- Discuss the occasion and purpose for the writing of two of Paul’s letters from Prison (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon). Who were the opponents (if any) of Paul in these areas? What was the nature of the opponents’ doctrine and how did Paul respond to it?
- Discuss the occasion and purpose for the writing of two of Paul’s Pastoral letters (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus). Why did Paul write these letters? What guidelines did Paul offer that may be useful to leaders today? Which ones would you put into use and why?
Paul wrote 1 and 2 Timothy to his disciple Timothy in order to combat heresies that had arisen in the church. The primary heresy Paul sought to combat was likely an early form of Gnosticism. It was partially mixed with older forms of Judaism.
The purpose for writing 1 Timothy was to help Timothy deal with the false teachers who had infiltrated the church. The letter was addressed and intended for an individual, but there are references toward sharing the contents of the letter with the church so that the false doctrines that Paul rebukes. 2 Timothy was written with a similar purpose but is Paul’s “final charge to Timothy to ‘proclaim the message’ of the Christian gospel”(Kostenberger 2009, 647).
As Paul wrote these pastoral letters to Timothy and Titus, he wrote them to individuals, but with the intention of these letters being spread to other congregations and being used by more than just the individuals. With that beings said, the principles that Paul mentions such as challenging false doctrine, qualifications of leaders, how to minister to different kinds of people, and the kinds of people to go into work (especially ministry) with. I would argue that that all of these can be put into practice in some way shape or form. As Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:16, “ALL Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” This applies to all areas of scripture still. Even when a specific instance is not discussed, the principles of scripture can be applied to any life situation.