The Apostle Paul’s epistles are progressive. From speaking to mixed audiences of saved/unsaved people, as well as to immature Christians, and as the mystery unfolds and is revealed by the ascended Christ and gradually comes to full fruition, he eventually talks to and encourages mature, saved people in his prison epistles.
First get them saved, then build the innerman with sound doctrine and encouragement.
From salvation to building up and encouraging the One New Man, so the doctrine changes from his pre-prison to his prison epistles.
And that’s what most don’t understand. The Apostle Paul’s message was to the Jew’s and Gentiles, but when the Jews didn’t want to listen and turned against him, he turned fully to the Gentiles. The Jews (the natural branches of the Olive tree) who were in diaspora were to be found throughout Europe and Asia Minor in the Apostle Paul’s day, as well as their prostelytes (the wild branches which were grafted into the Olive tree).
Ephesians, Colossians and Philippians, as well as the Pastoral epistles are to the Body of Christ – saved people who have matured spiritually.
Corinthians, Galatians, Romans and Thessalonians are to mixed audiences of saved and unsaved people as well as to immature Christians.
It goes without saying that all of the Apostle Paul’s epistles are written to us today as members of the Body of Christ, but we must also keep in mind to rightly divide Paul’s epistles – especially his pre-prison epistles because he also spoke to the Jews about their spiritual standing in the past, the present and the future (as in Romans 9, 10 & 11) and this isn’t doctrine for the body of Christ.
THE APOSTLE PAUL TO THE CORINTHIANS :
1 Corinthians 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
1 Corinthians 4:1 Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
1 Corinthians 3:10-11 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:1 Paul called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, 2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:
THE APOSTLE PAUL TO THE ROMANS :
Romans 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began…..
Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
THE APOSTLE PAUL TO TIMOTHY :
2 Timothy 1:11: “Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.”
THE APOSTLE PAUL TO THE EPHESIANS :
Ephesians 3:2 “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:”