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Epistles


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EPISTLES
There are 21 Epistles in the New Testament:


Epistle # of Chapters
Romans 16
1 Corinthians 16
Galatians 6
Ephesians* 6
Philippians* 4
Colossians* 4
1 Thessalonians 5
2 Thessalonians 3
1 Timothy 6
2 Timothy 4
Titus 3
Philemon* 1
Hebrews 13
*Prison Epistles


Epistle # of Chapters
James 5
1 Peter 5
2 Peter 3
1 John* 5
2 John* 1
3 John 1
Jude 1

Interpretation Guidelines21


1  Read the whole epistle at one time to get the overall idea of the letter.

Write the main idea of the epistle you are studying in the box below:

2  Read the whole epistle at one time to get the overall idea of the letter.

Write the main idea of the epistle you are studying in the box below:

3  Determine where the passage you are studying fits into the overall structure of the epistle.

Write the main idea of the epistle you are studying in the box below:

Most epistles follow the typical pattern of ancient letters: greeting, body, and closing. The Pauline epistles usually add two additional sections: greeting, thanksgiving, body, moral exhortation, and closing. Knowing where your passage fits into this structure will help to follow the line of thinking/argument.

Check the where your passage fits into the overall structure of the epistle:


Structure V
Greeting
Thanksgiving
Body
Moral Exhortation
Closing

4  Obtain historical and cultural background information about the epistle.

Epistles are usually written to a specific audience in a specific place. The more you understand about the context, the better you will be able to interpret it.

Using a Bible dictionary or other reference materials, answer the following questions regarding the epistle you are studying. Refer to Prose section for further questions.


Question Answer
Who is the author?
When was it written?
Where was it written?
To whom was it written to?
What is the cultural background of the recipients?
What is the purpose of the letter?
Is there any additional information regarding the city and people of the city to whom it was written?

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