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O God raise up teachers after your heart for the harvest is ripe

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Understanding the Apostle Paul





 
For everything we know for certain about the Apostle Paul, there are many more things shrouded in mystery and open for conjecture and speculation. So very little is mentioned about Paul outside of his personal testimonies and what he wrote in Philippians chapter 3. Many crazy accusations have been leveled at Paul, both when he lived and ever since. This truly hurts my heart for I believe Paul was a great man of God.

We do know that Saul (Paul) was a Pharisee, a Roman citizen, well educated, zealous and sat on the Sanhedrin. We thus are to assume that he was at some point married, probably was well off financially and a man on the fast track to top leadership positions. There is no denying that Saul was a very influential man who was given the job of destroying the new Christian sect which was spreading throughout the regions near Jerusalem.

Many rumors continue to circulate concerning Saul, one of which is that he was the ‚‚¬‚Å young man‚‚¬ who was brought the clothing of Stephan after he was stoned. There is no proof that the person was Saul although it certainly could have been.

Whether Saul had a wife or children has been a source of contentious debate for centuries. If he sat on the Sanhedrin he would have had to be married, but Paul makes absolutely no references to his personal family anywhere in his writings. Seeing how Paul was on the road nearly all the time after Acts 13, if he did have a wife and children, he obviously never saw them.

We know that after his conversion Paul spent a large amount of time in the wilderness and after almost being killed by the Jews, tried to show himself to the disciples who were scared to death of him. Barnabas befriended Paul and took him to Tarsus and later the two of them ended up in Antioch where they were called to go forth and spread the Gospel.

The confusion regarding Paul comes from statements he makes in his epistles such as in I Corinthians 7 where he wished all were as he was. Some have said this proves Paul was and always had been a single man. Others say it proves he once had a wife but not at that time. The truth is that no one knows for sure exactly what Paul meant.

Another statement Paul made that has caused great confusion was regarding his ‚‚¬‚Å thorn in the flesh‚‚¬. Although from context it is very clear that Paul was referring to the groups of people who followed him everywhere seeking to destroy his credibility, physically injure him or even kill him; the notion that he was referring to some physical ailment is still promoted to this day.

The Apostle Paul, more than any other man mentioned in the New Testament, deserves to be studied and understood. Considering how much of the New Testament was written by Paul, it is only logical that we should strive to grasp who he was, how he thought and what he taught. As time allows I will attempt to share what I know from my 40 years of researching this incredible man and his writings.

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Kirk m+ is a retired minister living with his wife and animals in rural eastern Missouri You can find out more about kirk at his profile page .

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Billy Beard+ (@billyb)

  The jury is still debating about the Sanhedrin. Like you said, much is conjecture, perhaps believing what can not be proved. He undoubtedly proves that one can have a very good knowledge of Scripture, and yet still be blind to what scripture teaches. Also the Pharisees had added a lot of "oral tradition" to the scripture. We never learn, do we? Same is done today.

Many identify themselves with Paul, yet very, very few are out doing what he did. The gospel would have been preached to all the world a long time ago if more were. Always an interesting topic. Enjoyed. God Bless. billy


K Reynolds+ (@kreynolds)

  When I was a girl, my mother was in charge of children's ministries. She did the excellent series of The Life of Paul which was distributed by Child Evangelism Fellowship. Although she taught that series about 40 years ago, I have NEVER forgotten it! LOL! I remember she enlisted the help of me and friends to cut out all those flannelgraph figures as well!

The story of his conversion, missionary journeys, imprisonments and other hardships had a great impact on me both then and now. Words he penned to the Church at Corinth, hang above my desk, words that sustained me during those dark chemo days just like they had in the past and continue to sustain me to this day.

Giving up everything for the sake of the Gospel, enduring the loss of position of power and influence, wealth, many friendships and who knows what else, he exchanged it for a life of hardship, death threats and imprisonment. Yet he believed it to be worth it all! He reminds us that our light affliction is but for a moment and that we can do all things through Christ for He is our strength. He tells us to always rejoice in the Lord and encourages us to press on, run the race with patience, keep our eyes on Christ and NEVER give up!

I'm looking forward to your future blogs on this topic.

Blessings!

K :princess:


Mark Martin (@onehumbelservant)

  Ya know, I don't claim to be perfect and to know all things of God, but I want to say God settled this with me years ago about Pauls thorn. First we do not need God's Grace for a physical conditon, we need it for our sin condition, I belive his thorn was a sin condition he could not forsake and he wrestled with it all his days, I asked God later in life again about this, He once again settled in my heart, and this came to me, if God in His Word would have mentioned what sin condition it was, then many thru out the years would have claimed the right to make the same sin themselfs, thereby it would seem, or perhaps would have been considered that God had condoned this type of sin, and we all know that could never happen. Dwell on that and see where it leads you to believe. Great message again B2Y, are you sure your retired? ha ha O.h.S.


Beth Mehaffey (@mirmos)

  I look forward to more on this topic. I believe Paul is greatly misunderstood and seek to know more.


Ben davidson (@1thessalonians41)

  i love your heart but you need to check your facts, acts 7 58 says that they laid their coats at the feet of a young man named saul, then it says that saul approved of the stoning of stephen (8:1) and that a great persecution broke out against the church and that saul was ravaging the church. then there is a break to talk about philip the evangelist and the etheopian. and when it gets back to the saul story it says "but saul, STILL breathing threats and murder..." he went and got permission to attack christians in damascus and on the way Jesus appeared to him on the road and he was converted. this word "still" means that it is the same saul as talked about previous, the same saul persecuting the church the same saul who approved of stephens execution, the same saul who the people laid their coats at his feet. this is where luke introduces saul, starting with stephens execution. not that your statement is a big deal in and of itself but i don't know where you got the idea that it was just a rumor when its stated clearly in the word. we need to be careful to do thurough research about everything we claim reguarding the bible and the things taught in it. remember that James warned that not many should become teachers because they will incure a stricter judgment. posting a blog is a form of teaching, in that its intent is to inform and teach others. i agree with your interpretation of his thorn in the flesh, that its not strictly an illness, although i'm not sure its refering specifically to those following him, he does say that it was a messenger of satan, so it seems to be more of a spiritual thorn than a physical thorn although the gospels provide lots of cases where demons can cause physical ailments (albeit through possession and believers cannot be possessed) and last, although paul wrote the most letters and has had the largest influence on the western church, more was actually written about Jesus and of all the authors Luke actually wrote the most verses, followed by the apostle John. i love you and i'm only concerned about us holding each other accountable for biblical accuracy, continue to study and proclaim the word 1st thessalonians 4:1 in Christ, Ben


Author: Kirk m+
Posted
  I thank you for sharing your thoughts on this matter, but let me remind you that as the writer of this blog, if I choose to lay out things in question form, it is my privilege. In this short introduction I was simply trying to lay out some of the prevailing thoughts and opinions regarding a man who for the most part is despised or ignored.

If we are going to nit pick things and say someone wrote more verses etc. then we have no ground to agree on much of anything. God chose to put in His Word either 13 or 14 epistles written by Paul. Although Luke wrote a lengthy Gospel account and the Book of Acts and John wrote a Gospel, three short epistles and Revelation; based on volume and the "meat" of what is presented there is no denying that Paul had the greatest influence.

Of course there is the most written about Jesus. He is subject of the Bible from Genesis 3:15 through Revelation.

Thank you for your thoughts,
B2Y



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