme is the Christological hymn. Christ is "the first born of every creature" who has created all things "in heaven" and "in earth". In all things He has "pleased the Father" and has "made peace through the blood of his cross" and has reconciles "all things unto himself". Paul himself has suffered for the sake of the Gospel, and he encourages the Colossians not to be persuaded by anything but the truth of the Gospel. So if you have been "risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God."
Christ is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation.
Definite Letters by Paulinists some times referred to as The Deutero-Pauline Letters
Even before his letters began to be collected and circulated throughout the Christian world, the process of imitation began; and if imitation is the highest form of flattery, Paul would have been flattered. Copyright did not exist either, so it was not uncommon in the ancient world to circulate writings bearing the name of a great figure to gain circulation. Thus pseudonymous writers soon began to enlarge the Pauline legacy with epistles attributed to him. These writers either updated Paul's original writings or used his name and method of greetings to address new problems faced by the developing church as obvious in the Pastoral letters.
These letters are
A quick glance of this letter would suggest it is a duplicate of 1Thessalonians, such as its structure, but there are subtle differences such as style. It is much colder than 1Thessalonians whereas this letters speaks of rejoicing in the salvation of Christians when Christ comes in judgment, 11Thes. Is more concerned with punishment upon non-believers.
It is addressed to a church, many of whose members have died before the end-of-time events depicted in 1 Thess. 4.13-18. Even Paul had died before the time he is depicted in his letter to the Thessalonians.
The author solved the problem with this explanation of the delay: the end will not come before the man of lawlessness is revealed; but this lawless one cannot be revealed because he is being restrained. The following end-of-time scenario results: When the restraining power, not clearly identified, is removed, then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, who in turn will be slain by the Lord Jesus with the breath of his mouth and destroyed by his appearing and his coming as indicated in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12. With this interpretation the end-of-time expectations was kept alive. At the same time he provides a degree of predictability: the reader will be able to know when the end is near as he would have plenty of warning (2Thes. 2.5). How different was this to 1Thess.5.2 where Paul indicated that there would be no warning, it would come like a thief in the night.
At the end of 2Thessalonians the pseudonymous author attempts to authenticate the letter with Paul's hand written greeting and signature, which is "the mark in every letter of mine" (2 Thessalonians 3:17), even though several of Paul's certainly authentic letters (1 Thessalonians, 2 Corinthians, Philippians and Romans) contain no such signature. That this author was not the first to attempt a writing in the name of Paul is shown by his warning not to be disturbed "by letter, as though from us" (2 Thessalonians 2:2).
This letter was written after Paul's death sometime between 70 90 A.D. Other themes were encouragement to persevere (2.13-17) and mutual prayer (3.1-5).
Most scholars agree that this letter bearing the name to the Ephesians was a covering letter for the first collection of Paul's letters. The oldest manuscripts have no mention of Ephesus in its greetings. It is addressed "to the saints who are also faithful;"
his covering letter incorporates significant parts of Colossians.
1.15-7 1.3-4,9-10 5.5-6 3.5-6
2.5 2.13 5.19-20 3.16
2.16 1.20-2 5.22.25 3.18-19
4.2 3.12 6.5-9 3.22-41
4.16 2.19 6.21-2 4.7
This letter also presents Paul's themes such as human sinfulness and the gift of grace.
The author casts this letter in a half-liturgical style, characteristic of the writings towards the end of the first century. The first two chapters summarise Pauline Christianity in the form of a jubilate over the blessedness of Christian salvation. Indeed it is like an overture foreshadowing themes to be developed later on.
One of the features of this covering letter is its sense of "oneness" in Christ, which of course appears in Ignatius' letters written not long afterwards. "There is but one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one baptism, one God and Father of us all."
The writer is far more ecclesial than Paul, which of course the church was at the end of the first century approached. Hence in Ephesians the church is a spiritual fellowship built upon the apostles and prophets (2.20.22); it is also the bride of Christ (5.25-32). Christians are urged to "walk worthy of the vocation " of their calling "with all lowliness and meekness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love. Above all do not let "the sun go down upon your wrath"
1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, and Titus are referred to as "the pastoral letters"
These pseudonymous writings represent a stage in the development of the church (towards the end of the first century A.D. or later) when it was becoming institutionalized, when faith meant correct doctrine, and when the apostles were a distant memory. Church ministry is defined (bishops, deacons and presbyters, 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 5:17-23; Titus 1:5-9), as seen in 1 Clement and the letters of Ignatius and Polycarp. The qualifications for these offices is also set; the deeds of charity are set out (1 Timothy 5:3-16); heresy is being fought by defining creeds (1 Timothy 2:5-6; 2 Timothy 2:8-13; Titus 3:4-7; compare 2:1); and the importance of living morally is a rule throughout the three letters.
1Timothy and Titus are very similar with II Timothy sandwiched in between. These letters were probably written at the end of the first century. They do not appear in Marcion's canon.
The Collection of the Letters
It may be supposed that Paul's seven authentic letters would have been the nucleus of the collection; that by the turn of the first century had in addition II Thessalonians, Colossians and Ephesians (as covering letter) and that some time in the next several decades the Pastoral Letters were included. Things may not have been quite this straightforward, in view of the fact that 2 Corinthians is not quoted until well into the second century, from which we might suppose that there were delays in assembling its constituent parts into what became the canonical letter we know. The "Letters of Paul" as they were known in the early Church were in circulation and known by Christians by the end of the second century, either separately or attached to some other texts.