A servant of Christ Jesus set apart for the Gospel of God

Last night in his Bible study our pastor challenged us to do a study of each of Paul’s greetings in his letters. When I did that I found it fascinating and so I thought I’d share! (:-)

First, the greetings themselves, they are beautiful and amazing:

Romans 1:1-7 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, 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, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:1-3 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:1 -2Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:1-5 Paul, an apostle–not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Ephesians 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:1-2 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

1 Thessalonians 1:1 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

2 Thessalonians 1:1-2 Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:1-2 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Titus 1:1-4 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began and at the proper time manifested in his word through the preaching with which I have been entrusted by the command of God our Savior; To Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.

Philemon 1:1-3 Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wow! Awesome themes here and so much theology just in his greetings!

Common themes among many or all of the greetings:

~ Paul was an Apostle of Christ by the will and the command of God
~He mentions the calling of God and of Christ over and over
~We as believers have our hope in Christ Jesus
~We as believers are saints! Sainthood is not reserved as a holy title to be selected by men. (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians) ‘Saints’ describes all of us that are saved in and through the resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 1:2 “called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”)
~Paul calls himself a servant multiple times. A servant serves!
~ Paul repeatedly refers to the promises of God (in Scripture)
~ He refers more than once to the death and resurrection of Christ
~He greets almost all of them in grace, peace, and mercy. How beautiful, and how much more meaningful than “Hey how are ya?” (my usual greeting for friends).

Bonus! Here are two wonderful and easy definitions to remember:

Grace: God giving me what I do NOT deserve (the free gift of eternal life through Jesus when we deserve eternal death)
Mercy: God NOT giving me what I do deserve (eternal death and punishment for our sins)

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