Three Taverns Church

The Top 10 Reasons Paul Isn’t Writing To You


The next time you read Paul’s epistles in the New Testament, keep in mind that he’s not writing to you. We are hopelessly removed from Paul’s original audience and can’t really appreciate what life was like in, say, Athens in 56 A.D. Our historical lens is so completely shot through with Judeo-Christian bias that it’s nearly impossible for us to picture. To help you understand what I’m talking about, I’ve put together a Top 10 list below. Enjoy!

    The Top 10 Reasons Paul Isn’t Writing To You

10. You’re not a first century Greek or Roman citizen
9. You have heard or read the name Jesus somewhere
8. You’re pretty sure you know who “the Jews” are
7. You know what a “church” is
6. You’ve used the words “Christmas” and “Easter” in conjunction with religious celebrations
5. You celebrate Christmas and Easter, or know someone who does
4. Where you’re from, prostitution isn’t legal, and (sadly) it’s not part of your regular worship experience
3. Animal sacrifice to a pantheon of gods and goddesses is rare in your circle of friends
2. You’ve helped someone for no reason and with no expectation of repayment
1. Your wildest trip to Las Vegas would’ve looked like a Sweet 16 party to Paul’s audience

With all this in mind I have to ask: Why do we read and preach from Paul’s epistles as if he was writing to us?

2 thoughts on “The Top 10 Reasons Paul Isn’t Writing To You

  1. well how about ten reasons to read and preach from his letters
    God spoke through him for us
    we know the name Jesus in part because Paul wrote about Him
    The discription of “the Jews” is given to us by Paul in his letters. at least some of the high points
    the ideal of the church is described for us in part by paul in his letters
    we use terms all the time for convinience sake they are not intended to be precise
    we dont sacrifice animals but the disciption of it is told to us by many sources ancient and modern. The topic by paul is not about the animals but Christ’s sufficiency again we know this at least in part because of pauls letters
    why would that be a reason to not study anything? And Im a little doubtful of authentic altruism as a motive for any behavior. at least in my life
    Ive never been to Las Vegas but I have yielded to my baser inclinations.

    • LOL, nice list Mr. B, and thanks for reading! If you don’t mind I’ll use your list to create some follow-up posts. Also, I didn’t say not to read or preach from the letters. I said they weren’t written to us, which in my mind means a whole lot of contextualization needs to be taken into account. But more on that later.

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