This week we will finish up the book of Acts and start into the Epistles (letters). First up is Paul's letter to the church at Rome, followed by his first letter to the church at Corinth.
Romans - Most scholars believe that this book was written in Corinth at the end of Paul's second missionary journey there, dating it somewhere around 55-56AD. The book of Romans is Paul's greatest theological legacy to the church. The longest by far of his letters, it's intent is to explain that salvation is offered through the Gospel (or good news) of Jesus Christ. Since Paul has not been to Rome at this point, he outlines the good news of Jesus thoroughly so that Paul's teaching will not be confused with other false teachers. Paul' argument regarding God and Jesus is as follows: 1) God's wrath revealed against the unrighteous (1:18-3:20); 2) God credits righteousness to all (3:21-5:21); 3) The gift of God's righteousness results in righteous living (6:1-8:39); 4) God's righteousness in the case of Israel (9:1-11:36); 5) God's righteousness reflected in the righteous lives of believers (12:1-15:13); and 6) God's righteousness shared by Paul as minister to the Gentiles (15:14-33).
I Corinthians - I Corinthians was written from Ephesus (16:8), a city on the west coast of today's Turkey, about 180 miles by sea from Corinth. According to Acts, Paul founded the church in Corinth (Acts 18:17), then spent approximately three years in Ephesus. The letter is thought to have been written during this time in Ephesus, which is usually dated as being in the range of 53-57 AD.
Corinth was the meeting point of many nationalities because the main current of the trade between Asia and western Europe passed through its harbors. Paul's first visit lasted nearly two years and his converts were mainly Greeks. In his first epistle, he mainly concentrates on addressing some divisions in the church, some problems with immorality and teaching about marriage, Christian liberty, worship and resurrection.
Here is the schedule:
23 - Acts 27-28; Romans 1-2
24 - Romans 3-6
25 - Romans 7-10
26 - Romans 11-14
27 - Romans 15-16; I Corinthians 1-2
28 - I Corinthians 3-6
29 - I Corinthians 7-10
May God add His richest blessings to the reading, the hearing, the understanding and most importantly the living out of His holy word. Amen.