Prison Epistles Introduction

The Pauline Epistles

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The Prison Epistles
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  The Prison Epistles   

Ephesians along with Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon are sometimes referred to as the prison epistles because they were each written while Paul was confined or in chains. Each of these letters contain references to this situation (Eph 3:1; Eph 4:1; Eph 6:20; Phil 1:7, 13; Col 4:10, 18; Philemon 1:1, 9, 10).

Whether he was imprisoned once or twice in Rome is debated, though two imprisonments seem to fit the facts better. During the first, Paul was kept in or near the barracks of the Praetorian Guard or in rental quarters at his own expense for two years(Acts 28:30), during which these epistles were written. He anticipated being released(Philem 1:22), and following his release he made several trips, wrote 1 Timothy and Titus, was rearrested, wrote 2 Timothy, and was martyred (see the Introduction to Titus, Titus 1:1 book note). These, then, are the first Roman imprisonment letters, whereas 2 Timothy is the second Roman imprisonment letter.[1]Ryrie, p. 1875.

The fact these great epistles were written while Paul was imprisoned, either in Roman barracks or chained daily to a Roman soldier in his own rented house (Acts 28:30), which gave him access to the whole elite Praetorian Guard, is a marvelous illustration of how God takes our apparent misfortunes and uses them for His glory and the increase of our opportunities for ministry (see Phil 1:12-13). It shows how we may be chained and hindered, but that the Word of God is not imprisoned (see also 2 Tim. 2:9).

@ by J. Hampton Keathley, III {original source}


1 Ryrie, p. 1875.

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