As I read through the Bible this year, I am writing a nonet poem for each of its sixty-six books – 45 syllables for each of the 66 books of the Bible. These little poems are not intended to summarize these books, but simply to capture the spirit of each book, as it came to me while reading and pondering them this time around.

I have previously shared my nonets for the first 22 books of the Old Testament (Genesis through Deuteronomy, Joshua through 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles through Esther, and Job through Song of Solomon), and for the first 5 books of the New Testament (Matthew through Acts). In this post, I am sharing my nonets for all of the canonical letters of Paul, Romans through Philemon. Next up will be all of the Old Testament prophets.

When I read and ponder Paul’s letters, one thing that I do not concern myself with is whether or not he actually wrote them all. Anyone who has spent any time studying Paul’s letters knows that this is an important and sometimes controversial area of study. But not for me. I simply read them as though Paul wrote them all. Canonically, after all, they are all written by Paul. And so I believe that they are intended to be read as though Paul wrote them all, whether he actually did or not. So that is what I do – I read them all as though Paul wrote them all. With that in mind, here are my nonets for all of Paul’s letters:


Romans

“All have sinned” – Paul’s strange introduction
To the merciful grace of God
That justifies us through faith.
Made right with God, what now?
Let’s live in this world
With minds made new,
Obeying
God in
Faith.

1 Corinthians

Paul’s message about the cross – foolish
To some, but God’s power to us,
Uniting us all in Christ.
Differently gifted,
Sharing the Spirit,
Joined together
By the great
Gift of
Love. 

2 Corinthians

In Christ there is a new creation,
And everything has become new.
Since we are reconciled to
God, why should we lose heart?
We can walk by faith,
Sharing the grace
And peace of
Jesus
Christ. 

Galatians

Paul’s passionate defense of freedom – 
Gospel’s gift – which brings us new life.
Why would we abandon this,
And rely on our works?
Live instead by God’s
Spirit, not law,
And let love
Be our
Fruit.

Ephesians

We have been chosen and blessed in Christ
With every spiritual gift.
Why? So that we might live for
The praise of God’s glory – 
Imitating Christ,
Forgiving all,
Proclaiming
Peace in
Christ.

Philippians

Philippi, the church that Paul so loved,
Constantly giving thanks to God
In his prayers for them all,
And urging them to share
His joy in the Lord.
“Rejoice!” Paul writes,
For God is
Always
Near.

Colossians

Raised with Christ, who holds us together,
Our lives are now hidden with him,
Until revealed in glory.
So seek the things above,
Clothe yourselves with love,
And above all,
Give thanks and
Praise to
God.

1 Thessalonians

Entrusted with the gospel message,
Paul shares the grace and peace of God,
Encouraging his readers
To rejoice and give thanks,
Pray without ceasing,
Hold onto hope,
’til we hear
Heaven’s
Call.

2 Thessalonians

In his own hand, Paul greets them with grace,
But warns them of the lawless one,
Who seeks only to deceive.
Stand firm, he writes, hold fast,
Do not grow weary;
Let God help you
In doing
What is
Right. 

1 Timothy

I charge you, writes Paul to Timothy,
To fight the good fight of the faith,
Take hold of eternal life,
Pray for those who lead you,
Pursue righteousness,
And at all times
Guard what is
Given
You.

2 Timothy

Loving words from a dying mentor,
To Paul’s beloved Timothy.
His final words penned in chains
But written in freedom,
The race now finished,
The good fight won,
For he has
Kept the
Faith.

Titus

Paul’s encouragement to Titus: Teach
And admonish the Cretans, that
They may become sound in faith,
In love, and in endurance.
Why? The grace of God – 
Salvation’s gift – 
Has appeared:
Hope is
Here.

Philemon

Paul’s bold command for Onesimus
To be received as a brother.
Will Philemon do as asked?
Two thousand years later
We may still wonder
If he obeyed.
What about
You and
Me?

3 thoughts on “Bible Nonets: The Letters of Paul (Romans – Philemon)

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