Epistolary Divisions
in Paul's Letters
with Text
For an explanation of each element with listing of test responsibilities see
last revised: 5/03/05

Paul's early Period of Writing
Paul's Middle Period of Writing
Paul's Prison Letters
Paul's Pastoral Letters

Paul's early Period of Writing
Letter Element: Galatians 1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians
Praescriptio 1:1-5 1:1 1:1-2
    1 Paul an apostle--not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead--
    2a and all the brethren who are with me
    1a Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy
    1a Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy
    2b To the churches of Galatia
    1b To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 
    1b To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:
    3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father; 5 to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen. 
    1c Grace to you and peace.
    2 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Proem [1:6-10]1 1:2-10 1:3-12
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    6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel ---

    7 not that there is another gospel, but there are some who are confusing you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But even if we or an angel from heaven should proclaim to you a gospel contrary to what we proclaimed to you, let that one be accursed! 9As we have said before, so now I repeat, if anyone proclaims to you a gospel contrary to what you received, let that one be accursed!
         10Am I now seeking human approval, or God's approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

    2We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayers

    constantly 3remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. 4For we know, brothers and sisters [Gk brothers] beloved by God, that he has chosen you, 5because our message of the gospel came to you not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of persons we proved to be among you for your sake. 
         6And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for in spite of persecution you received the word with joy inspired by the Holy Spirit, 7so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. 8For the word in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything. 9For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God, 10and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.

    3aWe are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren,

    3bas is fitting, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. 4Therefore we ourselves boast of you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions which you are enduring.
         5This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be made worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering -- 6since indeed God deems it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7and to grant rest with us to you who are afflicted, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, 8inflicting vengeance upon those who do not know God and upon those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They shall suffer the punishment of eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at in all who have believed, because our testimony to you was believed. 11To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his call, and may fulfill every good resolve and work of faith by his power, 12so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Body 1:11-6:10 2:1-5:22 2:1-3:15
    Divisions (chaps)
    Narratio 1.11-2.21
      Thesis 1.11-12
      Evidences 1.13-2.14
      Conclusion 2.15-21
    Probatio 3.1-4.31
      Conversion(1)  3.1-5
      Abraham(2) 3.6-14
      Law (3) 3.15-18
        Excursus A 3.19-25
      Baptism (4) 3.26-4.7
      Experience(5) 4:8-11
      Friendship(6) 4.12-20
      Allegory(7) 4:21-31
    Exhortatio 5.1-6.10
      Admonition (1) 5.1-12
      Admonition (2) 5.13-24
      Admonition (3) 5.25-6.10
    Ministry to the Thessalonians
      Earlier Ministry
      Anticipated Ministry
        2:17-3:5 Concerns
        Timothy's Report
      Christian Lifestyle
      The Lord's Return
    The Man of Lawlessness
      Wish Prayer
      More Prayers
Conclusio 6:11-18 5:23-28 3:16-18
.      11See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand!

       12It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised -- only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. 14May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! 16As for those who will follow this rule -- peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

     17From now on, let no one make trouble for me; for I carry the marks of Jesus branded on my body.

     18May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters, Amen.

     23May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound [Or complete] and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this. 

     25Beloved [Gk Brothers] pray for us. 

     26Greet all the brothers and sisters[Gk brothers] with a holy kiss. 

     27I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all of them [Gk to all the brothers]. 

     28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you [Other ancient authorities add Amen]. 

     16Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. 

     The Lord be with you all. 

     17I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. This is the mark in every letter of mine; it is the way I write. 

     18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Paul's Middle Period of Writing
Letter Element: 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians Romans
Praescriptio 1:1-3 1:1-2 1:1-7
    1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,
    1a Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. 
    1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, 3
    the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and esignated Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, 6 including yourselves who are called to belong to Jesus Christ; 
    2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 
    1b To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:
    7a To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: 
    3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
    2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
    7b Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Proem 1:4-9 1:3-11 1:8-15
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I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,

1:5 that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge -- 1:6 even as the testimony to Christ was confirmed among you -- 1:7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ; 1:8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

1:4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 1:5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 1:6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 
        1:7 Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 1:8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of the affliction we experienced in Asia; for we were so utterly, unbearably crushed that we despaired of life itself. 1:9 Why, we felt that we had received the sentence of death; but that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead; 1:10 he delivered us from so deadly a peril, and he will deliver us; on him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. 
        1:11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us in answer to many prayers.

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you,

1:8b because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, 1:10 asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you. 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, 1:12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine. 1:13 I want you to know, brethren, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. 1:14 I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish: 1:15 so I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

Body 1:10-16:18 1:12-13:10 1:16-15:13
    Divisions (chaps)
    1-6; 7-16
    1-6; 8-9; 10-13
    1-11; 12-15
Conclusio 16:19-24 13:11-13 16:1-27
        16:19 The churches of Asia send greetings. Aq'uila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord. 16:20 All the brethren send greetings. 

        Greet one another with a holy kiss.

        16:21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand.

        16:22 If any one has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come!

        16:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

        16:24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

        13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

        13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

        13:13 All the saints greet you.

        16:1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deaconess of the church at Cen'chre-ae, 16:2 that you may receive her in the Lord as befits the saints, and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of many and of myself as well. 

        16:3 Greet Prisca and Aq'uila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 16:4 who risked their necks for my life, to whom not only I but also all the churches of the Gentiles give thanks; 16:5 greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epae'netus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ. 16:6 Greet Mary, who has worked hard among you. 16:7 Greet Androni'cus and Ju'nias, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners; they are men of note among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. 16:8 Greet Amplia'tus, my beloved in the Lord.1 6:9 Greet Urba'nus, our fellow worker in Christ, and my beloved Stachys. 16:10 Greet Apel'les, who is approved in Christ. Greet those who belong to the family of Aristobu'lus. 16:11 Greet my kinsman Hero'dion. Greet those in the Lord who belong to the family of Narcis'sus. 16:12 Greet those workers in the Lord, Tryphae'na and Trypho'sa. Greet the beloved Persis, who has worked hard in the Lord. 16:13 Greet Rufus, eminent in the Lord, also his mother and mine. 16:14 Greet Asyn'critus, Phlegon, Hermes, Pat'robas, Hermas, and the brethren who are with them. 16:15 Greet Philol'ogus, Julia, Nereus and his sister, and Olym'pas, and all the saints who are with them. 

        16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

        16:17 I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. 16:18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded. 

        16:19 For while your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, I would have you wise as to what is good and guileless as to what is evil; 16:20 then the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. 

        The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

        16:21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosip'ater, my kinsmen. 16:22 I Tertius, the writer of this letter, greet you in the Lord. 16:23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Eras'tus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you.16:24* [No text]

        16:25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which was kept secret for long ages 16:26 but is now disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith -- 16:27 to the only wise God be glory for evermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Paul's Prison Letters
Letter Element: Philemon Colossians Ephesians Philippians
Praescriptio vv. 1-3 1:1-2 1:1-2 1:1-2
    v. 1a
    1a Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, 
    1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
    1a Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, 
    1a Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, 
    vv. 1b-2
    1b To Philemon our beloved fellow worker
    2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house
    2a To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colossae
    1b To the saints who are also faithful in Christ Jesus:
    1b To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
    v. 3
    3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ
    2b Grace to you and peace from God our Father. 
    2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
    2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 
Proem vv. 4-7 1:3-12 1:3-23 1:3-11
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    v. 4
    4 When I remember you in my prayers, I always thank my God

    vv. 5-7
    5 because I hear of your love for all the saints and your faith toward the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective when you perceive all the good that we may do for Christ. 7 I have indeed received much joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, my brother. 

    3In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

    1:4 for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 1:5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel 1:6 that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God. 1:7 This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf, 1:8 and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit. 1:9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God's will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 1:10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. 1:11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

    1:4-14, 15-16, 17-23
    1:4 just as he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love. 1:5 He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will, 1:6 to the praise of his glorious grace that he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 1:7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace 1:8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and insight 1:9 he has made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure that he set forth in Christ, 1:10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.1:11 In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, 1:12 so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. 1:13 In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; 1:14 this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God's own people, to the praise of his glory. 
    1:15 I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason 1:16 I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.
    1:17 I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, 1:18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 1:19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power. 1:20 God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 1:21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. 1:22 And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, 1:23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. 

    I thank my God every time I remember you,

    1:4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, 1:5 because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. 1:6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. 1:7 It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God's grace with me, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 1:8 For God is my witness, how I long for all of you with the compassion of Christ Jesus. 1:9 And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight 1:10 to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, 1:11 having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. 

Body vv. 8-22 1:13-4:9 2:1-6:22 1:12-4:20
    Divisions (chaps)
    vv. 8-11, 12-16, 17-22
    1-2; 3-4
    2-3; 4-6
    1a; 1b-2a; 2b; 3; 4a; 4b
Conclusio vv. 23-25 4:10-18 6:23-24 4:21-23
23 Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, 24 and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers. 

25 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, as does Mark the cousin of Barnabas, concerning whom you have received instructions if he comes to you, welcome him. 11 And Jesus who is called Justus greets you. These are the only ones of the circumcision among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you. He is always wrestling in his prayers on your behalf, so that you may stand mature and fully assured in everything that God wills. 13 For I testify for him that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greet you. 

15 Give my greetings to the  brothers and sisters in Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house. 

16 And when this letter has been read among you, have it read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you read also the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, "See that you complete the task that you have received in the Lord." 

18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. 

Remember my chains. 

Grace be with you.

23 Peace be to the whole community, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

24 Grace be with all who have an undying love for our Lord Jesus Christ.

21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus.

The friends who are with me greet you. 22 All the saints greet you, especially those of the emperor's household. 

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Paul's Pastoral Letters
Letter Element: 1 Timothy 2 Timothy Titus
Praescriptio 1:1-2 1:1-2 1:1-4
    1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,
    1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life which is in Christ Jesus,
    1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth which accords with godliness, 2 in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago 3 and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by command of God our Savior; 
    2a To Timothy, my true child in the faith: 
    2 To Timothy, my beloved child: 
    4a To Titus, my true child in a common faith: 
    2b Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 
    2b Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 
    4b Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
Proem [1:12-17] 1:3-5 None
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    12a I am grateful to Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me,

    12b because he judged me faithful and appointed me to his service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am the foremost. 16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life. 17 To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. 

    3 I am grateful to God whom I worship with a clear conscience, as my ancestors did when I remember you constantly in my prayers night and day.

    4 Recalling your tears, I long to see you so that I may be filled with joy. 5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that lived first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, lives in you. 

Body 1:3-6:21a 1:6-4:18 1:4-3:14
    Divisions (chaps)
    1:6-2:13; 2:14-4:18
Conclusio 6:21b 4:19-22 3:15
Grace be with you. 9 Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

20 Erastus remained in Corinth; Trophimus I left ill in Miletus. 

21 Do your best to come before winter. Eubulus sends greetings to you, as do Pudens and Linus and Claudia and all the brothers and sisters. 

22 The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.

All who are with me send greetings to you. 

Greet those who love us in the faith. 

Grace be with all of you.

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1In Galatians the typical proem is replaced by a Propositio, or sometimes referred to as Exordium, in which the apostle 'fusses' at the Galatians rather than praises them. In this section following the pattern of ancient rhetoric Paul 'lays out his case' in summary to the Galatian readers to let them know at the outset how he perceives their situation and what needs to be done to remedy it.