Of the 27 books in the New Testament, 21 are letters, with 13 of these definitely written by Paul.
The man God used to write so much of the New Testament, Paul was a Roman citizen, a Jew of Tarsus, a Hebrew of the Hebrews. He was brought up at the feet of a great teacher, Gamaliel, but became a missionary to Jesus Christ. From the day of his conversion, Paul's very life was summed up in his own words, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain" (Philippians 1:21).
This epistle was written from the city of Corinth to the believers in Rome shortly after Paul had finished his work in Ephesus. Rome was the center of the civilized world, the great metropolis of a vast empire. The city had already become the home of many Christians.
Paul is telling the Romans the good news concerning the ways in which God, in His infinite love, has provided free and full salvation for sinners. Paul's main insistence is that man's justification before God rests not on the Law of Moses, but on the mercy of Christ.
Read Romans 1:1-3, 16-17. What is the main theme of Romans? What is the gospel of Christ? What does it reveal?
Read Romans 3:9-18. Man is sinful and lives a life separated from God. Write the five characteristics of a sinful man listed in verses 9-11, 17-18. What righteousness does a man have that he can offer to God?
Read Romans 3:21-28 and 5:1-5. What has God declared to you? Therefore, how are you justified?
Being justified by faith, what is your spiritual resource (Romans 5:5)? What is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1)?
List five ways in which this sacrifice will affect your daily walk (Romans 12:6-13:10). Which area do you need to apply the most?
This epistle was written three years after Paul left Corinth. The Corinthian church sent a delegation of its leaders to Ephesus to consult with Paul about some serious problems that had arisen in the church.
Read I Corinthians 1:17-31. Paul makes it clear that God is wiser than men and chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the mighty. How has God ordained that men should hear and believe? Whom has He chosen for this task? What happens, then, if you boast about what you are doing for God?
Read I Corinthians 9:22-24. Give in your own words definite proof that Paul had forsaken all that he had to follow Christ (verse 22). To what does he liken this task. Why is this so appropriate? What have you given up to help reach someone for Christ?
Read I Corinthians 13. In verses 4-8, insert your name in the place of "love" or "charity." Which verse does not fit you and what do you think God would have you do about it?
Soon after Paul had written 1 Corinthians, he met Titus on his way to Corinth. Titus brought word that Paul's letter had accomplished much good but some were still disloyal, and there were problems with people who put the law before the needs of people.
Paul was physically weak, weary, and in pain. His spiritual burdens were great: first, the maintenance of the churches; second, his concern about the legalists; and third, his anguish over the distrust of him by some members of the churches.
Read II Corinthians 4:1-6. Notice how carefully Paul handles the Word of God. Describe how Paul spreads the gospel of Christ (verse 2). Why did God shine into our hearts (verse 6)?
What is it that Paul fears and of which we all must be well aware (II Corinthians 11:3)?
Read II Corinthians 12:1-10. Paul prayed to be relieved of his "thorn in the flesh" (a physical disability). What was the Lord's answer to his prayer? What was Paul's attitude toward the final outcome? What lesson can you learn from his experience?
Some time after Paul left Galatia, certain Jewish teachers began to insist that Gentiles could not be Christian without keeping the Law of Moses. The objective of this epistle is the defense of the gospel of grace that Paul had received by revelation from Jesus.
Paul shows that the gospel was not of man, neither did he receive it of man, nor was he taught it of man. What was its true origin (Galatians 1:12)?
What was Paul's relationship with Christ (Galatians 2:20)? What effect does this have on his daily life?
Read Galatians 5:16-21. In this passage Paul lists the works of the flesh. How can we as Christians avoid doing the works of the flesh?
According to Galatians 5:22-23, what will be the result in your life of this type of walk? List the definite characteristics.
Which work of your flesh do you most need to surrender to the Holy Spirit's control today? Take the time to do it right now.
Which fruit of the Spirit is God trying to strengthen in your life? How?
What one attitude of Paul's do you desire for your life and ministry? How will you make it your own?
Adapted from The 10 Basic Steps Toward Christian Maturity, by Bill Bright, co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. © Cru. All rights reserved.
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