New view of Paul

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JButler
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New view of Paul

#1

Post by JButler » Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:45 pm

For a quite some time my view of Paul was a hard nosed, my way or the highway type of guy. A wild card who was applying his own flavor of the Christian message under the heavy influence of Pharisee-ism. An overbearing bossy guy who chewed out Peter because Peter's action didn't fit Paul's view of things.

But as I've gotten to know the Bible better as a whole and specifically the NT, I came to a much different view of Paul. Basically my view flipped 180.

Picking up tidbits from various sources showed that he was not a wild card free agent who had his own brand. Learning Paul was a lawyer and how he constructs his arguments, in his epistles by laying out his case like a lawyer, helped make his writings more clear.

For me to understand Paul's writings I had to learn to see the big picture instead of zeroing in on a few verses or even a whole chapter. Otherwise I'll be lost in the trees not seeing the layout of the forest thereby losing sight of his perspective.

Once Paul's writings become more and more clear, then the little details start popping up. Details that are applicable to the local population he's writing to. Unless you are aware of the back story of what's happening in local society like in Corinth, you'll miss these little details. To me its the use of these local details that illustrate his skill utilizing examples the new converts would understand better.

Stuff like 1 Corinthians 9:24-26 using athlete terms since sporting events were held in Corinth.

In 1 Corinthians 11 back stories really help understand WHY Paul is talking about them. As I understand it there was a pagan practice of covering your head while praying to or offering sacrifices to an idol. In a group one person was designated the "intercessor" and this person covered their head while the rest stayed bare headed. Only the "intercessor" with covered head was allowed to approach the god with the offering for the group. I think you can easily see why Paul would've been concerned about this practice coming into the congregation from outside.
Here's a good example of this:
http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/an ... -religion/

The more I learn the more is revealed and the more fascinating Paul becomes. The same is true for the rest of the Bible but I picked out Paul because of the inaccurate view I had which is now changed.
If the truth hurts, maybe it should.

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Re: New view of Paul

#2

Post by Katabole » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:08 am

That is a good synopsis on Paul. I have read before by a number of Christians and some former Christians that Paul was as you said, a wild card that preached his own gospel and there are even some denominations today that claim that what Paul taught was not Christ's Gospel and so they exclude the writings of Paul because they believe Christ's words overrule his, in my opinion, because they do not like what Paul says in a number of epistles and it is an emotional reaction to his writings. Not an intellectual one. In truth, Paul did not. Paul preached Christ's Gospel.

It really speaks of Christ's purpose for him in Acts chapter 9:

Acts 9:12 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prays,

Acts 9:12 And has seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

Acts 9:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem:

Acts 9:14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on your name.

Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go your way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

Acts 9:16 For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

Acts 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto you in the way as you came, has sent me, that you might receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

Acts 9:20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.


Paul was Christ's chosen instrument. In all his epistles he does exactly was Christ wanted him to do; to preach Jesus' name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. Paul is in a large part, responsible for the massive spread of Christianity in the first century as documented by the extra-Biblical, Christian and non-Christian writers in the second century.

Peter also recognizes that.

2 Pet 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

2 Pet 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrestle, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Peter considered the writing of Paul, Scripture, and equal in every way to the writings of the Old Testament prophets and Jesus' own words, which are also considered Scripture.
Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord but you know you gotta serve somebody. Bob Dylan

Every one that is of the truth hears my voice. Jesus from John 18:37

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Re: New view of Paul

#3

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:22 am

People tend to focus on the stuff that Paul was against ( homosexuality for example) and that type of times Paul lived in ( Women had less rights) to criticise him.
If one reads his letters with an open mind you get the understanding that Paul was a complex man of ever changing expression of faith.
As he got older, he also got wiser.
Personally, if you want to understand Paul, this is all you truly need to read:



1 Corinthians 13New American Standard Bible (NASB)

The Excellence of Love
13 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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Re: New view of Paul

#4

Post by abelcainsbrother » Tue Jun 14, 2016 8:49 pm

Last edited by abelcainsbrother on Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Hebrews 12:2-3 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,despising the shame,and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2nd Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,lest the light of this glorious gospel of Christ,who is the image of God,should shine unto them.

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Re: New view of Paul

#5

Post by JButler » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:19 pm

No doubt he was the perfectly prepared person for the mission he was selected to perform.
If the truth hurts, maybe it should.

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Re: New view of Paul

#6

Post by JButler » Tue Jun 14, 2016 9:56 pm

Clever. :D My style is tends to A Mighty Fortress with rafter rattling pipe organ. :beer:
If the truth hurts, maybe it should.

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Re: New view of Paul

#7

Post by abelcainsbrother » Wed Jun 15, 2016 2:58 am

JButler wrote:
Clever. :D My style is tends to A Mighty Fortress with rafter rattling pipe organ. :beer:
I actually like some of that kind of music too.I'm intrigued how a pipe organ is played.Sometimes a topic will come up and a song pops in my head.
Hebrews 12:2-3 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,despising the shame,and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2nd Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,lest the light of this glorious gospel of Christ,who is the image of God,should shine unto them.

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Re: New view of Paul

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Post by Philip » Wed Jun 15, 2016 6:07 pm

Katabole: Paul is in a large part, responsible for the massive spread of Christianity in the first century as documented by the extra-Biblical, Christian and non-Christian writers in the second century.
It must have been stunning to Paul, for him to have realized that he was to be a key figure in bringing the Gospel to the WORLD. I wonder how aware he was of the extent and range of the world that existed - what did he know of its parameters? Just imagine if we were given such a task, but were limited by primitive boats, letters and all manor of poor transit and dubious communication. With God leading him, Paul was used to change the world through the Gospel he brought it. And his words are STILL changing it!

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Re: New view of Paul

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Post by Katabole » Thu Jun 16, 2016 6:08 am

Philip wrote:It must have been stunning to Paul, for him to have realized that he was to be a key figure in bringing the Gospel to the WORLD. I wonder how aware he was of the extent and range of the world that existed - what did he know of its parameters? Just imagine if we were given such a task, but were limited by primitive boats, letters and all manor of poor transit and dubious communication. With God leading him, Paul was used to change the world through the Gospel he brought it. And his words are STILL changing it!
Yes, so true Philip. It seems that Paul wanted to travel to Spain but there doesn't seem to be any historical record to back up that he went there. However, Christians who were taught by Paul certainly did go to Spain as Spain has a long history of Christendom going back to the second and third centuries. Paul was certainly looking forward to meeting Christ though and evidently knew that his mission would come to its end. But he completed the task that was given him.

Paul never really forgave himself for his initial persecution of Christians as he reflects on that a number of times in his epistles, calling himself the worst of sinners.

When I read about him first as Saul of Tarsus, he always strikes me as being the most zealous, close-minded Jew that ever lived; who thought the very concept of Christ as the Messiah was at its best an abomination and at its worst blasphemy. When I read about him as Paul, the humbleness and love that he found through Christ pours off every page like it was written in his soul from him to us.

I doubt any of us could fulfill the tasks that Paul did if God were not with us.
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JButler (Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:59 pm)
Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord but you know you gotta serve somebody. Bob Dylan

Every one that is of the truth hears my voice. Jesus from John 18:37

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