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Reading Guide

Ask yourself the following three questions for the letters of Galatians, Philippians, and Philemon:

  1. What is the occasion of the letter?

  2. What problems have arisen that Paul is trying to address in the letter (i.e., what is the context of each letter)?

  3. What does Paul say to resolve the problems (i.e., what are the overarching themes of each letter)?

  4. What has led to the conflict between Paul and his opponents in Galatia? What is the view of the Jewish law that he maps out for his converts in Galatia?

  5. How does Paul’s autobiographical reflection work in Galatians? What purpose does it serve?

  6. Describe the differences between Luke’s account of Paul’s conversion and meeting with the apostles and Paul’s account. From a thematic perspective, how can you account for these differences?

  7. Why do many scholars believe Philippians is a compilation of more than one letter?

  8. What suggests that Paul might have contemplated suicide in Philippians? How was suicide typically viewed in the ancient world?

  9. What does the letter to Philemon suggest about Paul’s position on slavery?

  10. What is the significance of the Christ hymn in Philippians?

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