Don’t Overlook the Final Greetings of Paul

When you read through Paul’s letters, do you get to the end and skim through his final greetings? For example, do you treat 1 Corinthians 15 as the real last chapter of the letter, and think the rest is fluff, maybe even stopping before chapter 16? In a way, chapter 15 did have something like a climax to the letter. Paul triumphantly declares the victory we have in our Lord, Jesus Christ. But don’t let that slow you down and distract you from finishing the book. Remember, it’s all important for it says in 2 Timothy 3:

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

We read in Paul’s final words his concern for the other churches and ministers. He has a few more instructions for them. And if nothing else, we’re reminded that this is a letter. If a pastor were to write to a church and include no personal remarks, I’m not sure how that would go over. Paul doesn’t just care about the truth of Jesus Christ, he cares about the church. And to care about the church is to care about the individual members that constitute it. The issues presented in this letter are deeply personal to him because these people are a personal concern.

So as you read this or other letters of Paul, don’t forget they are letters. They were not printed out with verse numbers and chapters, all with their own subheadings. They were written by hand and sent from believer to believer as a personal letter to build up, teach, and encourage the church.

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