Introduction to the Epistles of Paul
An example of ancient papyrus.
- On average, private letters in the time during Paul were around 90 words in length.
- Average literary letters were 200 words in length
- Usual papyrus sheet was 9.5 X 11.5 (the standard paper size today is 8.5 x 11 inches)
- Paul’s letters were 1,300 words on average, with Philemon being 335 words (the shortest) and Romans being 7,114 words (the longest).
- Since writing on papyrus was hard, authors had to hire professional scribes to write what they said. Ruggedness of Paul’s style & incomplete sentences show that Paul may have talked too fast. Sudden breaks in writing mean that there were rests taken. Proofs that Paul used a professional scribe (Romans 16:22; 1 Cor. 16:21; Gal. 6:11; etc. Last two say that Paul himself wrote the ending meaning that scribe wrote the rest). The way the epistles are ordered: the epistles written to the churches are ordered longest (Romans) to shortest (2 Thessalonians). Same with epistles to individuals (1st Timothy to Philemon).