Schaff, Philip. History of the Christian Church (The Complete Eight Volumes in One). Amazon Kindle Edition, 2014.
Volume 1, Ch. 12, “The New Testament” Loc. 8053-12025. (continued)
§92 “The Epistle to the Romans” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10641).
The letter to the Romans emphasizes the Gospel as what every individual in every nation needs (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10641). It is the most comprehensive and systematic of the epistles. Schaff suggests the variants found in 15:33; 16:20, 24, 27; and 1:7, 15 may result from early copies of the letter being modified slightly for delivery to different locations.
§93 “The Epistles of the Captivity” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10679).
While Paul was imprisoned in Rome from 61-63 he wrote “to the Colossians, Ephesians, Philemon, and Philippians” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10679). These letters often focus on life as a prisoner for Christ.
§94 “The Epistle to the Colossians” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10707).
Schaff observbes that Colossae, Laodicea, and Hierapolis are very close to one another. The letter to the Colossians was very likely circulated quickly (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10707). Paul had been in the area but it is not clear whether he had actually met the Colossians (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10732). The letter was prompted by a type of ascetic Gnosticism arising there (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10742). By describing the true doctrine of Christ Paul refutes the heresy. Schaff compares the idea of “fullness” as found in Paul and in the Gnostics (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10751 ff). Christ is the true fullness of God (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10787.
§95 “The Epistle to the Ephesians” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10793).
Paul wrote to the Ephesians about the church as the place where God places all his fullness in Christ (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10800). It is the work of the Holy Spirit in the Church to show the fullness of Christ to the believer (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10819). This is akin to the way John portrays the Holy Spirit. The letter was apparently meant to circulate in the region, as the location is not attested uniformly and there are no personal greetings to individuals (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10829). The letter shows a mature complexity of sentence style, equivalent to the mature portrayal of the life in Christ (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10839).
§96 “Colossians and Ephesians Compared and Vindicated” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10874).
Colossians and Ephesians were written about the same time. Both were delivered by Tychicus (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10875). Schaff notes that Colossians arose from an emergency in dealing with Gnosticism while Ephesians is more thoughtful and irenic, not attacking a problem. While Colossians is primarily Christological, Ephesians is more ecclesiological (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10885). While there are some disputes about Pauline authorship Schaff affirms it (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10894). He goes on to show several arguments against Pauline authorship as dubious at best.
§97 “The Epistle to the Philippians” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10931).
Philippi was a cosmopolitan, wealthy community and home to a prominent military base (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10931). There was a thriving church after Paul visited. Paul maintained a very friendly relationship with the church (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10950). The Epistle is tender and personal. There is no doctrinal dispute, except when in chapter 3 Paul cautions against legalism and antinomianism (Schaff 2014, Loc. 1096). The church seems to have remained strong and faithful for a long time until a decline in the Middle Ages (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10980).
§98 “The Epistle to Philemon” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10990).
Schaff identifies Philemon as a convert of Paul living at Colossae (Schaff 2014, Loc. 10990). The letter likely accompanied Colossians. Schaff points out that Christianity changes evils such as slavery from within by showing the commonality of men (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11010). Schaff observes that at his time the Christian world has all but eliminated slavery, while the non-Christian religions embrace slavery (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11010). The great difference between Christian appeal for clemency and pagan appeals from a similar time period is that while the Christian can appeal to Christ’s love, the pagan can only appeal o someone’s good temper (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11031).
§99 “The Pastoral Epistles” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11051).
The two letters to Timothy and the one to Titus are parting instructions from Paul to his disciples. “They show us the transition of the apostolic church from primitive simplicity to a more definite system of doctrine and form of government” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11051). The writings tend to be personal and emphasize methods for care of churches. They have almost always been recognized as the work of Paul (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11065). Schaff dates these letters either in 54-57 or in 62 or shortly after. The text shows signs of early composition from prison in Rome (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11123). Schaff considers the letters to be reliably written by Paul.
§100 “The Epistle to the Hebrews” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11184).
Schaff provides a substantial bibliography for Hebrews, then observes that despite its obscure origins, “it is clear and deep in its knowledge of Christ” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11215). The goal of the letter is to strengthen Christians in their faith and guard against apostasy (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11225). It does this by pointing consistently to the superiority of Christ (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11235). Schaff views the Greek style of Hebrews to be very pure and classical (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11256). The occasion was a time of persecution in which Jewish Christians would have a strong temptation to return to Judaism (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11278). The greeting suggests the author was in Italy probably around 63 (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11288). Schaff discusses various views of the authorship (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11299 ff), considering first Paul, then one of Paul’s pupils, then joint authorship by Paul and a pupil. Schaff’s conclusion is that there are arguments for and against Paul, Barnabas, Luke, Apollos, and Silas. The authorship is uncertain (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11371). Schaff appends some notes about the location of Hebrews in the canon, the vocabulary used, and the title.
§101 “The Apocalypse” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11402).
After a brief bibliography Schaff observes, “The literature on the Apocalypse, especially in English, is immense, but mostly impository rather than expository, and hence worthless or even mischievous, because confounding and misleading” (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11423). Revelation is the only New Testament prophetic book. Schaff views the opening and closing portions as very clear, with the middle very dark and confusing (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11434). God is shown as the one governing all the affairs of all times. Schaff notes many parallels between Daniel and Revelation (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11454). He also compares the arrangement to Job (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11465). The theme is that of Jesus’ coming for his people (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11484). The book is organized around a prologue, a series of seven visions, and an epilogue (Schaff 2014, Loc. 11500).
This is the end of the the first volume of the eight volume work.