The September-October 2012 issue of Bible Study Magazine has a special section on the Pastoral Epistles and Philemon.

I was happy to be able to write two of the articles in the special section, in addition to my normal “Thoughts from the Early Church” column. Here are some more details on some articles in the special section:

Special Section on the Pastoral Letters: In Transition

Fighter, Writer, More than a Conqueror

When authors use illustrations, they invite us to draw parallels between what we know and what they want us to learn. Their examples help us understand their ideas. And the illustrations they choose give us insights into how they see the world and what frames of reference they expect to have in common with their audience. —Eli T. Evans

The First-Century Abolitionist

Today, an estimated 27 million people are enslaved globally, and human trafficking is a $32 billion industry. Modern-day slavery is built on greed, fear and a disregard for human life, and it’s an issue we take very seriously. So when Paul writes in 1 Timothy 6:1, “All those who are under the yoke as slaves must regard their own masters as worthy of all honor,” it seems surprising to us that he doesn’t denounce the practice. Instead, he addresses the attitude Christian slaves should have toward unbelieving masters. Why does Paul seem so nonchalant about slavery? Has he cowered under the pressure of Graeco-Roman culture and embraced it? —John D. Barry and Craig A. Smith

You Owe Me Your Very Soul

“And I won’t mention that you owe me your very soul,” Paul says in his letter to Philemon (Phlm 19). At first glance, Paul’s comment seems like a threat—a rhetorical hand grenade he tosses to pressure Philemon, a church leader in Colossae, to do what he wants. But is that what’s going on? —Perry L. Stepp and Rebecca Kruyswijk

See the Bible Study Magazine web site for more information (including subscription info).