Lun, Jul

SAMBUHAYPaul’s letters were communal letters addressed to specific communities, to ekklesiai or house churches. Moreover, Paul wrote from within a community. He was surrounded by companions or helpers who provided a kind of voluntary ad hoc secretariat. Co-senders like Timothy, Silvanus, and Titus must have helped in the formulation of the letters, and the clerical abilities of amanuenses like Tertius facilitated the composition of the letters.

For delivery of the letters, Paul’s co-senders like Timothy and Titus also served as emissaries. Epaphroditus, sent by the Philippians to carry their monetary contributions and to help Paul in prison, returned to Philippi carrying Paul’s letter of recommendation (Phil 2:29). Christians on the move brought messages to Paul and carried Paul’s letter to their communities. Paul made use of the service of people who supported him and shared his ministry—capable and trustworthy individuals charged with the delivery of the letter.

In those times, Greek texts were written in scriptio continua, without division between words, without punctuation or accents, without paragraphing. In these circumstances, and given Paul’s long letters, it would be necessary for Paul to write very legibly or employ a good secretary with a fair hand in writing. It would also be necessary that the person who delivered the letter could read it and “deliver” it orally. It was, therefore, preferable that the courier knew Paul’s mind and letter and so could explain it to the congregation and could answer their questions.