Thursday 12 January 2012

St Paul's Epistles in Chronological Sequence

After many years of reading the Jerusalem Bible, I bought the Catholic Revised Standard Version a few years ago. I wondered if the different translation would refresh my reading of Scripture. It certainly has, and I prefer it.

There is however one very useful aspect to my Jerusalem Bible. It is the standard edition, and it contains detailed introductions to particular groups of Books.

This post concerns the Letters of St Paul. I thought you might find it interesting to compare the Letters as printed in the Bible, with the order in which they were actually written, according to the introduction in the Jerusalem Bible. It may be, of course, that biblical scholarship has moved on in this respect since the JB was published in 1966. If so, I’m happy to be corrected on the dates.

The standard Biblical sequence is:

1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy

The Letters arranged by year are:

50-51: 1 and 2 Thessalonians
56-57: Philippians
57: 1 and 2 Corinthians
57-58: Galatians and Romans
61-63: Ephesians, Colossians and Philemon
65: 1 Timothy, Titus, 2 Timothy
67: Hebrews

I like to read the Letters in chronological sequence. I haven't made an in-depth study of them, and so I can’t put my finger on particular instances where it makes a difference, but I think there’s a sense of progression in them as the years go by. It seems to be worth doing, as an exercise if for no other reason.

Picture from via Google Images

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