CHARACTER STUDY OF PAUL THE APOSTLE

The Apostle to the Gentiles

· Introduction of Paul coincided with Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ during the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58)

· Quickly given the mandate of apostleship to the gentiles

· The Twelve were sent to Israel, he was sent to the Gentiles

· The Twelve were chosen and commissioned on the land of Israel, Paul was chosen outside of Israel

Was he to replace Judas?

· No, he does not qualify as such (Acts 1:21- 22)

· The replacement should have been a follower since John the Baptist


Family Background (Philippians 3:1-7)

· Of the tribe of Benjamin (produced the 1st King of Israel)

· Hebrew of Hebrew (no adulteration even though he lived outside of Israel)

· Few Israelites as at now could trace their tribal ancestry (Paul could)

· Saul (Hebrew) is the same name as Paul (Latin), no name change

· Dual citizen, both an Israelite and citizen of Rome

· Highly educated and influential in the Jewish religion

How to approach his letters

· He wrote as a convert

· He died as a martyr

· Some of his teachings are hard (2nd Peter 3:15)

· While the Gospels record the words of Jesus Christ before the Cross, Paul’s epistles record the words of Jesus Christ in his exalted and ascended position in heaven

Personality

· His conversion proves that there is no one beyond the reach of the Grace of God (Acts 18:3).

· He considered himself as a chief sinner

· Where sin abounds, the Grace of God abounds much more (Romans 5:20)

· His bi-vocational / tent ministry provides an example to contemporary believers that it is possible to commit yourself fully into ministry while still engaged in ‘secular’ employment (Acts 18:3).

· The harvest is plentiful, labourers are few

· The finance of the church is stretched, more volunteers needed

· He risked his life for his faith and his mandate

· Along with his mandate, suffering was guaranteed (Acts 9:16)

· He suffered opposition from the Judaizers (Acts 15:1, Galatians 2:)

· He was opposed by enemies of the Cross (Philippians, Acts)

· He was deserted by all, no one stood with him (2 Timothy 1:15-16)

· His high level of education came in handy and prepared him as a worthy witness among the intelligentsia of Athens and other places (Acts 17:18-36).

· As much opportunity we get to educate ourselves, let us do

· Our education or certificates can open some doors for us

· Paul was a reader, he read widely and kept notes (2 Timothy 4:13)


· He was a man of very deep convictions

· Wrote so many letters obviously because people were arguing with him

· His letters remain till now because his opinions did matter

· Stood his grounds to ensure that the message of Grace alone was promoted (Galatians 2:4 – 5; Acts 15:2)

· When Peter made a mistake, he was bold to confront him

· He confronted the many issues in the Church of Corinth


Defence of His Apostleship

· He is noted to be boasting of his achievements

· Some despised him because he was not a member of the Twelve

· People could not relate his past to his present; a persecutor now turned promoter (Galatians 1:22 -23, Acts 9:21)

· Some played him against other personalities (Apollos, Peter)


Man of Tough Love

· He refused to let John Mark join the trip, but later requested that he is brought back to serve him

· He was never shy to rebuke any of the churches which were erring in doctrine and practice

o The Galatians were mixing Grace with Works

o The Colossians were concerned with human philosophy

o Corinth had several issues

The Sufferings of Paul

· Several beatings, hunger, thirst, sleeplessness, fatigue

· 5 times, beaten by 39 lashes. Jesus took one

· 3 times, beaten with rods, 1 time stoned, 3 times ship-wrecked

· Full day and night in the deep (water or grave)

· Concern for the churches (2 Corinthians 11:28) yet he was deserted by all, no one stood with him (2 Timothy 1:15-16)


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