We know that Paul did not write all of his own letters (see Romans 16:22). It seems that Paul spoke his words aloud. Perhaps he was working with his hands as he did this; Paulís job was to make tents (Acts 18:3). Another Christian carefully wrote down Paulís words for him. Perhaps Sosthenes wrote the Book of 1 Corinthians (1:1).
It seems, perhaps, that Paul could not write neatly (Galatians 6:11). However, Paul still chose to add his own personal greeting at the end of every letter that he sent (2 Thessalonians 3:17).
One reason why Paul did this was to express his love to his readers. Paul felt genuine love towards every Christian Ė even towards Christians whom he had not met. He did not want his letters to seem like lists of instructions or rules. He wrote these letters because of his love for the people who would read them.
Another reason for Paulís greetings was that he wanted to bless the Christians. There was an ancient duty for Israelís priests to bless Godís people (Numbers 6:22-27). As a Christian leader, Paul wanted to do this too. This was both a prayer and a declaration. The prayer was that God would show kindness to his people. The declaration was that God would do that.
Paul also wrote at the end of each letter to show that he accepted responsibility for that letter (Philemon 19). Sometimes he made promises in those letters; Paul knew that a promise is a serious matter.
Paulís final reason was to prove that the letter was genuinely from him. He had to warn Christians about leaders who taught wrong things (Acts 20:29-31). The Christians needed to know that a letter really was from Paul.
Next part: ANATHEMA MARANATHA (1 Corinthians 16:22)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.