Saint Paul Apostle to the Gentiles
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Messianic tradition holds that Saul of Tarsus was the son of Simon the Cyreneun and that Rufus Pudens the Roman Senator was his half brother. Further holds That Claudia the wife of Rufus Pudens was Pauls sister in law. Tradition also holds that there was another brother Alexander. Generally it is held that Saint Priscilla was Pauls mother. Tradition also holds that Simon later became a christian, in any case the entire family was martyred. Note: This is tradition possibly not fact. Note: Saint Priscilla housed Saint Peter at Rome.

The Catholic Church has always held that the Epistle to the Hebrews was written by Saint Paul and rightly so. Greek was his second language and he spoke an Asiatic Greek dialect, Hebrew was his native tongue. According to Messianic Tradition Saint Paul wrote this epistle from Corinth after hearing of the death of Saint James.

He wrote the original letter in Hebrew as he was addressing as the name implies the Hebrews, to strengthen that group after the horrendous murder of Saint James. Further he was writing to a group well schooled in the scriptures, and the result was a difference in his writing style as well as method of address. It was translated into Greek no doubt by one of the more educated bretheren and there were many in the church at that time. Unfortunately the original was lost perhaps in the destruction of Jerusalem, the copies in Greek survived.

Messianic tradition again holds; that Paul studied in Jerusalem along with Barnabas both were friendly with Nicodemus. Paul studied under the sage teacher Gamaliel who was the great grandson of Hillel the sage teacher. Paul was a very brilliant student and one thing that could be said of him; He was either for or against completely. He started out being totally aginst Christianity and after the road to Damascus became as For as he had once been Against. He then went on to become the evangelist to the gentiles and a pattern for all evangelists to follow.

Directors Note: Messianic tradition is mentioned here and anywhere there is a variance to church teaching the Church teaching must and will be the rule to follow. We only mention tradition as a matter of interest.

One must remember that for the first 300 years of the church persecution was rampant. Believers were being martyred faster than they could be baptised. It is a miracle of itself that what came down to us as New Testament Scripture was as intact as it is. A testimony of faith and sacrifice on the part of all that we salute here. This is occurring now as I write this and add our salute to the sacrifice of Christians everywhere. We must always be mindful to guard our liberty as Saint Paul advised. Saint Paul a true soldier of the cross.

Gamaliel advised the Pharisees of the temple of the freedmen in regards to what they were going to do with Peter and John. "Be carefull of what you do with these men, for if this is of men it will die out on its own; But if it is of God, you may well find yourselves fighting against almighty God" Paraphrased and shortened for brevity here. A lesson that after over 2000 years much of the world has yet to learn. One of Paul`s favorite phrases was "BUT GOD"! But God; the world will learn the lesson.

There have been many who have refuted what Paul said in the epistles and many have contended with much writing. One of the big contentions is justification by faith alone. Paul
shows us faith in action not only showing faith but that faith evident in works. Salvation comes by faith. It is faith that brings forth the gifts and works their outward expression. One of the biggest problems the Apostles had initially was people who believed and thought the kingdom was coming directly. As a result of this they were not working not realizing that the great day is fixed by the Father and the understanding of that is found in the first chapter of Acts where Jesus said; even he did not know the day. An understanding of that can be had by meditating on the statement "The Fullness of Time",

Early life 

Paul described himself as an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin , circumcised on the eighth day, a Pharisee ( Romans 11:1; Philippians 3:5), and of the "Jews' religion more exceedingly zealous of the traditions" ( Galatians 1:14 KJV). However, he was born as Saul in Tarsus of Cilicia and received a Jewish education. He apparently originated the use of Paul as a first name. In Latin, Paulus (mostly spelt "Paulus") was a family surname, never a first name. The Latin word paulus, related to the Koine Greek pauros, means small. The Greek word saulos, which was the common transliteration of the Hebrew Saul, means an immoral gait [1]. Paul had at least one brother Rufus according to Romans 16:13 . According to Acts 22:3, he studied in Jerusalem under Gamaliel; Thomas Robinson depicts Paul as coming to study in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, when Shammai became Nasi of the Sanhedrin, and during the rise to supremacy of the house of Shammai from AD 20. However, some scholars, such as Helmut Koester , have expressed their doubts that Paul either was in Jerusalem at this time or studied under this famous rabbi. Paul supported himself during his travels and while preaching, a fact he alludes to a number of times (e.g., 1 Corinthians 9:13 to 15); according to Acts 18:3, he worked as a tent maker. According to Romans 16:2, he had a patroness ( Koine Greek prostatis) named Phoebe [2]. On marriage, 1 Corinthians 7:8@9 (NRSV), he wrote: "To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is well for them to remain unmarried as I am. But if they are not practicing self control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion." On divorce, 1 Corinthians 7:10 to 16(NRSV), he cited Jesus: "To the married I give this command not I but the Lord   that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife" (from Mark 10:11 and parallels), but then gave his own teaching: "To the rest I say  I and not the Lord: but if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound ."

Acts 22:25 and 27 to 29 also states that Paul was a Roman citizen  a privilege he used a number of times to defend his dignity, including appealing his conviction in Iudaea Province to Rome. Because Paul never mentions this privilege in the epistles, some scholars have expressed skepticism as to whether Paul actually possessed citizenship such an honor was uncommon during his lifetime. The Ebionites and some Restorationists argue that Paul was a Roman who tried to convert to Judaism so he could marry or court a Jewish woman and that his conversion was denied. They state that citizenship would have required participation in the Imperial Cult, which would have been in conflict with Hebrew religious ideals. Furthermore, this view contends that Paul embraced ideas from esoteric mystery religions of the time, later superimposing them on the teachings of Jesus. Which is a false hood. Saul was a jew!

Conversion and early teachings

Paul himself admits that he at first persecuted Christians to the death ( Philippians 3:6 ), but later embraced the belief that he had fought against. Acts 9:1 to 9 describe the vision Paul had of Jesus on the Road to Damascus , a vision that led him to dramatically reverse his opinion. Paul himself offers no clear description of the event in any of his surviving letters; and this, along with the fact that the author of Acts describes Paul's conversion with subtle differences in two later passages, has led some scholars to question whether Paul's vision actually occurred. However, Paul did write that Jesus appeared to him "last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time" (1 Corinthians 15:8 KJV), and frequently claimed that his authority as "Apostle to the Gentiles" came directly from God ( Galatians 1:13 to 16), and 'not from man'. In addition, an adequate explanation for Paul's conversion is lacking in the absence of his vision.

Following his stay in Damascus after conversion, Paul first went to live in the Nabataean kingdom (which he called "Arabia") for an unknown period, then came back to Damascus, which by this time was under Nabataean rule. After three more years (Galatians 1:17;20) he was forced to flee from that city, via the Bab Kisan (The Kisan Gate), under the cover of night (Acts 9:23;25; 2 Corinthians 11:32.) because of the explosive reaction to his preaching by some of the strict Jews. Many years after his conversion to Christianity, Paul traveled to Jerusalem, where he met Saint Peter and James the Just.

Following this visit to Jerusalem, Paul's own writings and Acts slightly differ on his next activities. Acts states he went to Antioch, whence he set out to travel through Cyprus and southern Asia Minor to preach of Christ  a labor that has come to be known as his "First Missionary Journey" (13:13, 14:28). Paul merely mentions that he preached in Syria and Cilicia (Galatians 1:18 to 20); and though Acts states that Paul later "went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches" (Acts 15:41), it does not explicitly state that these were churches founded by Paul on a previous journey. It does not explain who else other than Paul might have founded the churches.

These missionary journeys are considered the defining actions of Paul. For these journeys, Paul usually chose one or more companions for his travels. Barnabas, Silas, Titus, Timothy, John, surnamed Mark, Aquila and Priscilla and his personal physician, Luke, all accompanied him for some or all of these travels. He endured hardships on these journeys: he was imprisoned in Philippi, was lashed and stoned several times, and almost murdered once (2 Corinthians 11:24 - 27). Some believe that he did actually die as a result of stoning, and was brought back from the dead by God. The account of his death, or near death experience, can be found in 2 Corinthians 12:2 - 5. Paul is known to have written 14 of the 27 books that make up the New Testament. It is possible that many beliefs about Jesus later adopted by Christianity came from his writings: Jesus' being a descendant of king David, the Resurrection of Jesus, the Ascension of Jesus after his crucifixion, original sin, and Jesus' return from heaven all make their first appearance in the letters of Paul (assuming he wrote them before the Gospels were written).
Because the letters of Paul are regarded as the earliest Christian documents and give a small portrayal of Jesus, it is conjectured by some that the Gospel writers took the little biographical data that Paul gives to construct the Gospels, although others such as
E. P. Sanders believe that the Gospels were written independently from Paul's letters.

NOTE: The Gospels were written independently, Mathew from Josephs point of view, Luke from Mary`s point of view, Mark was written to the Romans, and John is as could be expected from him a Priestly Gospel. If one studies the letters of Saint Paul carefully one can
easily deduce that the life of Christ was already established and the letters were a re inforcement and teaching on points already covered. This is occasionaly not true as he expands on subjects such as he did in Hebrews

Consultations with the other Apostles

About AD 49, after fourteen years of preaching, Paul traveled to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus to meet with the leaders of the Jerusalem church, namely James the Just, Saint Peter, and John the Apostle; an event commonly known as the Council of Jerusalem. The accounts of Acts 15 and Galatians 2:1to10 view this event from different perspectives. Acts states that Paul was the head of a delegation from the Antiochene church that came to discuss whether new converts needed to be circumcised.

Some interpret this to mean whether Christians should continue to observe all of the Mosaic Laws, the most important being considered the practice of circumcision and dietary laws. This was said to be the result of men coming to Antioch from Judea and "teaching the brothers: 'Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved'" (Acts 15:1 KJV) (see Legalism). Paul states that he had attended "in response to a revelation", to "lay before them the gospel [he] preached among the Gentiles" (Galatians 2:2 KJV), "because of false brethren secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage" (Galatians 2:4 KJV). He stated (Galatians 2:2) that he wanted to make sure what he had been teaching to the Gentile believers in previous years was correct  one interpretation is that his teaching was that Christ's fulfillment of the Mosaic Law by death and resurrection had freed Christian believers from the need to obey Mosaic Law. (see Antinomianism, Supersessionism). A rumor that Paul aimed to subvert the Law of Moses is cited in Acts 21:21; however, according to Acts, Paul followed James' instructions to show that he "kept and walked in the ways of the Law". Directors note: Jesus said; he came to fulfill the law not take it away. That fulfillment is the everlasting covenant.

Returning to Acts 15, after much debate and discussion, Peter says that "[God] made no distinction between us [Jews] and them [Gentiles], but cleansed their hearts by faith." (Acts 15:9 KJV), and James the Just (the brother of Jesus) states that "we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who are turning to God" (Acts 15:19 KJV). They sent a letter accompanied by some leaders from the Jerusalem church back with Paul and his party to confirm that the Gentile believers should not be overburdened by Mosaic Law beyond abstaining from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals, and from sexual immorality. (Acts 15:29). The letter also refers to Barnabas and Paul as "beloved" (Acts 15:25 KJV); compare Paul's account "James, Cephas [Peter] and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship" (Galatians 2:9 KJV).

Peter also commends Paul's writings (2 Peter 3:15), however (as many subsequent readers have also noticed) comments that "His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction" (NIV).

Despite the agreement they achieved at the Council as understood by Paul, Paul recounts how he later publicly confronted Peter (accusing him of Judaizing) over his reluctance to share a meal with gentile Christians in the "Incident of Antioch" (Galatians 2:11 to 18). Acts recounts nothing of this, saying only that "some time later", Paul decided to leave Antioch  usually considered the beginning of his Second Missionary Journey  with the object of visiting the believers in the towns where he and Barnabas had preached earlier. However, Paul and Barnabas then had a severe falling out over whether they should take John, surnamed Mark (Barnabas' cousin) with them or not, and they went on separate journeys (Acts 15:36 to 41) , Barnabas with John Mark, and Paul with Silas. Later on, there is some reconciliation  Paul mentions that John Mark is in prison with him, and tells the church in Colossae to welcome him if he comes to them (Colossians 4:10).

Founding of churches

Paul spent the next few years traveling through western Asia Minor  this time entering Macedonia  and founded his first Christian church in Philippi, where he encountered harassment. Paul himself tersely describes his experience as "when we suffered and were shamefully treated" (1 Thessalonians 2:2 KJV); the author of Acts, perhaps drawing from a witness (this passage follows closely on one of the "we passages"), explains here that Paul exorcised a spirit from a female slave, ending her ability to tell fortunes, and reducing her value  an act the slave's owner claimed was "theft", wherefore he had Paul briefly sent to prison (Acts 16:22). Paul then traveled along the Via Egnatia to Thessalonica, where he stayed for some time before departing for Greece. First he came to Athens, where he gave his legendary speech in Areios Pagos and said he was talking in the name of the "Unknown God" who was already worshipped there (17:16 - 34); then he traveled to Corinth, where he settled for three years, and wrote 1 Thessalonians, the earliest of his letters to survive.

Again he ran into legal trouble in Corinth: on the complaints of a group of Jews, he was brought before the proconsul Gallio, who decided that it was a minor matter not worth his attention, and dismissed the charges (Acts 18:12 to 16). From an inscription in Delphi that mentions Gallio, we are able to securely date this hearing as having occurred in the year 52, which aids in an accurate chronology of Paul's life.

Following this hearing, Paul continued his preaching (usually called his Third Missionary Journey), traveling again through Asia Minor and Macedonia, to Antioch and back. He caused a great uproar in the theatre in Ephesus, where local silversmiths feared loss of income due to Paul's activities. Their income relied on the sale of silver statues of the goddess Artemis, whom they worshipped; and the resulting mob almost killed him (Acts 19:21 to  41) and his companions. Later, as Paul was passing near Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem, Paul chose not to stop since he was in haste to reach Jerusalem by Pentecost. The church here, however, was so highly regarded by Paul that he called the elders to Miletus to meet with him (Acts 20:16 to 38).

Arrest, Rome, and later life

Upon Paul's arrival in Jerusalem with the relief funds requested at the Council of Jerusalem (Galatians 2:10), Paul was recognized outside the Jewish Temple and was nearly beaten to death by a mob, who supposed that Paul had brought his traveling companion (a Greek) into the Temple, thus "defiling" it. After Paul's subsequent rescue by the Roman guard and Paul's imprisonment, Ananias the High Priest made accusations against Paul that resulted in his continued imprisonment awaiting various trials (Acts 24:1 to 5). Paul claimed his right, as a Roman citizen, to be tried in Rome; but owing to the inaction of the governor Antonius Felix, Paul languished in confinement at Caesarea Palaestina for two years until a new governor, Porcius Festus, took office, held a hearing, and sent Paul by sea to Rome, where he spent another two years in detention (Acts 28:30) in Rome.

Paul's trip to Rome, imprisonment and death

Acts describes Paul's journey from Caesarea to Rome in some detail. The centurion Julius had shipped Paul and his fellow prisoners aboard a merchant vessel, whereon Luke and Aristarchus were able to take passage. As the season was advanced, the voyage was slow and difficult. They skirted the coasts of Syria, Cilicia, and Pamphylia. At Myra in Lycia, the prisoners were transferred to an Alexandrian vessel transporting wheat bound for Italy. A place in Crete called Good Havens was reached with great difficulty, and Paul advised that they should spend the winter there. His advice was not followed, and the vessel, driven by the tempest, drifted aimlessly for fourteen days, and finally wrecked on the coast of Malta. The three months when navigation was considered most dangerous were spent there, where Paul healed the father of the Roman Governor Publius from fever and other people who were sick. He also preached the gospel and placed Publius head of this church. With the first days of spring, all haste was made to resume the voyage.

Acts only recounts Paul's life until he arrived in Rome, around 61; and although the details are not specific it is clear that he traveled much of the eastern Mediterranean Sea coastal area for twenty years prior (around 40 to 60), in what are often referred to as the Four Missionary Journeys. Some argue Paul's own letters cease to furnish information about his activities long before then, although others (NIV Study Bibles, for example) date the last source of information being his second letter to Timothy, describing him languishing in a "cold dungeon" and passages indicating he knew that his life was about to come to an end. While Paul's letters to the Ephesians and to Philemon may have been written while he was imprisoned in Rome (the traditional interpretation), they may have been written during his earlier imprisonments at Caesarea, or at Ephesus.

We are forced to turn to tradition for the details of Paul's final years. One tradition holds (attested as early as in 1 Clement 5:7, and in the Muratorian fragment) that Paul visited Spain and Britain. While this was his intention (Romans 15:22 to 7), the evidence is inconclusive. Another tradition places his death in Rome. Eusebius of Caesarea states that Paul was beheaded in the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero. This event has been dated either to the year 64, when Rome was devastated by a fire, or a few years later, to 67. One Gaius, who wrote during the time of Pope Zephyrinus, mentions Paul's tomb as standing on the Via Ostensis. While there is little evidence to support any of these traditions, there is no evidence contradicting them, and no alternative traditions of Paul's eventual fate. It is commonly accepted that Paul died as a martyr in Rome. According to Bede in Ecclesiastical History from Vatican library sources, his mortal remains were given to Oswy, King of Britain, by Pope Vitalian in AD 665.

Theological teachings

Paul had several major impacts on the nature of Christian doctrine. The first was that of the centrality of faith within the life of Jesus, and the ability to attain righteousness through such. (Romans 3:22, Galatians 3:22, etc.). It was not until his later letter to the Corinthians that he alluded to the possibility of eternal life, and in turn was held to supersede the value of the Mosaic Law  a belief often expressed as "Jesus died for our sins" (as the spotless "Lamb of God" referred to by John the Baptist and John the Apostle). It is unclear how much of this idea is original to Paul; Jerome notes the existence in the 4th century of a Christian sect in Syria called the Ebionites who still observed the Mosaic Law, thus suggesting that at least some Christians may not have believed in the salvatory qualities of the Passion. The Didache does not have this concept. The Ethiopian Orthodox, who claim to be the only church free of Marcionism, still observe some Mosaic Laws.[3] The Apostolic Constitutions, generally dated around the 3rd century, claiming to be from the Council of Jerusalem, are pro Mosaic Law (see Acts 2.36; 6.19; 7.23). The Acts of the Apostles definitely depicts Paul as a Mosaic Law observant Jew. For example, in Acts 15 he accepts a subset (see Noahide Laws) of the Law for new Gentile converts; in Acts 16 he personally circumcises Timothy, a Greek, even though his father is Greek, because his mother is of the Jewish faith; and in Acts 21, James challenges Paul about the rumor that he is teaching rebellion against the Law. Paul goes to Herod's Temple with four Nazarite pledges to show that he is not; however, when some people from Asia Minor (Paul's home area) see him, it starts a major riot. The assumption that Paul was anti Law, (indeed that even Jesus was anti-Law), found its largest proponent in Marcion and Marcionism. However, there is some evidence suggesting that Paul's concept of salvation coming from the death of Jesus was not unique amongst early Christians; Philippians 2:5 - 11, expounds a Christology similar to Paul's, and has long been identified as a hymn of early Christians dated as existing before Paul's letter.

This belief of eternal life leads directly to the modern argument of justification by faith vs. justification by faith and works. Most Protestant denominations assert that Paul's teachings constitute a definitive statement that salvation comes only by faith and not by any external action of the believer. Roman Catholic and Orthodox theology disputes this, asserting that passages cited in Paul are being misinterpreted (as stated in 2 Peter 3:16), and that this interpretation is directly contradicted by James 2:24: "man is justified by works, and not by faith alone."(KJV)

Related to Paul's interpretation of the resurrection are his concepts of faith, which he explains through his explanation of Abraham (see Paul's letter to the Galatians), and of righteousness and the forgiveness of sins, Augustine of Hippo later elaborated upon this concept in his formulation of original sin.

In the New Testament, the doctrine of original sin is most clearly expressed by Paul's writings. His writings also express the doctrine that salvation is not achieved by conforming to Mosaic Law, but through faith in (or the faith of) Jesus. It is claimed this doctrine was confirmed at the Council of Jerusalem (see above). Paul was also one of the first Christians to expound the doctrine of Christ's divine nature.

One development clearly not original to Paul, (for example see Isaiah 56:6 to 8, Acts 10, proselyte), but for which he became a chief advocate, was the conversion of non-Jews (specifically those not circumcised) to Christianity. While a number of passages in the Gospels acknowledge that Gentiles might enjoy the benefits of Jesus, Paul claims to be "The Apostle to the Gentiles"  a title that can be traced to Galatians 2:8. His missionary work amongst Gentiles helped to raise Christianity beyond its initial reputation as a dissident (if not heretical) Jewish sect (see Jewish Christians), at least with the populace, if not the Roman Imperial party (see Constantine the Great).

Paul also manifests a strong doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Much of Romans, and particularly the ending to 2 Corinthians, portrays the Spirit in equality with God the Father and the Son. These references would later take shape as the doctrine of the Trinity. Paul's notion that the Holy Spirit dwells within all believers at the time of their conversion is integral to his soteriology, ecclesiology, missiology, and eschatology. Paul explains in his letter to the Galatians, that they received the Holy Spirit because of the promises of God to Abraham (Galatians 4:4-7). The apostle Paul testified to the Galatians, "If you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Galatians 3:29 KJV)

Social views

Paul's writings on social issues were just as influential on the life and beliefs of Christian culture as were his doctrinal statements.

In his letter to the Colossians, Paul expounds on how a follower of Christ should live a radically different life  using heavenly standards instead of earthly ones. These standards have highly influenced Western society for centuries. He condemns such things as impurity, lust, greed, anger, slander, filthy language, lying, and racial divisions. In the same passage, Paul extols the virtues of compassion, kindness, patience, forgiveness, love, peace, and gratitude (Colossians 3:1-17.)

Paul condemned "sexual immorality," saying "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body" (1 Corinthians 6:18)  based on the moral laws of the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus (Matthew 5:27 @ 28; see also 1 Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:21 - 33, Colossians 3:1-17). Other Pauline teachings are on freedom in Christ (Galatians 5, 1 Corinthians 8, Colossians 2:6-23), proper worship and church discipline (1 Corinthians 11), the unity of believers (1 Corinthians 1:10 to 17, Ephesians 4:1to 6), and marriage (1 Corinthians 7, Ephesians 5:21-33). Paul advocated celibacy or abstinence for the "believer" (unless married), and warned that either marriage or separation would bring trouble if not sanctioned by God beforehand. "And I would spare you," Paul explained.

Paul may have been ambivalent towards slavery, saying that pending the near return of Jesus, people should focus on their faith and not on their social status (1 Corinthians. 7:21ff.). He also instructed slaves to serve their masters faithfully (Ephesians 6:5), and that masters should be respectful of their slaves, as 'he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.' (Ephesians 6:9b (NIV)) Due to his authority, these views have had an influence in Western society into modern times; Paul's apparent failure to explicitly condemn slavery in his Epistle to Philemon has sometimes been interpreted as justifying the ownership of human beings, although chattel slavery is a relatively modern phenomenon.

Paul was not only establishing a new cultural awareness and a society of charity, but was also subverting Roman authority through language and action. Paul used titles to describe Jesus that were also claimed by the Roman Caesars, the Ptolemaic dynasty, the Seleucid Empire, and Alexander the Great. Augustus had claimed the titles "Lord of Lords", "King of Kings", and "Son of God" (as he was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, whom he declared to be a god). Alexander the Great claimed to be the son of Zeus and a virgin. When Paul refers to Jesus' life as the "Good News", evangelion in Koine Greek, he is using another title claimed by Augustus. Ancient Roman inscriptions had called Augustus the evangelon (good news) for Rome. Paul used these titles to expand upon the ethic of Jesus with words from and for his own place and time in history. If Jesus is lord, then Caesar is not, and so on. The ethic being that the Christian's life is not to be lived out of hope for what the Roman Empire could provide (legal, martial and economic advantage) or the pharisaical system could provide (legalistic, self dependent salvation), (against this view see E. P. Sanders), but out of hope in the Resurrection and promises of Jesus. The Christianity which Paul envisioned was one in which adherents lived unburdened by the norms of Roman and Jewish society to freely follow the promise of an already established but not yet fully present Kingdom of God, promised by Jesus and instituted in his own Resurrection. The true 'subversive' nature of Paul's ethic was not that the Church seek to subvert the Empire (vindication in full had already been promised), but that the Church not be subverted by the Empire in its wait for Christ's return.

Corrie Ten Boom a famous Christian Apologist who had been through the fires of imprisonment of the death camp at Ravensbruck. Had much to say in regards to the Holy Spirit.  Her Talks in regards to being a true Christian and her book "The Hiding Place" are very worthy to be studied. In many respects her life paralleled that of Saint Paul. Go here for more on her life.

Saint Paul is held as not only the first of the great Theologians but also the model of Missionarys.  But what makes a theologian great and what makes for an effective Missionary? In the book of acts we read where Paul preached in Athens and won over few converts, in the opening of 1 Corinthians we see him resolving to preach Christ Jesus and him crucified. Why the difference? In Athens he preached God and realizing on the way to Corinth that this was an error resolved to preach Christ. But What makes a Theologian or Missionary Great?

Corrie Ten Boom gives us a good example. She descibed herself as a glove and The Holy Spirit the hand. The glove by itself cannot accomplish much spiritually. When the hand fills the glove the glove animates and accomplishes wonderfull works. It is the availability of the glove that the Holy Spirit fills that makes a truly great Theologian and notable Missionrys.

Paul on the road to Damascus received a vision that completely changed his views and his life. The first of what would be an ocean of dramatic conversions that have occurred since. The Holy Spirit filled this glove and after a long process of seclusion we find him back in Damascus a competely changed man. It goes without saying that the community of believers were afraid of him for a time did not believe the dramatic turn around from persecutor to dramatic teacher. It took a long learning curve to accomplish his first convert Appolos. The honing of his skills went on to the first page of Corinthians and from there the rest is Church History.

We would be in error not to mention the other big guns of the Spirit James, John, and Peter and the rest of the Apostles and leaders such as Saint Steven. We know these names but we must honor all those whose names are not known whose sacrifice built the young Church. If we were to know their complete stories each one would be perhaps as notable. Christianity was spread through such sacrifice and it still is today.

The Epistle to the Hebrews stands as both the greatest desertation on the Priesthood of Christ and the best ever given on Faith. It shows the depth of understanding Saint Paul had on the subjects. The epistle to the Ephesians gives us a wonderfull lesson on grace as well as one of the best chapters on marriage found anywhere and has never been duplicated.

Saint Paul, Thelogian, Teacher, Missionary of Christ, Glove of the Holy Spirit, remains the fire that lights faith all over the World.

Directors note:

There will always be those who subvert teaching and bend it to their own ends. Such are to be avoided.

It is the way of the world to expect someone like Paul to be perfect and that simply was not the case yet! He was a man like you and me that fell into that catagory of chosen. (When I say man I mean both men and women)

The Church was placed into the hands of men with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Imperfect man with the guidance of the holy Spirit, a pilgrim church through the world, we are imperfect and thus perfection is that hoped for on the day we are glorified. Imperfect but forgiven. Imperfect but striving, always waiting with the hope of a proven promise.

Many have said; Paul was wrong; in many cases; but as of yet I have not seen anyone who came forward with anything that says it better. Scripture must be read from faith with the guidance of the Holy Spirit being well aware of the dangers personal intrepretation and that is where the church comes into play and its Magistreum. Without that guidance and leadership staying to the Holy Word, one would see the same confusion and error that one sees in other areas of Christianity.

The armchair critics and their comments brings to mind a conversation I once had with a very brilliant young person who was studying to be a doctor.

I pointed out that anyone can be a doctor, the person that graduates last in the class is still called doctor! I pointed out that to become a real Physician when the residency is finished is to take a mission as a missionary doctor. They would see and deal with a range of ailments and injuries they likely would never see here in the USA.

The reaction to my suggestion was immediate. That individual looked at me like I was out of my mind and looked like I had just shot them. The idea of having to leave the comfort of their arm chair was unthinkable, add to that the word money and you have the picture.

While I am writing this India and some other countries are hot beds of persecution. You can be sure that you will only see ordinary christians both ordained and lay giving their lives for Christ. As a rule you will not see the arm chair experts and critics.

What I have to say to them is this; Walk the talk and walk as Paul had to and endure what he had to and deal with the same problems as he did and then realize all that received his teachings by way of the holy Spirit were every bit as intelligent as we are today and when you return I would be most interested in what you have to say. The world has enough do gooders. We need more good doers like Saint Paul!

One final Note: You can trust what the church teaches and what the Church fathers established as canon at the very first council of Nicea. The variances that the experts point out and tend to make an issue of is really a non issue. What all of us have to realize is that Holy Scripture and subsequent Church teachings have one goal. The goal of delivering the Gospels, and the whole of New Testament Scripture and subsequent revalations of the Holy Spirit as it occurred, in truth. Finally the goal of the Salvation of Souls. No other goal
is more important. The entire sum of scripture is devoted to that end only adding such information as would be pertinent. If you have questions the appropriate source for the answer is the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is found throughout the Church. The Holy Spirit is found in the hearts of every true believer in Christ. Noah had delivered to him rudiment law. Moses delivered the law and its prophets. Jesus Christ came and explained God and delivered the everlasting covenant. Saint Paul came and explained Christ.

Saint Paul whose life stands as a model for all evangelists tower of faith and an example of Grace. By his life he gave the last full measure at Rome and left behind a guidepost legacy that continues in all corners of the world. Hearts enlightened in Christ standing firm as he did and all to many dieing for the Faith as he did.

Respectfully in Christ:

The Director:

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