Paul of Tarsus

Trinity College of Biblical Studies-Free Online Bible College


Trinity College of Biblical Studies-Undergraduate Studies

Trinity College of Biblical Studies Library

An examination of Paul of Tarsus life and teachings as seen in the early Christian literature likely written by him

                                    Syllabus for Paul of Tarsus

Course Description and Objectives

An examination of Paul s life and teachings as seen in the early Christian literature likely written by him (Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon), about him (Acts, Acts of Paul and Thecla), and in his name (Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Prayer of the Apostle Paul, Apocalypse of Paul). I would hope that you emerge from the course conversant with the early Christian literature connected to Paul, familiar with issues central to Paul and to many Christians since his day, and eager to continue exploring the world of Christian origins.

Course Format

The course will focus on the relevant texts in combination with their key themes. We will look closely at the texts, and much of this will be in lecture format; also  we will look at themes which range more broadly throughout the Pauline literature, and much of this will be interactive, including small-group discussions and the viewing of movie extracts. I expect you to come to each class having read the assigned readings.

Register for this free Online Bible class by clicking on this link



Read all the Pauline literature in the New Testament including the Book of Acts

Textbooks click on links to view

Sketches of Paul Life Text book

Bishop Wright-New Perspectives on Paul

Paul and Augustine

The Acts of Paul and Thecla

Read A Radical Jew

When you have read a book from the Pauline Corpus email for quizzes

Book Report List

Paul the Roman Traveler

The Religion Of Ancient Rome

The Mythology Of Greece And Rome

Bishop Tom Wright on a New Perspective on Paul Lectures

A New Perspective on Apostle Paul

Wright-Lectures on Apostles Paul

Wright-Lectures on new insights of the Apostle Paul

Wright-Lectures on Romans

Click on link to Listen to Lectures

 Galatians & Law(s)

Galatians: Indicative/Imperative

 Pauline Chronology

I, II Thessalonians


Corinthians: Context

 I Corinthians

. II Corinthians

Romans: Context

Romans: Thought Flow

Romans: Themes

Ephesians: Context

 Ephesians: Thought Flow

Philippians: Context & Outline

Philippians: Outline & Thought Flow

 Philippians: Thought Flow

Colossians: Background

Colossians: Occasion & Outline

Colossians: Thought Flow

Paul: Biography, Conversion

Paul: Changed Anthropology

Faith, Torah, Relationships

Watch Documentaries vides click on links to view

Life of Apostle Paul

Women in the Early Church

Documentary of Apostle Paul and the Corinthian Church Video

Download Paul the Apostle The Emissary Movie

Read online reference material(click on links to view)

Biblical Art Works for St Paul the Apostle

Journeys of Paul

The type of World Apostle Paul visited on his Journeys

Visit this Footsteps of Paul Tour

Ancient Rome Images

Virtual Tour of Modern Rome

History of the Roman  Empire

A modern translation of the Bible

Commentaries of the whole Bible




Course Requirements and Evaluation for Paul of Tarsus

  1. quizzes  , worth 20% of your final grade

    * Explanation: The quizzes will be based exclusively on Online book  The Letters of Paul. This book offers a fine introduction to Paul, and once you have worked through it carefully you will likely benefit more from the rest of the course.

  2. An essay, ca. 1500 words, worth 20% of your final grade

    * Explanation: I am offering you the choice between two essays, allowing you to deepen your knowledge in one area. The first essay,  is an exploration of the "Paul" who emerges from his seven undisputed letters (Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Philemon, 1 Thessalonians): if you had only these sources with which to draw a portrait of Paul, the man and the thinker, what would that portrait resemble? The second essay,  is a comparison of the "Pastoral" Paul (as seen in 1-2 Timothy and Titus) and the one that emerges from the undisputed letters (Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, Philemon, 1 Thessalonians). For both essays I expect you to focus exclusively on the primary sources (build your picture from the biblical texts, not from scholars points of view).

  3. A book review,  from one of the books in the book report list  1300 words,  worth 20% of your final grade  

  4.  Draw 3 Maps of Paul's Missionary Journeys5%                                                                                                                                   5. Make a timeline starting at Paul's conversion to his beheading in Rome 5%

    6. Read all the Pauline Literature in the New Testament including the Book of Acts 5%

    7. Final 25%




  1.  Introduction to the Course and to the Academic Study of Paul


  2.  Social Settings of the Pauline Communities
    Paul and the People of his World
     Theme: Baptism and the Lord s Supper (Eucharist)
    * READINGS: Galatians 3:26-29; 1 Corinthians 10:14-22; 11:17-34; 12:12-13; Colossians 2:9-15; 3:9-11; Romans 6:1-10

  3. 1 and 2 Thessalonians
    * READING: 1 Thessalonians

     Theme: Apocalypticism
    * READINGS: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Thessalonians 2
    Watch the Omega Code on

  4.  1 and 2 Corinthians
    * READING: 2 Corinthians


  5. Galatians and Romans
    * READING: Galatians

     Theme: Salvation through Faith Alone
    * READING: Romans 1-4

  6.  Philippians and Philemon
    * READING: Philemon

     Theme: Jews and Gentiles
    * READINGS: Romans 1-3; 9-11; Philippians 3:2-6; Ephesians 1:3-3:21; Acts 28:23-31


  7.  Ephesians and Colossians
    * READING: Colossians

    Theme: Image of Christ
    * READINGS: 1 Corinthians 15; Colossians 1:1-2:23; Philippians 2:5-11; Titus 2:11-14

  8. 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus
    * READING: 2 Timothy

     Theme: Women
    * READINGS: Galatians 3:25-28; 1 Corinthians 11:2-16; 14:34-35; Colossians 3:18-19; Ephesians 5:21-33; 1 Timothy 2:9-15

  9.  Acts
    * READING: Acts 13-28

     Theme: Suffering
    * READINGS: Romans 5:1-8; 8:1-30; 12:4-21

  10.  Acts of Paul and Thecla
    * READING: Acts of Paul and Thecla (handout)

     Theme: Sex and Celibacy
    * READING: 1 Corinthians 7

  11.  Prayer of the Apostle Paul and Apocalypse of Paul
    * READINGS: Prayer of the Apostle Paul; Apocalypse of Paul

    Theme: Conversion and Mysticism
    * READINGS: Acts 9:1-9; 22:4-16; 26:9-19; Galatians 1:11-17; 1 Timothy 1:12-16; 2 Corinthians 12:1-4; Colossians 1:27-28

  12.  Course Review

 Pedagogical Reflections

   I have liked the weekly mix of (a) close attention to primary texts, (b) thematic focus which involves ranging widely in the Pauline material and finding modern parallels. Students have found that the mix keeps them awake (no mean feat in Winter term; they particularly like the modern video connections, and tell me that in this regard they now see "Paul" everywhere in their lives--eegads). They have also been appreciative of the variety of assignments.

It's a challenge teaching a course on Paul: everyone loves Jesus, half the class typically will resent Paul before they enter the course--and by the time my course (where anything goes as long as one can find strong textual support) is over, many of those who found Paul appealing no longer think so, while some who found him troublesome are attracted .


                               Trinity College of Biblical Studies

                                    Syllabus for Paul of Tarsus

                                          Paul of Tarsus Copyright 2006