This is the second course focusing on the Apostle Paul’s life and writings. Emphasis is on the final five of his letters to the seven churches (Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and 1 & 2 Thessalonians), his letter to the church at-large (Hebrews) and his letters addressed to individuals (1 & 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon). Stress is upon the use of critical, historical, archaeological and cultural analysis. Upon completion, students should be able to use analysis tools to read, understand, and explain these biblical writings.


Welcome to the “Epistles of Paul". Those who elect to walk the seldom traveled path of the Christianity of Jesus of Nazareth and the apostles Peter, Paul, John, and James, seek to follow in Jesus’ footsteps. The Apostle Paul said to follow him as he followed Christ and to emulate his example of obedience to God. To do so requires an understanding of apostolic teachings and the will to live by the apostles’ doctrine. Our collective task is the examination of the history, traditions, and myths surrounding the early church to arrive at a fuller understanding of the period and “for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). This course focuses on the teachings, message, background, purposes, and themes of the Captivity Epistles, Hebrews and the Pastoral Epistles with special emphasis on the understanding of core doctrines. Students encounter leading issues and engage in assigned readings, conceptualization activities, and vocabulary building.

Completion of THL 136 or consent of instructor

Nathan, Peter G.

Associate Professor of Theology
Full Time
B.A. (1972), Ambassador University; M.T.S. (1992), Southern Methodist University; M.St. (2012), University of Cambridge.
Subject Matter: 

Peter Nathan served as a faculty member in Theology for seven years at Ambassador College/University. As a faculty member in 1990. he led a group of students to participate in the Tel Mozan Expedition, Syria, which was directed by Giorgio Buccellati and Marilyn Kelly-Buccellati. His studies at Southern Methodist University focused largely on Hebrew and Old Testament Exegesis. Most recently he has completed a Master’s program at University of Cambridge focusing on Jewish Christian relations, with an emphasis on early Church history and the “Parting of the Ways.” Subsequent to the time at Ambassador University, he focused on education of young adults within church communities, providing seminars in Biblical Studies to help lay a foundation for future roles in the ministry. In addition he has written and published numerous articles on the identity of the early church, which carefully examined and challenged many of the commonly held assumptions relating to that era of time. The place and use of the Dead Sea Scrolls in understanding the early church environment has been a special interest. Ordained to the ministry of the Church of God in 1973, he has pastored churches in diverse parts of the world and has been deeply involved in ministry to the developing world. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the American Schools of Oriental Research and the International Patristics Society. As well as serving on the Living University Administrative Council, Mr. Nathan serves as the University's Chair of the Theology Department, and Vice Chair of the Learning Resources Committee.

Course Credit: 
Three (3) semester hours
Instructional Objectives: 

On completion of this course, a student should be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the author, background, theme and content of each book;
  • Discuss important concepts contained in each book that relate to understanding the history and development of the New Testament Church and its doctrines;
  • Identify and discuss key points of books that are subject to criticism;
  • State and demonstrate the Apostle Paul's teaching on various doctrines and themes throughout all of his epistles and in particular his views on Christian living; and
  • State the definition of basic terms.
Required Texts: 

Required textbooks for this course are:

  • Elwell, Walter A., and Robert W. Yarbrough. Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013. ISBN 9780801039645.
  • White, Jefferson. Evidence and Paul's Journeys: An Historical Investigation into the Travels of the Apostle Paul. Hilliard, OH: Parsagard Press, 2001. ISBN 9780970569509.
  • Elwell, Walter A., and Robert W. Yarbrough, eds. Readings from the First-Century World: Primary Sources for New Testament Study. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998. ISBN 9780801021572. 
  • The Bible ‐ preferably a New King James version (also consult other translations)
Additional Readings: 

Recommended supplementary references are:

  • St. Paul the Traveler and Roman Citizen, William M. Ramsay and Mark Wilson
  • Halley’s Bible Handbook, Henry H. Halley
  • Holman Bible Handbook, David S. Dockery (general editor)
  • Unger’s Bible Handbook
  • Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
  • All the Men of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer
  • All the Women of the Bible, Herbert Lockyer
  • Archaeology and the New Testament, John McRay
  • New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, Carson, Motyer, France (eds.)

This is a team taught course with lectures by Drs. Douglas S. Winnail and Michael P. Germano, and Mr. Peter G. Nathan. A featured guest lecturer in this course is Mr. Gerald E. Weston. This semester the formal instructor of record is Mr. Kenneth L. Frank, Jr.  To contact them on course details and issues please use the email feature within the e-learning system (Populi). If you have a personal message for any of them please use their personal email addresses:
Mr. Kenneth L. Frank, Jr. - [email protected]
Dr. Douglas S. Winnail - [email protected]
Dr. Michael P. Germano - [email protected]
Mr. Peter G. Nathan -  [email protected] 
Mr. Gerald E. Weston - [email protected]

Course Calendar: 
Lesson Topics
Lesson 1 Introduction Topic 1: Introduction
Topic 2: What is Exegesis?
Topic 3: What is a Word Study?
Topic 4: What is Proof of Evidence?
Lesson 2 Ephesians Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: Epistle to the Ephesians
Lesson 3 Philippians Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: Epistle to the Philippians
Lesson 4 Colossians Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: The Colossian Heresy
Topic 3: Epistle to the Colossians
Lesson 5 I & II Thessalonians Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: The Rapture
Topic 3: First Epistle to the Thessalonians
Topic 3: Second Epistle to the Thessalonians
Lesson 6 Hebrews Topic 1: Background
Topic 2: Epistle to the Hebrews
Lesson 7 I Timothy Topic 1:  Background
Topic 2: Epistle of First Timothy
Topic 3: The Western View of Paul
Lesson 8 II Timothy Topic 1:  Background
Topic 2:  Epistle of Second Timothy
Lesson 9 Titus Topic 1:  Background
Topic 2:  Epistle to Titus
Lesson 10 Philemon Topic 1:  Background
Topic 2:  Epistle to Philemon
Course Requirements: 

Reading assignments
Final reading assignments are located on the lesson pages at the course website.

    This course includes lectures by faculty and guests. Links to lectures will be placed on the lesson webpages of the course.

    Discussion forums
    Each student will have the opportunity to post online comments to a Forum question for each lesson. This will enable students to interact with each other and with the instructor.

    Quizzes and examinations
    Each assignment has an associated online Quiz consisting of 20 questions. They are closed book quizzes and there is a 1 hour time limit. A quiz should help you master the material in the assignment. It also provides you with practice in test taking. The three exams discussed below draw heavily but not exclusively from the quizzes. Therefore, it is important for you to understand and commit the quiz material to memory. On the other hand, exams have a 1 hour time limit, and are closed book tests to be taken online. As Living University students do not cheat, steal or lie, we rely on our students’ integrity during these examinations. Only the last exam must be proctored.

    Writing assignments
    Each lesson on a book by the Apostle Paul will include Writing Assignments that will involve outlining each book chapter. There is also one Exegesis and one Word Study due in this course, as well as a Final Essay. The Attach a File feature on the associated Assignment Submission page lets you submit your work so your instructor can have it handy for download, review, and grading.

    Always keep a copy of your work for this course.

    Your course grade will be determined based on the number of points you have earned over the semester as follows:

    • Icebreaker (30 points)
    • Discussion Forums (10 worth 5 points each, 50 points)
    • Exegesis Paper (100 points)
    • Word Study (65 points)
    • Topical Outlines (9 worth 10 points, 90 points)
    • Quizzes (10 worth 30 points each, 300 points)
    • Exam 1 (100 points - closed book)
    • Exam 2 (100 points - closed book)
    • Exam 3 (100 points - closed book, proctored)
    • Final Essay (35 points)
    • Course Evaluation (30 points)
    • Total 1,000 points

    By getting your autobiography posted on time you can earn 30 points. These points could make the difference between an A or a B, or passing or not passing.

    Grades are assigned in the traditional American style of an A, B, C, D, or F.  In distance learning we believe that mastery of the subject matter is achieved when a student can demonstrate that they have achieved 80% of the objectives for a course. That means that we want you to earn at least 800 points in this course. If you do not do so then you have not developed the mastery we would like you to have. We want this course to be competency‐based and so it is possible for the entire class to receive an A or a B. There is no artificial curving of scores in the assignment of grades. Also, don’t go on a guilt trip if you get a C. That is an honorable grade, but if you receive a D or below, then you might want to retake the course. Mastery of the material is what your goal should be.

    Grades are assigned by points as follows:

    A - 900‐1000 points
    B - 800‐899 points
    C - 700‐799 points
    D - 600‐699 points
    F - Below 600 points

    Students With Disabilities
    The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities have a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. Students having a disability requiring an accommodation should inform the instructor by email (on the “Course Info” page click on the instructor’s name and then select “Send Email”).

    Technology Access
    This course requires web access and the student has to have an established e-mail account. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to view documents that are PDF files. One can download the reader free at

    Course Evaluation
    Student input is welcome for improving this course. Making suggestions by e-mail is helpful. Our goal in this course is to facilitate the successful achievement of all instructional objectives by all students. At the end of the course students have the opportunity of assessing the course. We want to make e-learning courses as effective as we can. We may also ask some other questions concerning a student’s experience in distance learning to help us improve our program. We appreciate students letting us know how we can improve our products and services for them and other distance learners.

    Withdrawing From or Dropping This Course
    It is the responsibility of a student to drop a course if he or she cannot meet the requirements of the course. Any student who stops attending a course without officially withdrawing from it risks receiving a punitive grade for that course. Withdrawal requests may be conveyed in any manner to the course professor, Registrar, or Vice President of Academic Affairs. This action is sufficient for ensuring any refund owed you. Please note the following: If a student drops a course on or before the “Last day to withdraw from a course without a grade penalty” as published in the University Academic Calendar, even if his or her work is not of a passing grade, then a “W” is recorded. If a course is dropped after that date, but before the last 21 calendar days of the semester, then the instructor determines the grade. The faculty member will at this time record a grade of “W” if passing (not computed in GPA) or “WF” if failing (computed in GPA). Students who drop a course, yet remain in one or more other courses during the last 18 calendar days of the semester, will receive a grade of “WF.” Students who completely withdraw from the University at any time during the semester may be given a grade of “W” on all courses. If students do not initiate the withdrawal process, the instructor is required to initiate the administrative process and to record a grade of “W” or “WF” for the course depending on the date the faculty member drops the student from the course. Students who register for a course as an audit, but then withdraw will be assigned a grade of “W” for the course.