Epistles (Letters)

Epistles of Paul (Pseudepigrapha)

The Good News of Paul – Anybody can be given a chance to have a change of heart.

Paul’s conversion made his life worth living instead of persecuting  Christians; he became a devoted Christian, preaching the gospel of the new life in Christ.   Before his pastoral work, Saul was the persecutor of Christians. He was on his way to Damascus to persecute more Christians. In that encounter, Saul was blinded by a light from heaven, and at the Lord’s instructions, he went to Ananias for his eyesight to be restored. Paul had his vision back and received the Lord Jesus Christ, and Ananias baptized him. Saul was then known as Paul, the preacher to this day, from Saul, the executioner.

After his conversion, Paul preached about Jesus Christ and claimed that Jesus Christ fulfilled God’s promises to Israel. The Jews didn’t like his presence everywhere preaching the doctrine they rejected long ago until the Jews sought to kill him. Paul fled and ended up in Berea city, where the people would not just accept the preaching of the word without thoroughly examining the truth of what they heard. Paul hid like a fugitive criminal from an arrogant persecutor to a humble servant of the gospel, and he experienced what Christians went through when he was persecuting them. As a changed person, He preached forgiveness of sins for all kinds of people, Jews and Gentiles, through Jesus Christ.

When God sends the Son,  the grace of God is with the Son. Jesus means God saves. The saving grace is already at hand, and the writing of darkness that attempts to snatch us from the light cannot keep its grip on us any longer because when Jesus said it was finished, his mission was accomplished. He had rescued us from the power of darkness and moved us into the kingdom where the light is none other than but the beloved Son. Through reconciliation with the LORD our Father, we have already entered God’s kingdom, and God’s presence can be felt. Paul made this clear to the Colossians based on the Epistle.

After rejection from the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul founded a new religion that was an outreach to the Gentiles, and he made himself the apostle of the Gentiles. Though he was a self-made apostle, his success in spreading the good news was more significant than the apostles of Jesus Christ, who focused only on the Jews. When the apostles found that the Gentiles were accepting the gospel without hesitation, they decided to preach it to the Gentiles. Many believed that Peter brought the gospel to the Gentiles, but many argued that it was Paul. This argument had been settled. Both sides agreed that Peter would be the principal apostle to the Jews and Paul to the Gentiles.

According to the Epistle, our faith uplifted us from being called to being chosen, and the gift of salvation is within our reach—2 Thessalonians 2:13-14.

“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David—that is my gospel, for which I suffer hardship, even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But the word of God is not chained” (2 Timothy 2:8-9).

“This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Timothy 1:9-10).

The gospel points us on the pathway to an everlasting destination, and through God’s mercy, He extends His grace to us so we can have a chance to change our hearts and acknowledge His existence in our lives until we realize that the truth is within us. God shares His Spirit so we can have life; He has wanted us to be with Him since the beginning of life. Therefore, obedience to His will and the purpose of our existence will assure us of eternal life.

Turn to God with gladness and accept the indwelling of His Spirit, and Jesus will be our brother. In Matthew 12:50 KJV, he said, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, sister, and mother.” This is terrific news, and that is a promise. It’s about Jesus and what he has done for us, as the 2nd person, and it is about us, the 3rd person, that made the godhead complete—The Trinity. Life with hope to be within the deity is far better than life outside.

God is all in all.

The Good News of Paul in the Bible- Pseudepigrapha.

First, we must know what Pseudepigrapha means. It falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed author is not the actual author, or a work whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past. In biblical studies, the term pseudepigrapha can refer to an assorted collection of Jewish religious works thought to be written between 300 BCE and 300 CE— Wikipedia.

The books of the New Testament of the Bible that scholars claimed to be Pseudepigrapha are The Epistle to the Ephesians, Epistle to the Colossians, Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, First Epistle to Timothy, Second Epistle to Timothy, and Epistle to Titus.  

Epistle to the Ephesians

Epistle to the Ephesians was written by Apostle Paul and addressed to all Christian churches. Ephesus. The Epistle to Ephesians is the climax of the New Testament. For some reason, it was explicitly called the Epistle to the Ephesians. It would also be a letter to the Laodiceans, which many New Testament Scholars already agreed is the lost letter of Paul. Since Ephesus and Laodicea is a neighboring city in Asia Minor (now called Turkey), the letter could address not only two groups of people but also other Christian churches in the region with the same doctrinal and practical view of the good news taught by Paul.

Some versions of the Bible inserted the word “at Ephesus,” which made it exclusively a letter to the Ephesians instead of just leaving it blank as the original Greek manuscript was. Paul may have left this letter intentionally blank, like a formed letter, so it could have been sent to other regional churches by just filling in the blanks. Whatever version of the Bible you have that says either “To the saints at Ephesus” or “To the saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus” makes no difference; you still have the truth of the Word and His righteousness.

Ephesians 1:3 says, “Praise is to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” Many made a mistake that the heavenly realm mentioned in this letter is the same heaven we will someday. It is the realm we live in now, where our journey begins and ends with struggle and challenges, not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities, and the powers of the dark force who never sleep unless they do evil things.

The heavenly realms are the space we live in, shared with spiritual forces with a dark intent to win us using their tactics of lies and deception and tempt us with promises of luxurious living, which is the weakness of living with flesh and blood. The arena where the battle of the mind is being carried out is within us. We are being fed with conflicting thoughts to distract our attention and constantly being attacked when opposed to their lies. Always remember that God is our stronghold. Focusing our mind on thinking the way God thinks is the way to win a war in mind. God’s word says about the power of the mind, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5). The mind of Christ has the sense of the Father, and through the Holy Spirit within us, our minds and thoughts, is of God. When God is with us, no one can be against us. A calm mind and thoughts with godly intent to act according to His wholeness and richness is the way to fight a spiritual fight.

We have to guard our hearts and minds in this spiritual warfare. We have to wear the armor of God and use the power of prayer that comes from the heart, with intensity, driven by the Holy Spirit, and not by some logical thinking. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). God, being rich in mercy, even when we were dead through our transgressions and sins, His great love made us alive together with Christ—by grace, we are reconciled, and by grace, we are saved.

We once walked according to the desire of this world, and we disobeyed God and followed the will dictated by the prince of the air, who works in the children of disobedience night and day. The desires of the flesh and the mind are what we were and were the children of wrath.

God the Father Almighty, our all-in-all, sent Jesus Christ, the grace of God, our Lord and our brother. Through Him, we are made new, a new creation born from above, and God said, “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Therefore, be born again and live a godly life.

The gospel points us on the pathway to an everlasting destination. Through His mercy, God extends His grace to us so we can reconsider and acknowledge His existence in our lives until we realize that the truth is within us. God shares His Spirit so we can have life; He has wanted us to be with Him since the beginning of life. Obedience to His will and the purpose of our existence will assure us of eternal life.

Turn to God with gladness and accept the indwelling of His Spirit, and Jesus will be our brother. In Matthew 12:50 KJV, he said, “For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, sister, and mother.” This is terrific news, and that is a promise. It’s about Jesus and what he has done for us, as the 2nd person, and it is about us, the 3rd person, that made the godhead complete—The Trinity. Life with hope to be within the deity is far better than life outside.

Critical verses for your reading devotion.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,” Ephesians 1:3 (World English Bible).

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast. For we are his artistry, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8–10 (World English Bible).

“There is one body and one Spirit, even as you were called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all, and in us all.” Ephesians 4:4–6 (World English Bible).

“Subjecting yourselves to one another in fear of Christ.” Ephesians 5:21:

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and the strength of might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the devil’s schemes.” Ephesians 6:10–11(World English Bible).”

Letter to the Colossians

Colossae was about 100 miles east of Ephesus in modern-day Turkey. Epaphras was noted as responsible for the church’s growth in the city. Paul never visited Colossae and never saw his face in the town (Colossians 2:1). Epaphras let him know the condition of the church.

Paul denounced false teachings such as Jewish legalism, Gnosticism, and Greek philosophy, which were inherently dangerous, and mysticism. Worshiped angels are also mentioned in the letter. What Christ has done over his enemies, we should trash the practices and control those evil powers to rule over us, or we reject Christ’s sacrifices to free us from the darkness.

The false teachers tried to bind Paul’s doctrine with theirs, such as dietary restriction and circumcision. Paul warned the Colossae not to be deceived by their outside showing of humbleness. Those People who pretend to be humble but lack acceptance of salvation through Christ are not in submission to God’s plan of salvation as revealed in John 3:16.

The fabricated religion has no bearing on salvation. No human work can be equaled or substituted for the death of the Son of God on the cross. Only those who believe in the Son’s salvation work are acceptable in God’s eyes. Paul teaches us to focus on Christ above us, the realities of heaven, and concentrate on our eternal destination rather than the temporal joy on this earth. God set these realities before our time and they still stand today.

Righteous conduct and behavior can lead Christians to the reality of true salvation, which can only be done by abandoning evil practices. Walk away from sinful ways and live a new life in Christ Jesus. Christians are justified in Christ to be new creations, then sanctified to be with the Spirit of God living within the body of the believers, which we call the Body of Christ. To be filled body with the Spirit, the general application is to love one another, to be good to one another, or in a more simple way, to avoid the word being twisted, to give respect to someone as we will also be respected. A wife’s submission to her husband is not one way but mutual submission. The husband is the head and commanded to love his wife, honor her, and be considerate, not enslave her.

“This is the end of the matter. All has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 —World English Bible

Colossians key verses for your reading devotion:

 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him, all things were created in the heavens and on the earth, visible and invisible things, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things have been created through him and for him.” Colossians 1:15-16 (World English Bible)

“Colossians 2:8

“Be careful that you don’t let anyone rob you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the elements of the world, and not after Christ.” Colossians 2:8— WEB (World English Bible).

“Put on, therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, a heart of compassion, kindness, lowliness, humility, and perseverance; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, if any man has a complaint against any; even as Christ forgave you, so you also do.” Colossians 3:12–13 (World English Bible).

“Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, so you may know how to answer each one.” Colossians 4:5-6 (World English Bible).

Colossians 1:25-28—(World English Bible)

25) of which I was made a servant according to the stewardship of God which was given me toward you to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden for ages and generations. Now it has been revealed to his saints, 27 to whom God was pleased to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 We proclaim him, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus;

God is overall.

Letter to Thessalonians

2nd Thessalonians

Book Type: The New Testament’s ninth Pauline Epistle; the 2 Thessalonians

The second letter to Thessalonians clarifies concerns about the day of the Lord and dealing with Christian persecution.

The letter encourages the believers in Thessalonica not to be shaken regarding the end-time prophecy. (2 Thessalonians 1:1–2), encouragement to be ready for Christ’s coming (2 Thessalonians 1:5–12). Encouragement not to be concerned by those people of darkness. These lawless people will be taken care of and eventually defeated by Jesus, the mighty Son of God (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Stand firm, and everything will happen. Work piously harder to meet the spiritual and physical needs of the unfortunate. Continue living according to God’s ways. As the letter said, “But you, brothers, don’t be weary in doing what is right. If any man does not obey our word in this letter, note that man, that you have no company with him, to the end that he may be ashamed. Don’t count him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15) World English Bible.

Paul had already spoken about this future Antichrist with the Thessalonian believers. He warned them not to be idle in working the way where the truth is, to continuously work righteously with others, to live in peace, and to hold on to the faith that cannot be shaken. “Don’t you remember that, when I was still with you, I told you these things?” (2 Thessalonians 2:5), Always be vigilant, wear the Armor of God, and be encouraged to stand firm 2 Thessalonians 2:13–17—(World English Bible).

Critical verses for your reading devotion:

“Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay affliction to those who afflict you, and to give relief to you who are afflicted with us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, punishing those who don’t know God, and to those who don’t obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus.” 2 Thessalonians 1:6–8 (World English Bible).

“13 But we are bound to always give thanks to God for you, brothers loved by the Lord because God chose you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief in the truth” 2 Thessalonians 2:13 (World English Bible).

2 Thessalonians 3:3: “But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one.”

“10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this.” “If anyone is not willing to work, don’t let him eat” 2 Thess 3:10 Thessalonians 3:10 (World English Bible).

Bishop Joseph

Bishop Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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