Course Summary

The New Testament epistles of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon
ourse Summary
The course analyzes the four epistles commonly called “The Prison Epistles,” because they were written by the apostle Paul while he was imprisoned for his faith. Concentration is on introductory matters and exegesis. The course is organized in three modules: (1) Ephesians, (2) Philippians, and (3) Colossians, and Philemon. 3 semester hours of undergraduate credit.


1. Explain and analyze issues, themes, events, characters, purposes, occasions for writing, and places in connection with the history of the New Testament church.

2. Synthesize the teaching in the Prison Epistles.

3. Assess the value of known background for exegesis and application.

Credit. Credit for the course requires a score of 70% or greater on three examinations and a 2,000 word essay focused on introductory material and a 2,000 word exegesis.  Each of these graded elements is valued at 20%. A sample multiple choice exam problem is given below.

The specific occasion for the letter to Philemon was (A) a disagreement between two women at Colosse, (B) a list of questions presented to Paul from Philemon, (C) a man who was attempting to take over the Colossian church, (D) to prepare for the return of a runaway slave.


Commentaries and Internet linked reading.  E-book commentaries are available through the Electronic Collection.  The following hard copy commentaries are recommended as economic options for those who prefer hand copies.

Foulkes, Francis. Ephesians. A vol. of Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Reprint ed. IVP Academic, 2009. 187 pages. $17.97. ISBN:978-0830842407

Martin, Ralph P. Philippians. A vol. of Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. IVP Academic, 2008. 187 pages. $14.13. ISBN: 978-0830842414

Wright, N. T. Colossians and Philemon. A vol. of Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. IVP Academic, 2008. 199 pages. $13.83. ISBN: 978-0830842421