Author Topic: was there any written NT epistles during apostles time?  (Read 546 times)

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Offline Victoria

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was there any written NT epistles during apostles time?
« on: March 01, 2011, 04:12:40 PM »
Someone from my old Evangelical church asked me this question-were the Epistles(Matthew, Timothy, Paul, etc) written down during their lifetime and did they preach Christianity using these epistles? For example, Paul’s letter to Corrintians-was that an actual written document that existed during Paul’s life? and did he use it during preaching to other Christians?  Sorry, if this is a stupid question but that kind of stumped me
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Offline ialmisry

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Re: was there any written NT epistles during apostles time?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2011, 04:48:19 PM »
Someone from my old Evangelical church asked me this question-were the Epistles(Matthew, Timothy, Paul, etc) written down during their lifetime and did they preach Christianity using these epistles? For example, Paul’s letter to Corrintians-was that an actual written document that existed during Paul’s life? and did he use it during preaching to other Christians?  Sorry, if this is a stupid question but that kind of stumped me
Since the Apostle John wrote the last books, both in present order and chronologically, of the NT by definition they were written down during the lifetimeof the Apostles.

They did preach Christ with them (for one thing, to the Churches they wrote to :P), and without them, and before them: the Apostles had been building up the Church for about two decades before the first epistle we have in the NT was written. The epistles themselves witness to these Traditions which predate the Epistles.
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Offline Shanghaiski

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Re: was there any written NT epistles during apostles time?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2011, 04:53:05 PM »
Yes, the New Testament was written during the lives of the Holy Apostles. However, it took 300 years for the New Testament we know today to be accepted universally. Each local church had its own canon.

To answer the other part of your question, St. Paul would have had know need to use his letters in his preaching. That would be like saying the written letters of his which have survived to our time superseded his actual preaching. St. Paul himself instructed the churches he oversaw to obey his teachings "by word or epistle." Thus, the written epistles were not the sum total of apostolic teaching, neither were the written Gospels.
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Offline genesisone

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Re: was there any written NT epistles during apostles time?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2011, 05:39:28 PM »
The Apostle Peter was familiar with the Apostle Paul's letters (2 Peter 3, NKJV):
Quote
14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

We know that most if not all of the NT writers knew each other and crossed paths frequently - in Jerusalem, in Antioch, and from time to time elsewhere (read Acts). It is impossible to imagine that they would be unaware of each other's ministry, including their letters, their Gospels, and St Luke's history (Acts). The Revelation was likely written towards the end of the Apostle John's life, and since he was the last to die, that would be an exception.

Offline sainthieu

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Re: was there any written NT epistles during apostles time?
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2011, 06:38:50 PM »
"For example, Paul’s letter to Corrintians-was that an actual written document that existed during Paul’s life? and did he use it during preaching to other Christians?"

Since Paul couldn't be everywhere at once in his evangelical travels, he sent letters to the various churches to help them solve the specific problems they were having. These letters are so rich, theologically, that copies were customarily passed from church to church to spread the word. The priests at these various churches used the epistles as a theological basis for their teachings. Paul, being the source, obviously didn't need them in order to preach. After all, the infant churches shared problems in common--misunderstandings, heresies, personal conflicts, etc.--and Paul's exhortations and theological teachings had universal application. Even to our own day, in fact.

I might suggest reading Father Patrick Henry Reardon's excellent Daily Reflections, which are available online.