Apostle Paul

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The Apostle Paul
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Paul (originally Saul) was a critical figure in the early Christian church. He was a Jew who was a Roman citizen from the city of Tarsus. As a Pharisee he was involved in the persecution of the early Church until his encounter with the resurrected Jesus on the road to the city of Damascus. After this he worked tireless at preaching the gospel to the non-Jewish (gentile) communities throughout the Roman empire. He wrote many letters to churches in different cities; these letters are included in the New Testament.

Paul in the Acts of the Apostles

The Book of the Acts of the Apostles describes Paul's conversion to Christianity and his missionary activities throughout the Mediterranean, ending with his imprisonment in Rome.

Paul's speeches in Acts

A number of Paul's speeches are recorded in Acts. The way Paul speaks varied greatly depending on the background of his audience.

When speaking to Jews, for example in Acts 13 and Acts 28, Paul would quote from the Old Testament to show how Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament. He would speak about faith and forgiveness rather than Law.

Paul used quite a different approach of evangelism when speaking to pagans who were not believers in the God of Israel. He spoke to untutored (uneducated) pagans in Acts 14 explaining how his God was the God of creation, and not a lifeless idol. He did this without using Old Testament quotations. He spoke to tutored (educated) pagans in Acts 17 in his famous speech in the Areopagus in Athens, using culturally relevant statements. He introduced God by talking about something he had seen in the marketplace in Athens, a statue to the "unknown god". Again he didn't use Old Testament quotes, but instead quoted Greek poets, and he spoke about sin in a different light, calling it "ignorance".

When Paul spoke to believers, as in Acts 20:18-35, he spoke words to remind and encourage them, warning them to hold onto their faith.

And when Paul was called to speak in his legal defence, as in Acts 22, Acts 24 and Acts 26, he gave personal testimony of how God had spoken to him, and he highlighted the work of God.

Paul's letters

  • Epistle to the Romans
  • First Epistle to the Corinthians
  • Second Epistle to the Corinthians
  • Epistle to the Galatians
  • Epistle to the Ephesians
  • Epistle to the Philippians
  • Epistle to the Colossians
  • First Epistle to the Thessalonians
  • Second Epistle to the Thessalonians
  • Epistle to Philemon
  • First Epistle to Timothy
  • Second Epistle to Timothy
  • Epistle to Titus
  • Epistle to Philemon

The New Perspective on Paul

The New Perspective on Paul refers to a recent discussion about Paul's theology on salvation that has developed among Protestant Christians. Protestants have traditionally believed that Paul argued against a legalistic Jewish culture that sought to earn salvation through works in his letters. Supporters of the New Perspective argue that Paul has been misread and contend that he was actually combating Jews who were boasting because they were God's people, the "elect" or the "chosen ones" and their "works", so to speak, were done to show they were God's covenant people and not to earn their salvation. According to the New Perspective on Paul, the result is a Judaism that affirmed sola gratia (grace alone). Presently the effects of the New Perspective are primarily seen in the academic world of New Testament scholars, however, future ramifications include directly affecting the Protestant doctrine of Justification by Faith (Sola Fide).

Quotes

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Saint Paul

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