Christian faith is a gift from God. We do not earn it. However, we can refuse this gift. We must accept this gift with our mind, our heart, and our will. Our whole person believes in Jesus Christ. My mind believes that it is true. My heart says I trust. I will love and have a concern for others. The initial Christian faith is a gentle longing, a search for meaning. For some it comes in a blinding flash, like the apostle Paul. Dorothy Day (1897-1980) found it working with the poor, while others see it in the presence of a priest or minister who witnesses to goodness, or at the time of a tragedy or death. Still others grow up within a cultural community of Christians that grows with them throughout their life. My faith in Jesus Christ is a continuous growing mysterious reality.
There are fourteen Pauline epistles, letters generally attributed to the apostle Paul. The Greek name for a letter was epistle (ἐπιστολὴ). Nine of these Pauline epistles were addressed to seven Christian Churches that he had visited. 1 Thessalonians, from the early 50s CE, is perhaps the oldest document of the New Testament. 2 Thessalonians dates from the early to late 60s CE. The letter to the Romans was composed between 53-57 CE. 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians date from 53-57 CE also. The letter to the Galatians comes from the late 50s CE), while the letter to the Colossians dates from the late 50s to the early 60s CE. The letters to the churches of the Ephesians and the Philippians comes from the early 60s CE. A lot of Christian theology has been based on the reflections of these letters that were describing what was happening in their early Christian communities.