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Historical Context of Prison Epistles

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Epistles refers to the letters, in terms of Biblical books, that Paul wrote during his incarceration in Rome. Paul’s forerunner, Jesus, brought him to Rome so that he could complete the mission strategy that he gave to his disciples before his ascension. According to the book of Acts chapter eight, Jesus addressed his disciples and informed them that they would be his witnesses in Judea, Jerusalem as well as in Samaria and other parts of the earth. Paul went to Rome to spread Gospel. Through his visit to Rome, the Gospel of Jesus was taken from Jerusalem, the Jewish capital to the Gentile capital, Rome. However, his apostolic activities in Rome did not work well as he expected. His activities were limited, and he never had any freedom of movement to spread the Gospel. Instead, he was chained and became under house arrest and strict guards (McGrath, 2006).

Paul’s imprisonment started in Caesarea some years later. He later took time and revisited the churches in Greece’s Northern Province, Macedonia during his second journey as a missionary. From Macedonia, Paul traveled to Jerusalem through Miletus and Troas. On arrival to Jerusalem, the Jews, claiming that he had brought the Gentiles into the temple thus desecrating it, mobbed him ruthlessly. He was rescued by the Roman soldiers who took him into their custody. Paul was imprisoned by the Roman governor Felix for two years hoping that Paul would bribe him for freedom. During this time, he wrote the Prison epistles. The epistles were letters addressed to the Ephesians, Philemon, Thessalonians, Colossians, and Philippians. Most of these letters were about the relationship of these people with their God.

Role of the Holy Spirit according to Paul

The Holy Spirit plays a pivotal role in the Christian lives. He gives Christians faith. He awakens the believers’ faith so that they may have eternal life through their knowledge of God as the only true God worth worshipping. The Holy Spirit is also responsible in drawing Christians to Christ through its grace. The joint communion between the Holy Spirit and Christ brings Christians closer to God. He helps Christians to love God. Through its power, Christians receive new lives in Christ, which enables them to love God the same way He loves them. The Holy Spirit helps Christians in knowing God. In First Corinthians chapter two, we are told that no one apart from the Holy Spirit can understand the thoughts of God. It helps Christians in their prayers. He enables them to pray the way they should do it. The Holy Spirit also intercedes for them in many ways.

He promotes unity in the church. The Holy Spirit, The Father, and the Son are in one Trinity. The church is, therefore, also one or unified by the three Trinity. He acts as the church’s soul, that is, the Body of Christ. He directs the church in all His actions with a goal of proclaiming God’s Promised Kingdom. The Holy Spirit helps in the growth of the church. The Holy Spirit ensures that the church develops in order to continue with the Work of Christ (Son) whom the Father had commanded. He does this by giving blessings to the church like good clergy and other charismatic gifts. He helps Christians in their religious services (liturgy). He prepares them for the coming of Christ at the same time reminding them of the mysteries of the Christ before and after His death (McGrath, 2006).

How Historical Context in the Wenham Textbooks and Epistles Relate to Jesus and Spirit’s Teachings in John 14:15-27 and 16:5-15

In John 14:15-27, Jesus address the people telling them to keep His commands if they love Him. He promises them to ask God, the Father to give them another Helper or Advocate who will be with them forever. The Helper, in this context, refers to the Holy Spirit. He says that the world or other people cannot accept the Lord because they do not know Him. He assures never to leave them like orphans. He also said that anyone who loves Him would be loved by the Father (John 14: 15-27 New King James Version).

In John 16: 5-15, Jesus addresses his disciples before His ascension. He identifies their grief. He goes ahead to comfort them that His ascension is for their own good for if He does not go, the Advocate will not come. He outlines the roles of the Advocate as judges who will prove the world wrong due to their sins and acknowledge the righteous. The judge will look into two aspects, sin, and righteousness. Sin because most people do not believe in Him (Christ). Righteousness because He will be with the Father and nobody will see Him any more (John 16:5-15 New King James Version).

Wenham’s book analyzes the law book of the Bible, Leviticus. The author of the book tends to explain how people are being taught the Laws of Moses, Torah. Teaching involves the priests who explained, in detailed form the meaning of each law and its relevance. Those who break these laws were punished accordingly (Wenham, 1979). There is a similarity between the two references as both focuses on the upkeep of justice in the societies through judging the wrong doers (Wenham, 1979).

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