Why is it more difficult to interpret Paul’s letters than it seems?

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Why is it more difficult to interpret Paul’s letters than it seems? Paul’s letters are more difficult to interpret than they seem because they are occasional documents. They were written for a specific reason to a specific group with specific instruction for their situation. These letters contain valuable instruction for us, but only when we have an understanding of what the occasion was that these letters were written.

How does the fact that letters are occasional documents (as opposed to literary texts, which may be non-occasional) influence the reading of letters?

These letters are one side of a “conversation.” We must realize that we don’t have “all” of the information pertaining to the occasion or circumstances they were
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This allows for us to see the sections of the letter and where the transitions are within its text. When these sections are observed (on multiple exposures) a clearer picture begins to emerge in the mind of the reader. (p 62)

Why do Fee and Stuart stress the importance of “Think paragraphs”? What question do they stress you must ask over and over as you do? Fee and Stuart stress the importance to “think paragraphs” so we can trace the argument and explore the how and what of Paul’s writing contribute to the argument (p 65). Fee and Stuart stress that asking yourself, “What’s the point?,” as you read is a prerequisite to understanding the argument in various epistles (p 66). It is this question that points our thought and processing of Scriptural passages back to the issue at hand, not trying to validate a particular thought by cross referencing proof texts for our surface thoughts. Rather we are pointed back to paying attention to the issue being addressed in the context of the passage. Indeed, proof texts may offer insight, but only after one gains as much understanding of the particular occasion being addressed in the text of the epistle (or other genres as well).

Chapter 4, "The Epistles: The Hermeneutical Questions" (pp. 71-88)

What are the first two general rules of exegesis? Rule #1: A text cannot mean what it never could have meant to its author or his or her readers (pp 30;
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