When did Paul write his books?

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When and where did the Apostle Paul write his Bible books? What was his most productive period?

Next to Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul is arguably the most influential Christian preacher, teacher, writer, editor and evangelistic trainer in the first century A.D. The New Testament scriptures contain more information about him than any of the other apostles.

The zeal Paul possessed for God and his willingness to suffer trials and hardships for the sake of the gospel motivated him to do amazing things. Apostle Paul conducted no less than five evangelistic journeys. He was the first person recorded in the Bible, in 50 A.D., to take the Gospel to Europe (Acts 16). He also wrote fourteen epistles that became part of the inspired word of God, almost three times more than either Moses or the apostle John.

Which two women wrote Bible books?
What was Paul's thorn in the flesh?
What did Rome record about Jesus?

Amazingly, seven out of the fourteen books Paul wrote were produced from the early Spring of 61 to 63 A.D., a span of less than three years! His writings are considered so important that they are one of the seven major sections of God's word. The other six major divisions of books are the Law, the Prophets, the Writings (Psalms), the Gospels and Acts, the seven General New Testament Epistles and the book of Revelation.


The Apostle Paul
The Apostle Paul
Correggio, 1520 - 24

The below timeline lists the year Paul's book was written (and the time of year if known), the name of the epistle, and from where it was penned (if known). All dates are A.D.


Timeline of
Apostle Paul's books

50 A.D.
1Thessalonians
Written from Corinth during Paul's second missionary journey.

51
2Thessalonians
Written from Corinth during the second missionary journey.

53 (early in the year)
Galatians
Written from Antioch (in Syria) after Paul rebukes Peter for separating himself from Gentile converts but before the start of the third missionary journey.

56
1Corinthians
Penned from Ephesus when Paul stayed in the city during his third missionary journey.

57
2Corinthians
Written by Paul, during his third missionary journey, from Philippi during his travel immediately after leaving Ephesus. The book is penned just before his short second visit to Corinth.

57 (late in the year)
Romans
Authored in Corinth during Paul's three months of travel through Macedonia and Achaia (Acts 20:1 - 3), which was toward the latter part of his third missionary journey. The letter was delivered by Phoebe, a leader in the church at Cenchrea, who had business to attend to in Rome (Romans 16:1 - 2).

61 (early in the year)
Hebrews
Written while Paul traveled during his fourth missionary journey. Timothy, his close friend and fellow evangelist, took the letter to its destination.

61 to 63
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon
Paul wrote all four books while in Rome as a prisoner. Ephesians is believed to have been delivered by Tychicus. Philippians was sent to Philippi by Epaphroditus. Colossians was sent via Tychicus and Onesimus. Philemon received his letter via Onesimus who was the subject of the epistle.

63
1Timothy, Titus
Paul authored these books in Nicopolis right after the apostle was released from a prison in Rome.

67
2Timothy
Paul, after completing his fifth and final missionary journey, writes his last of fourteen books to his best friend Timothy. The apostle is a prisoner in Rome waiting for what would be his martyrdom at the hands of the Romans.

70
Jerusalem's second temple (also known as Herod's temple) is destroyed and burned to the ground by the Romans.


Book Notes

The notation at the end of 1 and 2Thessalonians, found in many Bible translations, stating Paul wrote these two books from Athens is in error. First, the apostle only spent a very short time in the city (Acts 17:33). Second, the apostle usually dictated his epistles to one or more people who then wrote them down. He was alone the majority, if not all, of the time during his only visit to Athens (see Acts 17:15 - 34).

Of all of Paul's writings, the book of Galatians is perhaps the most difficult to date and determine from where it was written. The notation at the end of the book, found in some Bibles, states it was written from Rome. This was a later addition to the text that is likely incorrect. Some place its writing in 56 A.D., others state it was penned in 57 or some other year. Evidence suggests to us, however, that Paul wrote Galatians from Antioch in 53.

The notation at the end of 1Corinthians, found in some Bible translations, incorrectly states the book was written from Philippi. This contradicts Paul's words that state he was in Ephesus, a city of Asia, when he authored this letter to Corinth (1Corthians 16:7 - 8, 19).

The note at the end of 1Timothy states the epistle was written from Laodicea. This is clearly an addition to the Greek text that is in error. The Bible is silent in regard to Paul ever visiting the city. In fact, he told those in Colosse, between 61 to 63 A.D., that the Laodiceans had never seen his face (Colossians 2:1)!

Additional Study Materials
Did Paul have a sense of humor?
Timeline of the New Testament
How do Jews get to heaven?
What were the apostle's many identities?

References
Holy Bible Faithful Version,
second edition, Chronology V


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