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2 Thessalonians 3:17 (NLT)

Here is my greeting in my own handwriting—Paul. I do this in all my letters to prove they are from me.

But such a greeting only appears in five of Paul's letters: 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Why, then, do we trust the other epistles without Paul's proof?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The answer might be as simple as this:

It is Paul's final salutation, not the caveat we find in 2 Thessalonians 2:17, which Paul wrote in all his letters. If he did not add the 2 Thessalonians caveat, then we can assume he wrote the entire letter, including the final salutation.

In other words, the final salutation in all his letters was in his own hand, whether he or whether an amanuensis wrote the letter.

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Paul is not saying that he signs all of his letters. He is saying that he writes each greeting with his own hand. And all of Paul's letters begin with a greeting.

As to proof. Simply saying "this is my letter" proves nothing unless the receiver is somewhat familiar with the sender's handwriting. Which one would hope these recipients are.

So it isn't that he signs them. It is that he writes them - at least the greetings - with his own hand that others are familiar with.

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