Paul The Apostle

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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

PAUL THE Apostle

i. The Authorities. Before discussing the life and teaching of St. Paul, we may consider what material we have at our disposal for determining the facts. We have a history (the Acts of the Apostles) and a collection of Epistles, which have been judged by most or by many scholars to be 1st cent. writings, and to be by St. Luke and St. Paul respectively. Of the Epistles we may, however, set aside the anonymous one to the Hebrews, which the Eastern Fathers generally considered to be St. Paul’s, but which is now recognized by almost all scholars not to be the work of that Apostle himself. It is even denied by many that it belongs to the immediate Pauline circle at all. We may also put aside the Apocryphal Acts of Paul and Thecla , which, though it may include some genuine 1st cent. information, is clearly a romance of a later age. We have thus left the canonical   Acts 13:1-52 Epistles. The genuineness of these is considered under the separate articles in this Dictionary, but we may here briefly summarize the results of critical investigation with regard to them.

1. The Tübingen theory. F. C. Baur, the founder of the Tübingen School (1792 1860), maintained that only four, called by him ‘principal,’ Epistles were really St. Paul’s (  Romans 1:1-32 and 2 Cor., Gal.), and that the rest, as also Acts, were not genuine. From the ‘principal’ Epistles, and from a clue in the 2nd cent. pseudo-Clementine literature, he gathered that there were originally two bitterly opposed factions in the Church, Jewish and Gentile, headed respectively by St. Peter and St. Paul. Mainly because this controversy is not found in the other Epistles, but also from other minor considerations, he held that the rest of the ‘Pauline’ literature and Acts were writings with a purpose or ‘tendency,’ issued in the 2nd cent. in order to promote the idea of a Catholic Church, and to reconcile the contending parties. Baur has few, if any, followers now. It has been seen that it is had criticism to make a theory on insecure grounds, and then to reject all the literature which contradicts it.

2. The Dutch School. We may thus name a school of writers which has lately arisen, as their chief strength is in Holland. Prof. van Manen has popularized their teaching in Encyc. Bibl . ( e.g . artt. ‘Old-Christian Literature,’ ‘Paul,’ ‘Philemon,’ ‘Philippians’; see also art. ‘Acts’ by Schmiedel). According to this school, all the 13 Epistles and the Acts are ‘pseudepigraphic,’ though some fragments of 1st cent. works, such as ‘Acts of Paul’ and ‘Acts of Peter,’ are embedded in them. The reasons given are that the 13 writings in question are not really epistles intended for definite readers, but are books written in the form of epistles for edification; that there is no trace of the impression which, if genuine, they must have made on those addressed; that St. Paul would not have written to the Romans as be did without knowing them personally; that the large experience and wide field of vision shown in the Epistles were an impossibility at so early a date; that time was required for ‘Paulinism,’ which was a radical reformation of the older Christianity, to spring up; that the problems discussed (the Law and the Gospel, Justification, Election, etc.) did not belong to the first age; that persecution had already arisen, whereas in St. Paul’s lifetime, so far as we know, there had been none; and that the chapters   Romans 9:1-33;   Romans 10:1-21;   Romans 11:1-36 presuppose a date later than the Fall of Jerusalem. In a word, the historical background of the Epistles is said to be that of a later age, perhaps a.d. 125 150. The ‘Pauline’ literature sprang from the ‘heretical’ circles of Syria or Asia Minor. Marcion was the first (van Manen alleges) to make an authoritative group of Pauline Epistles; and they were not much approved by Irenæus or Tertullian, who, however, used them to vanquish the Gnostics and Marclonites with their own weapons.

One is tempted to ask, Was, then, St. Paul a myth? No, it is replied, he was a historical person, and the little that we know about him can be gathered from the older material (such as the ‘we’ sections of Acts) which is included in our present literature. It is enough to reply to the above reasoning that the objection already made to the Tübingen theory applies here with increased force; no criticism can be more unscientific than that which makes up its mind a priori what St. Paul ought to have done and said, and then judges the genuineness of the literature by that standard. And such a deluge of forgery or ‘pseudepigraphy’ in the 2nd cent. (for the Epistles of Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp must also, according to this school, go by the board) is absolutely incredible.

3. English and German criticism. Returning to better-balanced views about the literature, we may remark that scholars in this country are more and more disposed to treat Acts and all the 13 Epistles as genuine, and that in Germany the tendency is in the same direction, though it does not go quite so far. Thus Harnack ( Luke the Physician , 1906, Eng. tr. [Note: translate or translation.] 1907) accepts Acts as Lukan, and Jülicher ( Encyc. Bibl .) believes Colossians to be St. Paul’s, though he is uncertain about Ephesians. The Pastoral Epistles and 2 Thessalonians are generally, but not universally, accepted in this country; they are looked on much more doubtfully in Germany, but the former are usually recognized there as containing a Pauline nucleus.

4. The thirteen Epistles . It appears that St. Paul wrote other letters than these; references to lost ones are found, probably, in   2 Thessalonians 3:17 and   1 Corinthians 5:9 . The thirteen which remain may be divided into four groups. These are all well attested by early Christian writers, and (as van Manen remarks) the Pastoral Epistles have as good external testimony as the rest. By way of example (to take but a few instances), it may be noted that Ignatius ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 110 a.d.), Polycarp ( c . 111 a.d.), and Justin ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 150 a.d.) use 2 Thessalonians; Clement of Rome ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 95 a.d.) uses 1 Corinthians and probably Ephesians; Ignatius certainly uses Ephesians; Polycarp uses almost all the thirteen, including the Pastorals. In fact the external evidence is precise; and it would require convincing arguments indeed from internal evidence to overthrow it. Marcion ( c [Note: circa, about.] . 140 a.d.) included all these Epistles except the Pastorals in his Apostolicon  ; but he freely excised what be did not like in them, as Tertullian ( adv. Marc., e.g . v. 17 f.) tells us.

( a ) First Group (1 and 2 Thess.). These were written from Corinth 52 or 53 a.d.; the early date is seen from the fact that the writer expected the Second Advent to be in his lifetime (  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ), and this is a real sign of authenticity, for a forger would never have put into St. Paul’s mouth, after his death, the words ‘we that are alive’ (v. 15). A possible misconception is rectified by St. Paul in   2 Thessalonians 2:2 f., for he says that the ‘man of sin’ must be manifested before the Lord comes.

( b ) Second Group , Baur’s ‘principal epistles’ (  Galatians 1:1-24 and 2 Cor., Rom.), marked by the struggle for Gentile liberty and by the assertion of St. Paul’s Apostleship, which the Judaizing Christians denied. The controversy was evidently dying out when Romans was written, for that Epistle is a calm and reasoned treatise, almost more than a letter (see art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 4 ). The early date of these four Epistles is seen from the consideration that, as Gentile Churches spread and the converts multiplied, it must have been found impossible to force the yoke of the Law on them. The controversy on both heads was settled by St. Paul’s evangelistic activity; his Apostleship was seen by its fruits.

(c) Third Group , the Epistles of the first Roman captivity (Eph., Ph., Col., Phllem.). No really serious objections have been raised against Philippians and Philemon, for it is hard to take seriously van Manen’s arguments in his articles on these Epistles in Encyc. Bibl . And indeed it is impossible that a forger could have conceived such a gem as the latter Epistle; the writer’s pleading with Philemon for the runaway slave Onesimus bears genuineness on its face. But the authenticity of these two Epistles has a decided bearing on that of Ephesians and Colossians, for all four hang together, especially Philemon and Colossians, which appear to have been written at the same time. It is objected that the phraseology of this group differs from that of the second; that Gnosticism did not rise till the 2nd cent.; that the Christology of these Epistles is derived from the Johannine writings; and that ‘Ephesians is a mere vapid expansion of Colossians.’ These objections appear to be based on the idea that a man must be interested in the same questions and controversies all through his life, and must always use the same vocabulary. The reverse is known to be commonly the case. The controversy with Judaism having died out, it is a mark of genuineness, not the opposite, that that question does not form one of the topics discussed in this group. St. Paul at Rome would learn much; and a certain change in vocabulary is natural enough. Yet the literary connexions between this group and the earlier ones are very real. Bishop Lightfoot has shown that the Colossian heresy is a very incipient form of semi-Jewish Gnosticism, such as we should expect in the 1st cent. ( Colossians , p. 71 ff.). And the argument from the Christology is a pure begging of the question. Note that the doctrine is exactly the same in Colossians (which treats of the glories of the Head of the Church, while Ephesians describes those of the Church itself) as in   Philippians 2:5 ff.

( d ) Fourth Group , the Pastoral Epistles (1 and 2 Tim., Tit.), so called because they are concerned mainly with the duties of Christian ministers. These all hang together, and from coincidences of style and subjects are judged to be certainly by one writer. They are quoted by, or were known to, Polycarp, Justin, Hegesippus (see Salmon, Introd. to NT 8 , p. 398), but were rejected by Marcion. Tatian accepted Titus, but rejected the other two, probably because   1 Timothy 4:3 f.,   1 Timothy 5:14;   1 Timothy 5:23 offended his Encratite ideas. In modern times it has been asserted that these Epistles are not St. Paul’s, because of differences of diction (many phrases and words being found in this group which do not occur elsewhere in St. Paul); because the controversies are not the same as in the other Epistles, there being nothing about the Mosaic Law and justification by faith, and Gnosticism being attacked (for the name ‘gnosis,’ i.e . ‘knowledge,’ see   1 Timothy 6:20; cf.   Colossians 2:3 ,   1 Corinthians 8:1;   1 Corinthians 12:8 ), a heresy more Jewish in tone than even that which appears in Colossians (  Titus 1:14 ); because the ministry is said to be too fully developed for the lifetime of St. Paul; but especially because it is impossible to reconcile these Epistles with Acts. With the last statement almost all scholars entirely agree, though they do not assent to the deduction made from it. This is the really crucial argument, and may be treated first. It is assumed by most of the objectors to these Epistles, that they must be placed somewhere in the history related in Acts, because that book ‘concludes with the end of St. Paul’s ministry’; and, as it is impossible to make the journeys referred to in these Epistles fit in with Acts, it is said that the former cannot be genuine. To this it is answered that St. Paul may have been acquitted, and that the journeys mentioned may have taken place after the acquittal; but the objectors reply that the acquittal is unhistorical. The truth is that history (outside these Epistles) does not explicitly tell us whether St. Paul was acquitted or condemned after the two years’ imprisonment of   Acts 28:30; if the acquittal is unhistorical, so also is the condemnation. We may, then, take these Epistles, which have excellent external attestation, and therefore are a priori worthy of credit, as new evidence, and infer from them that St. Paul was released, made journeys to the scenes of his old labours, and was later re-arrested and imprisoned (  2 Timothy 1:8 ). Even if these Epistles are not St. Paul’s, they are evidence for an early belief that he was acquitted the first time; this is shown by the fact that the journeys described are quite independent of Acts (cf. also   2 Timothy 4:16 f.). Further, there was, quite apart from these Epistles, an early tradition that St. Paul went to Spain ( Muratorian Fragment , c. [Note: . circa, about.] a.d. 180), or to ‘the farthest bounds of the West’ (Clem. Rom. Cor . 5; this almost certainly means Spain: see Lightfoot’s note), according to his previous intention (  Romans 15:24;   Romans 15:28 ). This implies a belief in his acquittal whether or not the journey to Spain actually took place (see below, ii. 12). St. Paul himself fully expected to be acquitted (  Philippians 1:23 ff;   Philippians 2:24 ,   Philippians 1:22 ). Thus the difficulty that these Epistles cannot be reconciled with Acts entirely vanishes. [For the objection from the presentiment that St. Paul would not re-visit the Ephesians (  Acts 20:25 ) see art. Acts of the Apostles, § 9  ; but even if the early date of Acts be not accepted, it is quite possible that St. Paul never re-visited Ephesus. We should rather gather from 1 Tim., especially from 1:8, that he had an interview with Timothy elsewhere, probably at Miletus, as he was passing by on his way north; see Prof. Findlay in Hastings’ DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] iii. 714b.] The other considerations, as to diction and subject matter, have little weight when once we agree that the Epistles, if Pauline, must have been written several years after the others; and it is instructive that in these respects the Third Group makes a half-way house between the Second and the Fourth. We must, moreover, note that there are many indications of genuineness; 2 Timothy has all the marks of authenticity, being full of personal allusions which it would be almost impossible for a forger to invent. It is for this reason generally allowed that   2 Timothy 1:15-18;   2 Timothy 4:9-22 are really Pauline. But it is grossly improbable that real epistles were used only for patching forgeries and then thrown away. It is in personal notices that a forger usually goes wrong; if these are authentic, it is a great argument for the whole writing being authentic (for further details see Salmon, Introd . 6, pp. 397 413). But as all three Epistles hang together, the marks of genuineness in 2 Timothy are a strong argument for the genuineness of the whole group.

We may briefly sum up what has been said on the difference of subject-matter and style in the thirteen Epistles. At the birth of a Gentile Church the controversy with Judaizing Christians was that which was most likely to arise, as we see in the Second Group. Questions were then asked about the Person of Christ and about the Church as a whole, as we see in the Third Group. As the communities grew, their organization occupied much attention, as we see in the Fourth Group. The special interest of the moment colours the diction and style. Sanday-Headlam ( Romans , p. liv. ff.) suggest, further, that variations of style are largely due to the nervous temperament of the Apostle, now calm, now fervid; and in a considerable degree also to the employment of different amanuenses. St. Paul did not write his letters himself, but only added postscripts in his own hand. Probably he dictated his Epistles, and they were taken down in shorthand; a difference of scribe would thus mean an appreciable difference of style.

We shall, then, in what follows, without hesitation use the 13 Epistles as genuine. If what has been briefly argued above be not accepted, this article must be taken as describing, at least, the life and teaching of St. Paul as the early Christians believed that he lived and taught.

5. Acts of the Apostles. For the reasons stated in the article on that book, we may with confidence use Acts as a trustworthy authority for St. Paul’s life. But we may here ask what we are to think of St. Paul’s speeches in Acts, whether they are a true record of what he said, and whether we may use them to determine his teaching. It is not easy to suppose that they were taken down verbatim as they were spoken; and St. Luke himself was not present at all of them ( e.g .   Acts 13:16 ff;   Acts 14:15 ff;   Acts 17:22 f.). Yet the speeches agree very well with the circumstances in which they were delivered, and the diction and sentiments coincide largely with the Pauline Epistles. Lukan phrases have been found in some of them, which is natural enough; more so in the speech of   Acts 22:1-30 , which was spoken in Aramaic, and therefore is clearly not the Apostle’s ipsissima verba , than in the Athenian speech (  Acts 17:22 ff.) which has no Lukan element. The conclusion may be that the speeches were written down, soon after they were delivered, by a hearer sometimes the bearer was St. Luke himself and the notes then taken were afterwards used by the author of Acts.

ii. Sketch of St. Paul’s Life

1. Name. The future Apostle is first made known to us under the name Saul (  Acts 7:58 ). Being of the tribe of Benjamin (  Romans 11:1 ,   Philippians 3:5 ), a fact of which he was proud, he doubtless was named directly or indirectly after the king whom that tribe gave to Israel. But while Saul was his Jewish name, he must, as a Roman citizen, have had three Roman names. His praenomen and nomen we do not know, but his cognomen was Paul. After the interview with the proconsul Sergius Paulus in Cyprus (  Acts 13:6 ff.), the author of Acts uses no other name than this; from the outset of his mission to the Roman Empire it was fitting that he should be known by his Roman name. We must at once dismiss both the conjecture of Augustine that the Apostle on that occasion assumed the name Paul out of compliment to the proconsul, and also the suggestion that the name was personal to himself, denoting that he was small of stature. The existence of alternative names side by side, a Jewish and a Greek or Roman name, was quite a common thing among Jews of the 1st cent., e.g . John-Mark, Jesus-Justus. But here the case is different; we never read of Saul-Paul.

2. Birthplace and family. St. Paul was not only a native but also a citizen of Tarsus, possessed of full civil rights in that famous University town, the capital of Cilicia (  Acts 9:11;   Acts 21:39;   Acts 22:8 ). His family had perhaps been planted there by one of the Seleucid kings (Ramsay). They were probably Pharisees (  Acts 23:6; cf.   2 Timothy 1:3 ); and Aramaic-speaking (  Philippians 3:5 , though here the Apostle may be speaking of his teachers ). Several indications point to the fact that the family was of some importance, and was fairly rich. It is not against this view that the Apostle himself was poor, and that he worked for his livelihood as a tent-maker, as did many Cilicians (  Acts 18:3;   Acts 20:33 f.; cf.   1 Corinthians 9:15 ,   1 Thessalonians 2:9 ,   2 Thessalonians 3:8 ); for it is very probable that his family cast him off because of his conversion, and especially because of his attitude to the Gentiles; and moreover, it was the custom for all Jewish boys to be taught a trade. The prosperity of the family is seen from the fact that later St. Paul clearly had money at his command. Perhaps a reconciliation had been effected; his sister’s son saved his life (  Acts 23:16 ); and the whole story of the imprisonment in Palestine and Rome and of the voyage to Italy proves that he was a prisoner of distinction. This could come only from the possession of some wealth and from family influence.

3. Roman citizenship. Of this position St. Paul was justly proud. He was not a Roman citizen merely because he had the freedom of Tarsus, for Tarsus was not a Roman Colony; probably his father or grandfather had rendered some service to the State, and had been thus rewarded. In any case St. Paul was freeborn (  Acts 22:28 ). He had not, like so many under Claudius, bought the citizenship through the infamous favourites of the Court. He appealed to his privilege to prevent illegal treatment at Philippi and Jerusalem (  Acts 16:37;   Acts 22:25 ). And more than once in the Epistles he alludes to citizenship, transferring the term from the earthly to the heavenly sphere an allusion which would come home especially to the Philippians, who were so proud of their city being a Colony, and of their therefore being Roman citizens (  Acts 16:12;   Acts 16:21 ); see   Philippians 1:27 [RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ]   Acts 3:20 ,   Ephesians 2:19 , and St. Paul’s speech in   Acts 23:1 where the phrase ‘I have lived’ is literally ‘I have exercised my citizenship.’ It was no doubt this citizenship which gave St. Paul such an advantage as the Apostle of the Gentiles, and which inspired him with his great plan of utilizing the civilization of the Roman State to spread the gospel along its lines of communication (see artt. Acts of the Apostles, § 7 , and Galatians [Ep. to the] § 2 ). It is noteworthy that he seems to have laid much stress on evangelizing Roman Colonies like Corinth, Pisidian Antioch, Lystra, and Philippi.

4. Early life. St. Paul was educated, no doubt, partly at Tarsus (  Acts 26:4 ), where he would be influenced by Stoic teachers (see (§ iv.), but chiefly at Jerusalem under the Pharisee Gamaliel (  Acts 22:3;   Acts 26:4; cf.   Acts 5:34 ff.); he did not, however, see our Lord (cf.   1 Corinthians 9:1 with   1 Corinthians 15:8 ), though he would be there in Jesus’ lifetime on earth. Probably this period of education was over before our Lord’s ministry began. He was brought up a strict Pharisee (  Acts 23:6;   Acts 26:5 ,   Galatians 1:14 ,   Philippians 3:5 ), and long after his conversion he retained a certain pride in his Jewish hirth and a great affection for his own people (  Romans 4:1;   Romans 9:3;   Romans 10:1;   Romans 11:1 ,   2 Corinthians 11:22 ). Though born outside Palestine, he was brought up, not as a Greek-speaking Jew or Hellenist, but as a Hebrew; for this last term denotes a difference of language and manners (  Philippians 3:5; see Lightfoot’s note). Accordingly we find him speaking Aramaic fluently (  Acts 21:40;   Acts 22:2 ).

The result of this education, in spite of Gamaliel’s liberality of thought, was to make St. Paul a zealous and bigoted Jew, determined with all the ardour of youth to uphold the traditions of his fathers. We first meet with him as a young man ‘consenting unto’ Stephen’s death, holding the clothes of those who stoned the first martyr ( Acts 7:58;   Acts 8:1 ), and persecuting the Christians in Jerusalem (  Acts 26:10 ). Thereafter he secured authority from the high priest to go to Damascus in order to arrest all the disciples, and to bring them bound to Jerusalem (  Acts 9:1 f.). [In the following paragraphs the numbers in square brackets denote the dates a.d. as given by Ramsay. Lightfoot’s dates are mostly a year or two later; Harnack’s earlier. Turner’s (in Hastings’ DB [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] , art. ‘Chronology of NT’) nearly agree with Ramsay’s, except that he puts the Conversion at least two years later because of a difficulty about Aretas (see artt. Aretas, Chronology of NT), and the Martyrdom about two years earlier].

5. Conversion [33]. The journey to Damascus was the great turning-point of Saul’s life (  Acts 9:3 ff.), and is often referred to by him (  Acts 22:5 ff; Act 26:12 ff.,   1 Corinthians 9:1;   1 Corinthians 15:8 ,   Philippians 3:7 etc.). When approaching Damascus he saw a strong light, and Jesus appearing to him (so explicitly   1 Corinthians 9:1 ), saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?’ The voice was unintelligible to his companions (  Acts 22:9 ), though they saw the light ( ib .) and heard a sound (  Acts 9:7 ). Saul was blinded by the vision and led into Damascus, where he was instructed and baptized by one Ananias. Immediately he confesses Christ in the synagogues at Damascus (  Acts 9:20 ), and then retires into Arabia (perhaps the Sinaitic peninsula, see Lightfoot’s   Galatians 6:1-18 , p. 87 ff.), doubtless for spiritual preparation (  Galatians 1:17 ). He ever recognizes his conversion as being his call to Apostleship, which was neither of human origin nor received by human mediation, i.e . not through the Twelve (  Galatians 1:1;   Galatians 1:12;   Galatians 1:17; cf.   Romans 1:1; Rom 1:5 ,   1 Corinthians 1:1; 1Co 4:1;   1 Corinthians 9:1 f.,   1 Corinthians 15:9 ). The Lord Himself designates his work as being among the Gentiles (  Acts 9:15; cf.   Acts 22:21;   Acts 26:17 ,   Romans 11:13;   Romans 15:16 ,   Galatians 2:7 ,   Ephesians 3:8 ,   1 Timothy 2:7 ,   2 Timothy 1:11 AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ). The question arises, therefore, What is the meaning of the laying on of hands by the prophets and teachers of Antioch (  Acts 13:1 ff.; Saul was one of them,   Acts 13:1 )? This has been regarded by some as an ordination by the Church, which thus put an outward seal on the inward call to Apostleship (Gore, Lightfoot); by others, as an appointment, not to the Apostleship, but to the definite work which lay immediately before Barnabas and Paul (Ramsay). Returning from Arabia, Saul comes to Damascus (  Galatians 1:17 ) while the deputy (ethnarch) of the Nabatæan king Aretas holds the city (  2 Corinthians 11:32 f.), and is persecuted there, but escapes by night, being let down in a basket through the city wall (  Acts 9:23 ff.). He makes his first visit to Jerusalem [35] three years after his conversion for this is the probable meaning of   Galatians 1:18 and is presented by Barnabas to Peter and James ( ib . and   Acts 9:27 ). Here he is told, in a vision in the Temple, to escape because of the opposition of the Jews (  Acts 22:17 ff.) [unless the vision belongs to the Second visit, as Ramsay maintains, St. Paul the Traveller 6, p. 61 f.], and goes to Tarsus (  Acts 9:30 ), preaching in the united province Syria-Cilicia, in which Tarsus was situated (  Galatians 1:21 f.). After several years, no doubt of preparation on Saul’s part, Barnabas goes to Tarsus to bring him to the Syrian Antioch [43], where the disciples were first called Christians, and they spend a year there (  Acts 11:26 ). The Gentiles had already been addressed at Antioch by Cypriots and Cyrenians after the persecution which arose on Stephen’s death (  Acts 11:19 ff.). Henceforward this became a great missionary centre. From Antioch Paul made with Barnabas the second visit to Jerusalem , taking alms for those suffering from the famine (  Acts 11:30 ); and if this is the visit of   Galatians 2:1 (see art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 3 ), it originated in a Divine revelation, and Titus, a Gentile, accompanied them [45 or 46]. They returned thence to Antioch (  Acts 12:25 ), taking Mark with them [46 or 47].

6. First Missionary Journey ,   Acts 13:4 to   Acts 14:26 [47 to 49]. Sent forth from Antioch, Paul and Barnabas with Mark sail to Cyprus and preach there; at Salamis, the capital, on the west side of the island, they for the first time address a Roman governor. Henceforward Saul is always in NT called by his Roman name. Opposed by the ‘magician’ Elymas (or Etoimas), Paul rebuked him, and predicted his blindness; the magus was immediately deprived of sight, and the proconsul ‘believed.’ This can hardly mean that he actually became a Christian; but, having been under the influence of Elymas, his eyes are now opened, and he listens to the gospel message favourably. From Cyprus they sail to the mainland of Pamphylia, and reach Perga, where Mark leaves them and returns to Jerusalem. The reason of this defection is not obvious, but it may be that St. Paul now made a plan for the further extension of Christianity among the Gentiles of the interior of Asia Minor, which Mark, whose view had not yet been sufficiently enlarged, disapproved. It is not unlikely that St. Paul was struck down with malaria in the low-lying littoral of Pamphylia, and that this favoured the idea of a journey to the mountainous interior, where he would recover his health. Ramsay takes malaria to be the thorn or stake in the flesh (  2 Corinthians 12:7 ), and this would agree with the statement that St. Paul first visited Galatia owing to an infirmity of the flesh (  Galatians 4:13 ). On the S. Galatian theory (here assumed; see the discussion in art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 2 ) the Church in Galatia was now founded; the journey Included visits to the South Galatian cities of Pisidian Antioch (a Roman Colony), Iconium (where the Apostles were stoned, and whence they fled into the Lycaonian district of Galatia), Lystra (also a Roman Colony, where they were taken for gods, and where the people spoke Lycaonian), and Derbe. Thence they returned, reversing their route, confirming souls and ordaining presbyters. Persecutions in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra are mentioned in   2 Timothy 3:11 . From the port of Attalia they sailed to Antioch, and spent a long time there. In these journeys it was the custom of St. Paul to preach to the Jews first (  Acts 17:2 etc.), and when they would not hear, to turn to the Gentiles. At this time perhaps occurred the incident of St. Peter at Antioch (  Galatians 2:11 ff.). He at first ate with the Gentiles, but, persuaded by Judaizers who professed to come ‘from James,’ he drew back; and even Barnabas was influenced by them. But Paul ‘resisted’ Peter ‘to the face,’ and his expostulation clearly was successful, as we see from the conduct of the latter at the Council (  Acts 15:7 ff.).

7. The Apostolic Council ,   Acts 15:1-29 [49 or 50]. As soon as Gentiles were admitted into the Church, the question whether they must obey the Mosaic law became urgent. Judaizers having come to Antioch preaching the necessity of circumcision, Paul and Barnabas with others were sent to Jerusalem to confer with the Apostles and elders. This is the third visit to Jerusalem . The Council decided that the Gentiles need not be subject to the Law, but enjoined them to abstain from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from fornication, by which marriage within the prohibited degrees is perhaps intended. Paul and Barnabas, with Judas and Silas, were sent to Antioch with the decrees, and the two latter probably then returned to Jerusalem, though there is some doubt about the movements of Silas.

8. Second Missionary Journey.   Acts 15:36 to   Acts 18:22 [50 to 53]. Paul and Barnabas had a dissension, the former refusing and the latter wishing to take Mark with them; they therefore separated, and Paul took Silas (sent for from Jerusalem?). These two went through Syria and Cilicia and (by the Cilician gates) to Derbe and Lystra and delivered the Council’s decrees. At Lystra they find Timothy, son of a Greek father and of a Jewish mother named Eunice. He had been carefully brought up by his mother and by his grandmother Lois (  2 Timothy 1:5;   2 Timothy 3:15 ). St. Paul, wishing to take him with him, first, for fear of giving offence to the Judaizers (as he was half a Jew), caused him to be circumcised. They then go through the ‘Phrygo-Galatic region’ of the province Galatia (see art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 2 ), not being allowed by God to evangelize the province Asia ( i.e . the western sea-board of Asia Minor) or to enter Bithynia (the northern sea-board), and come to Troas, where they meet St. Luke. [On the N. Galatian theory they made a very long detour before entering the province Asia, to Galatia proper, founding Churches there and returning almost to the point in the journey which they had left.] At Troas, St. Paul sees in a dream ‘a certain Macedonian,’ saying ‘Come over into Macedonia and help us’ (  Acts 16:9; see art. Acts of the Apostles, § 3 ). This induces him to sail over to that province, and they come to Philippi, a Roman colony, where they lodge with one Lydia of Thyatira, a seller of purple. St. Paul casts out a ‘spirit of divination’ (ventriloquism?) from ‘a certain maid,’ and, owing to the opposition of the girl’s masters, he and Silas are cast into prison. An earthquake looses their bonds and the jailor is converted. In the morning the magistrates send to release them, and then Paul and Silas assert their Roman citizenship. Leaving Luke behind at Philippi, they pass on to Thessalonica; and this mission seems to be the limit of which the Apostle speaks when he says to the Romans (  Romans 15:10 ) that he had preached from Jerusalem even unto Illyricum [= Dalmatia], the Illyrian frontier being not far off. At Thessalonica they spent a long time ( 1Th 1:9;   1 Thessalonians 2:1;   1 Thessalonians 2:9 ff.), and had much success; many of the ‘chief women’ were converted. Paul worked for his livelihood (  2 Thessalonians 3:8 ), but gifts were twice sent to him here from Philippi (  Philippians 4:15 f.; cf.   2 Corinthians 8:1 f.,   2 Corinthians 11:9 ). The missionary zeal of the Thessalonians is commended in   1 Thessalonians 1:8 . The opposition again came from the Jews (cf.   2 Corinthians 11:24 ), who accused St. Paul’s host, Jason, of disloyalty to Rome; ball was taken from Jason, and the Apostle was thus injured through his friend. This seems to have been the ‘hindrance of Satan’ which prevented his return ( 1Th 2:14;   1 Thessalonians 2:18 ,   2 Thessalonians 1:4 ). They then went to BerÅ“a, where they met with much success; but the Thessalonian Jews stirring up trouble there, Paul went on to Athens, leaving Siias and Timothy behind, probably to bring news as to the possibility of returning to Macedonia. At Athens the Apostie spent much time, and addressed the Court of the Areopagus in a philosophic style; but not many, save Dionysius the Areopagite and Damaris, were converted. Timothy returned to Athens and was sent back again to Thessalonica; and Silas and Timothy later joined St. Paul at Corinth (  1 Thessalonians 3:1 f.,   1 Thessalonians 3:6 ,   Acts 18:5 ). From Corinth were sent 1 Thessalonians , and, a little later, 2 Thessalonians . At Corinth St. Paul changed his method, and preached the Cross, simply, without regard to philosophy (  1 Corinthians 1:23;   1 Corinthians 2:2-6 ,   2 Corinthians 4:5 ); here he had great success, chiefly in the lower social ranks (  1 Corinthians 1:26 ). Here also he met Aquila and Priscilla, who had been expelled from Rome; and they all worked as tentmakers. The Jews being deaf to his persuasions, Paul left the synagogue and went to the house of Titus Justus close by; Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, was converted with all his house, as well as others, among whom was perhaps Sosthenes (Crispus’ successor in the synagogue?   Acts 18:17 ,   1 Corinthians 1:1 ). Encouraged by a vision, St. Paul spent eighteen months in Corinth; the Jews opposed him, and brought him before the proconsul Gallio, who, however, dismissed the case. Here we read of the Apostle taking a vow, after the manner of his countrymen, and shaving his head in Cenchreæ. He then sailed with Priscilia and Aquila, and, leaving them at Ephesus, landed at Cæsarea, whence he made his fourth visit to Jerusalem [53], and so passed to the Syrian Antioch. It is probable that from Ephesus Timothy was sent to his home at Lystra, and that he met St. Paul again at Antioch, bringing news that the Galatians were under the influence of Judaizers, who taught that circumcision was, if not essential to salvation, at least essential to perfection[see art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 4 ]. St. Paul in haste wrote Galatians to expostulate, sending Timothy back with it, and intending himself to follow shortly. [On the N. Galatian theory, this Epistle was written later, from Ephesus or from Macedonia.]

9. Third Missionary Journey ,   Acts 18:23 to   Acts 21:16 [53 to 57]. St. Paul, after ‘some time’ at Antioch, went again, probably by the Cilician Gates, to the ‘Galatic Region’ and the ‘Phrygian Region’ (see art. Galatians [Ep. to the], § 2 ), and so came to Ephesus by the upper road, not passing along the valley of the Lycus (  Acts 19:1; see   Colossians 2:1 ). [On the N. Galatian theory another long digression to Galatia proper is here necessary.] At Ephesus he found twelve persons who had known only John’s baptism. St. Paul caused them to be ‘baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus,’ and when he ‘had laid his hands upon’ them, the Holy Ghost came on them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied.’ At Ephesus the Apostle spent 2 1 / 4 years and converted many who had practised magic. Hence he proposed to go to Macedonia, Greece, Jerusalem, Rome (  Acts 19:21 ,   Romans 1:10 ff.), and Spain (  Romans 15:24;   Romans 15:28 ); he sent Timothy to Macedonia, with Erastus as a companion so far (  Acts 19:22 ), and then on to Corinth (  1 Corinthians 4:17;   1 Corinthians 16:10 ), while he kept Sosthenes with him (1:1). After Timothy’s departure (4:17) he sent off 1 Corinthians , which he wrote after he had heard of divisions at Corinth (  1 Corinthians 1:10 ff.), of the success of Apollos (  1 Corinthians 1:12 ,   1 Corinthians 3:4 ff.,   1 Corinthians 16:12 ), who had gone there from Ephesus (  Acts 18:27 f.), of a case of incest and abuses in respect to litigation and to the Eucharist (  1 Corinthians 5:1-13;   1 Corinthians 6:1-20;   1 Corinthians 11:1-34 ). This letter was in answer to one from Corinth asking for directions on marriage, etc. The Apostle announces his intention of going to Corinth himself by way of Macedonia after Pentecost (  Acts 16:5 ff.). and Lightfoot thinks that he did pay this visit to Corinth from Ephesus (cf.   2 Corinthians 13:1 ‘the third time’), but Ramsay puts the visit somewhat later. In   2 Corinthians 1:16;   2 Corinthians 1:23 St. Paul says that he had Intended to go by way of Corinth to Macedonia, and back to Corinth again, and so to Judæa, but that he had changed his plan. At Ephesus there were many persecutions (  2 Corinthians 1:8; cf. 1Co 4:8;   1 Corinthians 6:4 f.), and Onesiphorus was very useful to him there (  2 Timothy 1:16 ff.). The stay at Ephesus was suddenly brought to an end by a riot instigated by Demetrius, a maker of silver shrines of Artemis. St. Paul went to Macedonia by Troas, where he had expected to meet Titus coming from Corinth, though he was disappointed in this. At Troas he preached with success; ‘a door was opened’ (  2 Corinthians 2:12 ). From Macedonia he wrote 2 Corinthians urging the forgiveness of the incestuous Corinthian. [Some modification of the above is required if this Epistle, as many think, is an amalgamation of two or more separate ones. Some think that the person referred to in 2 Cor. is not the offender of   1 Corinthians 5:1-13 at all.] Titus joined St. Paul in Macedonia, and gave a good account of Corinth (  2 Corinthians 7:8 ff.), but troubles arose in Macedonia itself (  2 Corinthians 7:6 ). Titus was sent back to Corinth with two others ( 2Co 8:6;   2 Corinthians 8:17 f.,   2 Corinthians 8:22 ), taking the letter and announcing St. Paul’s own coming (  2 Corinthians 13:1 ). All this time the Apostle was developing his great scheme of a collection for the poor Christians of Judæa, which was responded to so liberally in Galatia, Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia (  1 Corinthians 16:1 f.,   2 Corinthians 8:1-7;   2 Corinthians 9:2 ,   Romans 15:25 ), and which prompted that journey to Jerusalem which is the last recorded in Acts (  Acts 24:17 ). He claimed the right to live of the gospel himself (  1 Corinthians 9:6 ff.); yet he would not usually do so, but instead asked offerings for the ‘poor saints.’ From Macedonia he went to’ Greece’ (  Acts 20:2 ), i.e . to Corinth, for three months, and here wrote Romans [57], which he sent by PhÅ“be, a deaconess at Cenchreæ, the port of Corinth (  Romans 16:1 ). At Corinth he heard of a plot against his life; he had intended to sail direct to Syria, and the plot seems to have been to murder him on the ship; he therefore took the land journey by way of Macedonia, but sent on several friends to join him at Troas: Sopater of BerÅ“a, Aristarchus and Secundus (both of Thessalonica), Timothy, Tychicus and Trophimus (both probably of Ephesus), and Gaius of Derbe, who was perhaps his host at Corinth (  Romans 16:23 ,   1 Corinthians 1:14; if so he must have come to Corinth to stay. The Macedonian Gaius of   Acts 19:29 was probably a different man). St. Paul spent the Passover at Philippi, and then, with Luke (  Acts 20:5 f.). set sail for Troas. Here, at an all-night service which ends with the Eucharist, occurs the incident of the young man Eutychus, who being asleep falls down from the third storey and is taken up dead; but the Apostle restores him alive to his friends. From Troas the party sail along the west coast of Asia Minor, calling at Miletus. Here St. Paul has a visit from the presbyters of Ephesus, for whom he had sent, and hids them farewell, saying that they would see his face no more (see above i. 4 ( d )). At Cæsarea (in Palestine) they land, and stay with Philip the evangelist; and here Agabus, taking Paul’s girdle and binding his own feet and hands, prophesies that the Jews will do the same to the owner of the girdle, and will deliver him to the Gentiles.

10. Fifth visit to Jerusalem ,   Acts 21:17 to   Acts 23:30 [57]. St. Paul is received at an apparently formal council by James, the Jerusalem presbyters being present; and he tells them of the success of his ministry to the Gentiles. They advise him to conciliate the Christians of Jerusalem, who thought that he persuaded Jews not to keep the Law, and to undertake the Temple charges for four men who were under a vow, and to ‘purify’ himself with them. This he does, showing, as in many other instances, that he is still a Jew (  Acts 18:18;   Acts 20:6;   Acts 20:16;   Acts 27:9 ). But his presence in the Temple is the occasion of a riot, the Jews believing that he had brought within the precincts Trophimus, the Gentile of Ephesus, whom they had seen with him in the city. He is saved only by the intervention of the Roman soldiers, who take him to the ‘Castle.’ He is allowed to address the people, on the way, in Aramaic; but when he speaks of his mission to the Gentiles, they are greatly incensed and the chief captain (chiliarch), Claudius Lysias, has him brought into the Castle and orders him to be examined by scourging; but Paul asserts his Roman citizenship. Next day he is brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin, of whom some were Pharisees, some Sadducees, and when he affirms his belief in ‘the hope and resurrection of the dead,’ the former favour him. In the night he is encouraged by a vision of the Lord telling him that he must bear witness in Rome (  Acts 23:11 ). A plot of the Jews against him, revealed by his nephew, is the cause of his being sent down guarded to Cæsarea to the governor Felix. The Jews go down there to accuse him, and Felix and his wife Drusilla, a Jewess, hear him often; but he is left a prisoner for two years, and Felix, when he is recalled, does not release him, hoping to please the Jews. He had expected a bribe from Paul (24:26). Festus, his successor, is asked by the Jews to send Paul to Jerusalem, there being a secret plot to kill him on the road; but Paul appeals to Cæsar. While he is at Cæsarea, Agrippa and Bernice come down to visit Festus, and Paul narrates to them his conversion (  Acts 25:13 to   Acts 26:32 ).

11. Roman imprisonment . From Cæsarea the Apostle is sent, with the two companions allowed to accompany him (Luke and Aristarchus), on a voyage to Italy [59], under the charge of Julius, centurion of the Augustan Band or Cohort. They sail first, after touching at Zidon, under the lee (to the east) of Cyprus, the usual winds in the Levant in summer being westerly, and coast along Asia Minor. St. Paul is treated kindly and as a prisoner of distinction, and his advice is often asked. At Myra they tranship and embark in what is apparently a Government vessel taking corn from Egypt to Italy. Sailing south of Crete they reach Fair Havens, and spend at least some few days there; then, though the season of the year is late, they set sail again, hoping to reach Italy safely. But being caught in a storm, they drift for many days, and finally are shipwrecked on the coast of Malta, where the people receive them kindly. St. Paul heals the father of the ‘first man,’ Publius, of fever and dysentery. Next spring [60] they sail for Italy by way of Sicily, and land at Puteoli, whence they reach Rome by land. Here Paul is allowed to live in a hired house, guarded by a soldier, and he remains there ‘two whole years,’ doing evangelistic work [60, 61]. From Rome, while a prisoner (  Philippians 1:7;   Philippians 1:13 ,   Colossians 4:3;   Colossians 4:18 ,   Ephesians 3:1;   Ephesians 4:1;   Ephesians 6:20 ,   Philippians 1:1 ), he wrote Ephssians , probably a circular letter to the Churches of Asia (the ‘Epistle from Laodicea’ of   Colossians 4:16 ). At the same time he seems to have sent Colossians and Philemon by Tychicus and Onesimus. The Colossians had not seen Paul (  Colossians 2:1 ), but, having heard of errors at Colossæ, he writes to exhort them and Archippus (  Colossians 4:17; cf.   Philippians 1:2 ), who seems to have been their chief minister. The short letter to Philemon is a touching appeal from’ Paul the aged’ (v. 9) to a master to receive back a fugitive slave Onesimus; the master formerly, and now the slave, owed their Christianity to St. Paul. At this time the Apostle has with him Epaphras of Colossæ (who had come to Rome and was a ‘fellow prisoner’ with Paul,   Philippians 1:23 ), Aristarchus, Mark, Jesus, Justus, Luke, and Demas. About the same date Philippians was written, and sent by Epaphroditus of Philippi (  Philippians 2:25 ff.), who had been sick nigh to death, but had recovered; he had been sent by the Philippians with alms to Rome (  Philippians 4:10;   Philippians 4:18 ). St. Paul exhorts his ‘true yokefellow’ (whom Lightfoot takes to be Epaphroditus, but who is more probably the chief minister of the Philippian Church) to appease a quarrel between two Church workers, Euodia and Syntychs (  Philippians 4:2 f.); the ‘Clement’ there mentioned seems to have been a Philippian convert. St. Paul hopes soon to send Timothy to Philippi (  Philippians 2:19 ), and to be free to come soon to them himself (  Philippians 2:24; cf.   Philippians 1:22 ).

12. Later life [end of 61 to 67]. This we can in part construct from the Pastoral Epistles; those who reject them will take their own view of the account which follows. We may first ask whether St. Paul went to Spain. As we have seen, he meant to do so (  Romans 15:24;   Romans 15:28 ), and early tradition affirmed that he did go (above, 1.4 ( d )). This tradition, however, may have been based only on his recorded intention; and it is a difficulty that no trace is left of a Spanish visit, and that no Church in Spain claims to have been founded by him. Journeys to the East are better attested; he certainly intended to go from Rome eastwards (  Philippians 2:24 ). We read that he went to Corinth and left Erastus there (  2 Timothy 4:20 ); that he sailed along the west coast of Asia Minor, leaving Trophimus sick at Miletus ( ib .), and Timothy at Ephesus to rule the Church there for a time (  1 Timothy 1:3 etc.); that he called at Troas and left some things there (  2 Timothy 4:13 ); and that he went to Macedonia (  1 Timothy 1:3 ). But these events need not have happened on the same journey. At Ephesus we read of various heretics of Hymenæus and Alexander whom Paul ‘delivered unto Satan’ (  1 Timothy 1:20 ) Alexande

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [2]

Life . Paul's exact date of birth is unknown. It is reasonable to surmise that he was born within a decade of Jesus' birth. He died, probably as a martyr in Rome, in the mid- to late a.d. 60s.

Paul's birthplace was not the land Christ walked but the Hellenistic city of Tarsus, chief city of the Roman province of Cilicia. Tarsus, modern-day Tersous in southeastern Turkey, has never been systematically excavated to first-century levels, so extensive archaeological data are lacking. Literary sources confirm that Paul's native city was a hotbed of Roman imperial activity and Hellenistic culture. Yet his writings show no conscious imitation, and scarcely any significant influence, of the pagan leading lights of the era. Instead, as Paul himself suggests, he was a Jew in terms of his circumcision, Benjaminite lineage, Hebrew ancestry, and Pharisaic training ( Philippians 3:5 ).

Paul, in the New Testament known by his Hebrew name Saul until  Acts 13:9 , was apparently educated from boyhood in Jerusalem, not Tarsus ( Acts 22:3 ). It is not clear whether his family moved to Jerusalem (where both Greek and Jewish schooling was offered) while he was young, or whether Paul was simply sent there for his education. He studied under the ranking rabbi of the era, Gamaliel. His exegesis of the Old Testament bears testimony to his rabbinic training. Paul was at least trilingual. His letters attest to an excellent command of Greek, while life and studies in Palestine presuppose knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic. Facility in Latin cannot be ruled out. His writings show intimate knowledge of the Greek Old Testament, though there is no reason to suppose that he was ignorant of or unskilled in Hebrew.

Some (e.g., William Ramsey, Adolf Schlatter) insist that Paul had personal knowledge of Jesus during his earthly ministry. Hengel goes so far as to assert that it is almost probable that the young Saul even witnessed Jesus' death. In any case, only a couple of years after Jesus' crucifixion (ca. a.d. 30), Paul's hostile attitude toward the latest and most virulent messianic movement of the time underwent radical change. As he traveled the 150 miles from Jerusalem to Damascus armed with legal authority to hunt down Jewish Christians ( Acts 9:1-2 ), bright light and a heavenly voice stopped him dead in his tracks. It was Jesus—to Paul's chagrin not a dead troublemaker but the risen Lord. Paul's conversion was never the focal point of his preachinghe preached Christ, not his personal experience ( 2 Corinthians 4:5 )but it does not fail to influence him in later years ( Acts 22:2-12;  26:2-18 ).

We can only sketch the rough outlines of Paul's life from his conversion to his first missionary journey in the late a.d. 40s. He spent various lengths of time in Arabia, Damascus, and Jerusalem, eventually spending a lengthier stint far to the north in Syria and his native Cilicia ( Galatians 1:15-21 ). From there Barnabas enlisted his services for teaching duties in the church at Syrian Antioch ( Acts 11:25 ). Ironically, this multiracial church had been founded by Christians driven out of Palestine by persecutions instigated by Saul of Tarsus ( Acts 11:19-21 ). It is from this period that our sources permit us to speak in some detail about the biblical theology of the apostle Paul.

Missionary Journeys . Paul's writings all arise from the crucible of missionary activity and the theological effort required to educate and sustain those who found Christ through his preaching. Galatians was probably written following Paul and Barnabas's tour of the Roman province of Asia around a.d. 47-49. This is the so-called first missionary journey ( Acts 13-14 ). A second foray, this time with Silas and Timothy, lasted almost three years (ca. a.d. 50-53) and resulted in churches founded in Philippi, Berea, Thessalonica, and Corinth. The Thessalonian letters were written during this period.

Paul's third missionary journey ( Acts 18-21 ) lasted from about a.d. 53 to 57 and centered on a long stay in Ephesus, from where he wrote 1Corinthians. During a sweep through Macedonia he wrote 2Corinthians. At the end of this time, awaiting departure for Jerusalem, he wrote Romans from Corinth (ca. a.d. 57).

Paul's arrival in Jerusalem was followed quickly by arrest and a two-year imprisonment in Caesarea Maritima. Thereafter he was shipped to Rome on appeal to the imperial court of Nero. There (see  Acts 28 ) he apparently wrote his so-called prison letters: Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. From this point reconstructions of Paul's movements are tentative. Assuming release from imprisonment Paul may have managed a fourth journey, perhaps as far west as Spain and then back into the Aegean area. One or more of the Pastoral Epistles may date from this period. Second Timothy concludes with Paul once more in chains. Reports of uncertain reliability place Paul's death at about a.d. 67 under the deranged oversight of Nero.

Sources . The exact shape of Paul's theology depends to a considerable degree on which writings are used to reconstruct his thought. Since the Enlightenment most critics have agreed that Romans, 1,2Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1Thessalonians, and Philemon are definitely from Paul's hand. Some deny Paul's authorship of Ephesians, Colossians, and 2Thessalonians, but others demur, and there is ample scholarly justification for drawing on them in outlining Paul's theology. Most modern critics deny that Paul wrote the so-called Pastoral Epistles (1,2Timothy, Titus). Yet scholars like D. Guthrie and E. Ellis urge that Pauline authorship is entirely feasiblethe documents do state that Paul wrote them. Even M. Prior's recent study critical of Pauline authorship argues that the basis on which the Pastorals are excluded from the Pauline corpus is not secure. S. Fowl finds a significant line of continuity among Philippians, Colossians, and 1Timothy. It is not irresponsible to draw from the entire thirteen-letter New Testament collection in summarizing Paul's theology.

An equally pressing question is whether data from Acts can be merged with material in Paul's letters. This complex issue hinges on Acts' historicity. Those who see Acts as probably well-meaning, perhaps literarily skillful, but ultimately fanciful storytelling will naturally reject it as a source for reliable information about Paul and his message. A sizeable and growing body of research, however, spearheaded by the late W. Ramsey, F. F. Bruce, and C. Hemer and continued by I. H. Marshall, M. Hengel, B. Winter, and others is more optimistic that Luke was as careful about his reports as he claimed to be (see  Luke 1:1-4 ). Paul's own writings remain the primary source for his theology, but mounting evidence suggests that Acts is a reliable guide for the historical framework of Paul's life and travels. It is also a dependable third-person (and sometimes first-person) account of the kinds of things Paul was wont to urge on his listeners in the various situations he faced.

Paul and Jesus . Since the Enlightenment the claim recurs that Jesus taught a simple ethical spirituality, or called for political or social revolution; then Paul came along and transmuted the gentle or revolutionary Jesus into an idealized divine man. Classic creedal Christianity, in this view, was never Jesus' intention but purely the brainchild of Paul.

Clearly there are differences between Jesus' proclamation of the kingdom of God and Paul's proclamation of the risen Jesus. But the differences are incidental to the overarching truth that God was manifesting himself definitively, in the threat of judgment and the offer of free pardon, in the ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus announced, explained in advance, and finally carried out the atoning ministry God laid on him; Paul acknowledged Jesus' saving death and resurrection, became his follower, and spread the word of his glory across the Roman world. Paul and Jesus are not identical in either their words or their work; but they are wonderfully complementary. Paul's theology is Christ's own authorized extension of the gospel of salvation for Jew and Gentile alike ( Acts 9:15 ).

Paul's Theology . God . The New Testament uses the word "God" over 1,300 times. Over 500 of these occurrences are in Paul's writings. At the center of Paul's theology is God. Several doxological statements capture Paul's majestic vision. God's wisdom and knowledge transcend human ken; he is infinitely wise and all-knowing; all things are "from him and through him and to him" ( Romans 11:36 ). "To him be the glory forever" ( Romans 16:27;  Galatians 1:5;  Ephesians 3:21;  Philippians 4:20;  1 Timothy 1:17;  2 Timothy 4:18 ) might well be the best summary of Paul's theology yet suggested.

"By the command of the eternal God" the gospel of Jesus Christ is made known "so that all nations might believe and obey him" ( Romans 16:26 ). God comforts the afflicted and raises the dead ( 2 Corinthians 1:3,9 ). He is faithful ( 2 Corinthians 1:18 ); his "solid foundation stands firm" ( 2 Timothy 2:19 ). He grants believers his own Spirit as a downpayment of greater glory in the coming age ( 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 ). The "living God who made heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them" ( Acts 14:15 ) is, quite simply, "the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God" ( 1 Timothy 1:17 ). Or again, he is "the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of Lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see" ( 1 Timothy 6:15-16 ). No wonder Paul, like his master Jesus before him, lays such great stresses on hearing, obeying, and proclaiming the Lord God.

Against polytheism Paul insisted that God is one. Against stoicism Paul preached a God that was personal and accessible rather than impersonal and inscrutable. Against most pagan religions Paul presented a God concerned with social morality and personal ethics; God is not a cipher for a spirit experienced through rites of worship, ascetic denial, or mystical sensuality. Both Paul's example and his teaching affirm that God is to be feared, love, and served.

Evil and the Human Dilemma . Paul was not a pure dualist, positing one all-embracing eternal reality that was part good and part evil. God, all of whose ways are perfect, is solely sovereign over all. All reality will one day reflect his perfect justice and glory, even if the human eye cannot yet see or the human mind imagine this. Paul was rather a modified, or hierarchical, dualist. There is God, perfectly just ( Romans 3:5-6 ). And under his ultimate sway there is evil, somehow orchestrated by Satan (10 times in Paul) or the devil (5 times). Paul does not speculate on evil's origin. But his belief in a personal, powerful, malevolent being (and subservient underlings, human and angelic:  2 Corinthians 11:12-15;  Ephesians 6:11-12 ) is an important feature of his outlook. It is also one that links him readily to Jesus, whose dramatic encounters with Satan form a major motif in the Gospels.

Evil is real and influential ( Ephesians 2:2 ) but fleeting. In the end it will not triumph. "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet" ( Romans 16:20 ). But until that day, sinners (every single person: see  Romans 3:23 ) languish in "the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will" ( 2 Timothy 2:26 ). They need someone to save them. The reality of evil, as intrinsic to Paul's theology as the reality of God, sets up the need for the deliverance Paul preaches. This need is delineated most emphatically in his teaching about the law.

Paul and the Law . Paul believes that the Old Testament, as expressive of the God of all, is binding on all. A central tenet of the Old Testament is the radical lostness of humankind. "There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God" ( Romans 3:10-11 ,; quoting  Psalm 14:1-3 ). The litany continues for many verses. Paul, like Jesus, takes the Old Testament as authoritative and avows that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" ( Romans 3:23 ). The law stops every self-justifying mouth and underscores humankind's universal bondage to a pattern of rebellion against God, estrangement from God, and, worst of all, legalism (the view that salvation is attained by the merit of one's good works) in the name of God. It points to the radical need of all for pardon and liberation lest they face eternal perdition for their willful error ( 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10 ). It thereby points to Christ ( Romans 3:21;  Galatians 3:24 ).

Both Romans and Galatians warn against the snare of self-salvation by law keeping. "We maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law" ( Romans 3:28 ). The Galatian letter was occasioned by a move within a number of churches to establish circumcision and other traditional Jewish observances as necessaryand sufficientfor salvation. In response Paul speaks disparagingly of the "law, " by which he often means his opponents' legalistic misrepresentation of the Old Testament in the light of then-current oral tradition. "A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ" ( Galatians 2:16 ). Such criticism of legalism is not a Pauline innovation; it was already a prominent feature of the Old Testament itself ( 1 Samuel 15:22;  Psalm 40:6-8;  51:16-17;  Isaiah 1:11-15;  Micah 6:6-8 ) and figures prominently in Jesus' teaching ( Matthew 23;  Mark 7:1-13;  Luke 11:37-54 ).

Yet on other occasions, even in Romans and Galatians where faith's virtues are extolled, Paul speaks positively of the law ( Romans 3:31;  7:12,14;  Galatians 5:14;  6:2 ). His dozens of Old Testament quotations, many from the books of Moses, challenge the theory that Paul rejected out of hand the Mosaic Law for Christians. The mixed nature of Paul's assessments of the law result from the contrasting situations he addresses. If legalists threaten to replace the gospel of free grace with a message of salvation by works, Paul responds that the law, understood in that way, leads only to death and destruction. But if Spirit-filled followers of Christ seek the historical background of their faith or moral and theological instruction, then the Old Testament corpus, including the legal portions, may have a beneficial function.

In recent decades Paul's view of the law has been the most disputed aspect of his theology. Building on groundwork laid by W. Wrede and A. Schweitzer, E. P. Sanders rejects justification by faith as the center of Paul's theology. In order to call in question this basic Reformation (and many would say Pauline) emphasis, Sanders and others (H. Räisänen, L. Gaston, J. Gager) have mounted a radical reinterpretation of Paul's various statements about the law, the human dilemma, and the nature of salvation in Christ as understood in Augustinian or Reformation terms. Studies such as T. Schreiner's The Law and Its Fulfillment respond to the challenge of what J. Dunn has called the "new perspective" on Paul.

Children of Abraham, Children of God . Paul's preaching in  Acts 13:17 and his numerous references to Abraham in Romans and Galatians (9 references in each epistle see also   2 Corinthians 11:22 ) confirm that Paul did not see himself as founder of a new religion. (Stephen in  Acts 7:1-8; [cf. Peter in  Acts 3:25 ]; likewise traces the gospel message back to God's promise to Abraham is Paul Luke's source for what Stephen said on that occasion? Did Stephen have a hand in instructing Paul? ) The foundation of the gospel Paul preached was the covenant God made with Abraham (see  Genesis 12:1-3;  15:1-21 ). As Paul writes, "The Scripture announced the gospel in advance to Abraham So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith" ( Galatians 3:8-9 ).

This is not to deny the importance of other dimensions of the Old Testament, the bounties of Israel that are the taproot of the church ( Romans 11 ). These include "the very words of God" that God entrusted to Old Testament sages and seers ( Romans 3:2 ). They also include "the adoption as sons, the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises, " as well as "the patriarchs [Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob] and Christ" ( Romans 9:4-5 ).

Nor is it to deny that Jesus Christ, as the fulfillment of God's prior promises, transcends all that went before. It is, however, to underscore that Paul's gospel was, in his view, in continuity with God's saving work over past millennia. Paul's references to tekna theou ("children of God"   Romans 8:16,21;  9:8;  Philippians 2:15; cf.  Ephesians 5:1,8 ) or "children of promise" or "heirs" of salvation ( Romans 8:17;  9:8;  Galatians 3:28,31 ) hark back in every case to God's saving work in Old Testament times. In this sense Paul was not the originator of Christianity but merely its faithful witness and divinely guided interpreter ( 1 Corinthians 7:40 )granted, with the advantage of hindsight available after "the time had fully come" when "God sent his Son to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons" ( Galatians 4:4-5 ).

But the mention of hindsight raises the question of Paul's source of insight. How did he come into possession of the startling and controversial body of lore and counsel found in his epistles?

Revelation and Scripture . Paul saw himself claimed by the God of the ages, who had chosen himof all people, for he had persecuted Christ by persecuting the church ( Acts 9:4;  22:4;  26:11;  1 Corinthians 15:9;  Galatians 1:13,23;  Philippians 3:6 )to make plain secrets that were previously hidden ( Ephesians 3:4-9 ). The heart of this musterion [   Matthew 8:11-12;  28:19-20;  John 12:20-24;  Acts 1:8 ). But Paul bore the brunt of the responsibility of announcing the new wrinkle in the work God was bringing to pass. He was the primary founder of many assemblies of worship and mission that would take the word yet farther. God granted him special cognitive grace, an authoritative didactic vision, commensurate with his task (see Paul's references to "the grace given me" in  Romans 12:3;  15:5;  1 Corinthians 3:10;  Galatians 2:9;  Ephesians 3:7-8 ).

Yet it would be misleading to overemphasize the uniqueness of what was revealed to Paul. His views were seconded by other apostles ( Galatians 2:6-9 ). His teachings further and apply that which Jesus himself inaugurated and accomplished. Most of all, the revelation of which Paul speaks was corroborated by Scripture: his gospel and "the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past" is now "revealed and made known, " not only by Paul's divinely given wisdom, but "through the prophetic writings" of the Old Testament ( Romans 16:25-26;  1:2 ). Paul testified before Felix: "I believe everything that agrees with the Law and that is written in the Prophets" ( Acts 24:14 ). Old Testament writings and the revelation Paul receivedmuch of which became New Testament writingscombined to form an authoritative deposition, God's own sworn testimony as it were, grounding God's saving work in centuries past and confirming it in the days of Jesus. Those same writings, combined with others of earliest New Testament times, were destined to serve as a primary source and standard for all Christian theology in the centuries since Paul's earthly course was run.

Messiah . Old Testament writings promised a God-sent savior figure who would establish an everlasting kingdom, bringing eternal honor to the Lord by exalting God's people and punishing his enemies. By the first century messianic expectations were many and varied. Under the pressures of Roman rule in Palestine literally dozens of figures rose to lay claim to the role. It is hazardous to guess just what Saul the Pharisee believed about the messiah. But first-century writings, especially the New Testament, confirm that Jesus was rejected by the Jewish hierarchy as a messianic candidate. Clearly Saul shared this conviction.

It is therefore all the more striking that Paul later produced writings in which messianic honor is so ubiquitously ascribed to Jesus. By rough count of the Greek text, Paul uses the word "Christ" (an early Christian neologism, translating the Hebrew word masiah [מָשִׁיחַ]) close to four hundred times. He often uses the combination "Jesus Christ, " other times writes "Christ Jesus, " and most often uses the name "Christ" alone, as in the phrase "in Christ" (see below).

This frequency of use is probably best explained by analogy with Paul's even more frequent mention of "God." God, not a concept or idea but the living, divine person who creates and redeems, is the sole ordering factor over all of life. He is the basis and goal of all Paul does. But Paul was convinced that this same God had come to earth in human form, died for the forgiveness of human sin, and ascended to heaven to blaze a path for all that love him to follow. "Jesus" (over 200 occurrences in Paul's letters) was the human locus of God's incarnate self-revelation. "Christ, " "Christ Jesus, " and "Christ" are simply synonyms for the divine-human person in whom God brought his gracious saving will to pass.

A trio of texts encapsulates Paul's teaching on Christ's excellencies. First,  Philippians 2:6-11 underscores Christ's essential oneness with God, yet his willingness to humble himself by taking on human form and enduring the shameful cross. God shares his very "name" (biblical shorthand for "personal identity" or "self") with him; he is the king-designate before whom every knee will bow, "in heaven and on earth and under the earth" (vv. 9-10). Second,   Colossians 1:15-20 (cf.   Ephesians 1:20-23 ) expands on this soteriological vision to emphasize the cosmic dimensions of Christ Jesus' work. He was integral in creation and even now somehow upholds the created order (vv. 16-17). The fullness of the unseen God dwelt in him as he undertook his redemptive work (vv. 19-20). Third, in compressed confessional form Paul summarizes his teaching about Jesus Christ in  1 Timothy 6:16 . His sixfold affirmation mentions incarnation, vindication by the Holy Spirit, angelic attestation, proclamation among the nations, appropriation by believers in the world, and ascension to heavenly glory.

In theory Paul's high view of Jesus Christ (Paul knows no dichotomy between a "Christ of faith" and the "Jesus of history" in the modern sense, nor is "Christ" a spiritual being or symbol somehow discontinuous with Jesus of Nazareth) could be justified simply by virtue of his divine identity. Who would be so rash as to quibble with God ( Romans 9:20 )? Praise and honor befit whatever God deigns to do. But Paul's praise of Jesus Christ is not born of sheer necessity. It springs from the joyful awareness that God in Christ has regard for sinners in their lowly estate. God has expressed fierce, transforming love for his people through Christ's gracious work of redemption.

Redemption . Arguing from everyday experience Paul points out that only in a rare case would someone lay down his own life for the sake of another ( Romans 5:7 ). But God has shown the depth of his love for the lost in that Christ died on their behalf while they were yet in their woeful state ( Romans 5:8 ). Through Christ there is "redemption" from sin. "Redemption" refers to the paying of a price for the release of prisoners from captivity and occupies a central place in Paul's understanding of Christ's ministry. It has a rich Old Testament background in the liberation of God's people from Egyptian bondage.

Jesus spoke of redemption ( apolutrosis [   Luke 21:28 ). Paul uses the same word to describe the process by which sinners are justified (reckoned righteous in God's sight) through Jesus' death ( Romans 3:24-25; cf.  1 Corinthians 1:30 ). But redemption is not only a past event. It is a future hope, as believers eagerly await the redemption of their bodies ( Romans 8:23 ), their resurrection at the end of this age. Paul speaks of redemption most often in Ephesians, where he associates it with forgiveness of sins through Christ's death (1:7), the future heavenly inheritance of believers (1:14), and the coming day of vindication for Christ's followers.

The logic of redemption requires that a price, or "ransom" ( antilutron [   1 Timothy 2:6 ). In Paul's theology the cross is the means and central symbol of Christ's redeeming death.

The Cross . Paul can summarize the message he preaches as "the message of the cross" ( 1 Corinthians 1:18;  1:23;  2:2 ). In itself the cross, reserved by Roman overlords for the most despicable crimes and criminals, had no connotation but agony and shame. Jews in Jesus' day interpreted  Deuteronomy 21:23 ("anyone who is hung on a tree is under God's curse") to apply to crucified persons, and this helps explain why Jewish leaders pressed for a Roman death sentence for Jesus. This would mean crucifixion, and crucifixion would be proof that Jesus was not God's messianic deliverer.

The strategy succeededbut then backfired. Yes, Jesus was cursed by God. The Gospels imply this in recording Jesus' cry of dereliction, the prolonged midday darkness, and an earthquake at his death. But Paul points out that he became "a curse for us" so that "the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus" and so that "by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit" ( Galatians 3:13-14 ). Christianity's elevation of the cross is directly related to the fixation on it in Paul's writings.

Paul uses the noun "cross" ten times and the verb "crucify" eight times. In addition, his numerous references to Jesus' "death" and "blood" likewise cast a spotlight on the cross. Yet it is not only a symbol for the means by which God in Christ atoned for sins; it is also the means by which believers walk in the footsteps of the one who calls them. As the cross is the source of strength in Christ's ministry, it is the source of strength for Paul ( 2 Corinthians 13:4; cf.  Galatians 6:14 ). For all believers the cross serves as inspiration and effective agent in mortifying "the sinful nature" with "its passions and desires" ( Galatians 5:24 ). A key link between Jesus and Paul is their shared emphasis on death to sin and self as requisite for life to righteousness and God. For both, the cross functions as Moses' bronze serpenta most unlikely symbol mediating eternal life to all who gaze on it with trust.

The cross, however, does not stand alone in Paul's theology. His gospel is not a call to cruciform masochism. The Pauline cross stands firmly planted in the rich soil of the resurrection.

Resurrection . The Christian message stands or falls with the truth or falsity of the claim that following his death for sin Jesus Christ rose from the dead ( 1 Corinthians 15:14 ). Paul's preaching on the first missionary journey keyed on the resurrection ( Acts 13:34,37 ). Several years later at Athens Paul's stress was the same ( Acts 17:31 ): God "has given proof to all men" of coming judgment through Jesus Christ "by raising him from the dead" (cf.  Romans 1:4 ). While it is generally true to say that Paul's witness in Acts is Christ-centered, it can also be said to be resurrection-centered. Scarcely a major message or testimony passes without mention of Christ's resurrection or the assurance of future resurrected blessedness that Christ's resurrection guarantees those who trust him ( Acts 17:18,32;  23:6;  24:15,21;  26:23 ).

Paul refers to the resurrection over five dozen times in his letters. Only 2Thessalonians, Titus, and Philemon lack such mention. Like "cross" and "crucify, " "resurrection" and "raised" refer to both an event in Christ's life and a reality for believers. Cross and resurrection serve together to make the benefits of Christ's righteousness available: "He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification" ( Romans 4:25 ).

The resurrection is a key truth for daily Christian living. Jesus' resurrection from the dead means victory over sin (the ultimate cause of death,  Romans 5:12 ), and believers are urged to appropriate this victory in their own lives: "offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life" ( Romans 6:13 ). The logic of growing in Christ-likeness, or sanctification, is based on Jesus' resurrection: "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies" ( Romans 8:11 ).

Paul's final extant letter urges Timothy to "remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead" ( 2 Timothy 2:9 ). This core Christian claim, still disputed yet defended today, remains the fundamental hope of all true believers, for it defines the promise and power of the salvation that the gospel has granted them.

The Church . In Paul's theology it is not believers as autonomous, self-sufficient units to whom God directs his saving efforts. Yes, God views persons as individuals. But the horizon of his saving Acts extends to the entirety of the "all peoples on earth" cited in God's promise to Abraham ( Genesis 12:3; cf.  Ephesians 2:11-13 ). Christ died and rose to rescue a corporate body, the company of the redeemed, the elect, the people of God as a whole stretching from earliest Old Testament times to the present. In Paul's writings the term that denotes this entity is "church, " a word that occurs some sixty times and is found in every Pauline epistle except 2Timothy and Titus. Perhaps most distinctive to his usage is the claim that Christ's very purpose was to have created "one new man out of the two" of Jew and Gentile, "thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both to God through the cross" ( Ephesians 2:15-16 ). For this reason the church is not a side issue or subpoint for Paul but a first-level corollary of his Christology.

The trademark Pauline phrase "in Christ (Jesus)" requires mention in connection with his stress on the church. Paul uses the phrase (or "in the Lord") some 150 times. Contrary to older theories it does not denote a quasi-physical essence like air "in" which believers exist. While its uses are varied, M. Seifrid finds that more than one-third relate to God's saving work through Christ (e.g.,  Romans 3:24 ) and one-third to the manner in which Christians should behave ( Philippians 4:4 ) or the redeemed state they enjoy ( Romans 16:3 ). Perhaps most fundamentally, "in Christ" (virtually absent from non-Pauline New Testament writings) bespeaks believers' unity and interdependence. It refers to their organic relatedness to the heavenly Father, and to each other as his redeemed children because of what Christ has accomplished on their behalf.

The social reality denoted by "church" is often expressed using the metaphor of "body." Believers are responsible for living humbly and exercising their gifts for the sake of others in the body of Christ ( Romans 12:3-5; cf.  1 Corinthians 12-14 ). Their organic connection to Christ, their being "members of Christ himself" (  1 Corinthians 6:15 ), is the basis for many a Pauline imperativefor example that the Corinthians defy their social norms and practice marital fidelity (or celibacy) rather than engage in casual or ritual sex ( 1 Corinthians 6:12-20 ). Ephesians is especially notable for its preponderance of references to "church" ( nine times ) and "body" ( six times ) in the sense of God's people in Christ. Under God's all-encompassing purpose the church is the direct recipient of Christ's fullness ( Ephesians 1:22-23 ).  Ephesians 4 stresses the unity of the Triune God's work in Christ and the effects of this in the church, of which Christ is head (v. 15; 1:22;   Colossians 1:18;  2:10,19 ).  Ephesians 5:22-33 spells out the glories of Christ's love for the church, and the church's high calling of attending to its Lord, in a didactic discussion of Christian marriage.

In the individualistic climate of the West it is difficult to overstate the importance of the corporate solidarity of God's people in Christ. Paul's frequent use of "church, " "body" (along with other metaphors), and "in Christ" assure that careful readers will not facilely impose modern or postmodern theories of selfhood and politics on Paul's radically Christocentric affirmations.

Ethics . Paul's letters go beyond theological teaching and religious directives. Principles and precepts regulating practical behavior, both individual and social, permeate his writings. It would be reductionist error to reduce Paul's ethic to a solitary basis; he seems to make use of a multiplex rationale (quite apart from the imponderables of divine guidance). Drawing on Old Testament precedent he charges believers with ethical imperatives based on the theological indicative of God's character, as when he calls on them to be imitators of God ( Ephesians 5:1; cf.  Leviticus 11:44 :; "I am the Lord your God consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy" ). Their conduct should be regulated by God's presence in their midst ( 1 Corinthians 3:17 ) and his holy purpose in their election and calling ( Ephesians 1:4;  4:1; cf.  2 Timothy 1:9 ). Old Testament commands have a prominent place in Paul's ethic, but so does Christ's powerful example of humility and self-sacrifice ( Philippians 2:5-11 ). Put slightly differently, believers' lives should be regulated by what God has accomplished for them through Christ ( 1 Corinthians 5:7;  Ephesians 5:8 ). Love is the crowning virtue ( 1 Corinthians 13:13 ), in Paul's ethic as in Jesus' ( Mark 12:29-31 ). In the end, "the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love" ( Galatians 5:6; cf.  1 Timothy 1:5 ).

Pauline ethics is a subject too vast to be treated as a subpoint of his theology, but it is important to note that Paul's doctrine is not rightly comprehended when it does not translate into transformation of behavior at both personal and corporate levels. Paul's theology is important, but it does not stand alone. The epistle to Titus commends good works to God's people repeatedly (2:7,14; 3:1,8, 14) and excoriates pseudo-Christians who confess God but live ethically indifferent lives (1:16).

Last Things . Paul's eschatology is if anything even more vast and complex a subject than his ethics. The two areas are in fact related. Jesus' preaching of God's at-hand kingdom, vindicated by his resurrection from the dead, means that the end of the age has already dawned ( Romans 13:12 ). As they live out their daily lives on earth, believers' "citizenship is in heaven, " from which they "eagerly await a Savior the Lord Jesus Christ" ( Philippians 3:20; cf.  Colossians 3:3 ). Paul's view of things to come has profound implications for the way life is to be lived now.

Pauline eschatology, like all of his teaching, grows out of his convictions about God generally and Jesus Christ in particular. Since Jesus was the Messiah, his victorious ministry signaled the arrival of the final stages of God's redemptive work prior to the consummation. This will include final judgment at the parousia (second coming see  Romans 2:1-11;  14:10-12;  1 Corinthians 3:12-15;  Philippians 2:16;  1 Thessalonians 3:13;  2 Thessalonians 1:5-10 ). Evildoers who have not obeyed the gospel will face God's wrath ( Romans 1:18;  Ephesians 5:6;  Colossians 3:6 ). It is incumbent on believers, following in Paul's train, to proclaim the gospel to the nations (also to unrepentant Israel;  Romans 9-11 ) as a faithful witness to the unfolding of God's eschatological aims.

Eschatological boon is already available in the present. Believers enjoy the Holy Spirit, a sure sign of the end of the age. He is "the firstfruits" of their coming redemption ( Romans 8:23 ), the "guarantee" or "down payment" of greater things to come ( 2 Corinthians 1:22;  5:5;  Ephesians 1:14 ), a seal of the inheritance and adoption that enables them to call Almighty God "Abba" ( Romans 8:15-17 ).

In the contemporary setting, when coming divine judgment is merely tolerated as private delusion if not belittled as rank superstition, Paul's dramatic emphasis on an imminent future order that calls for immediate, radical personal reorientation is readily written off as quaint mythology or overwrought apocalyptic imagery. It even becomes the stuff of Hollywood parody. Such dismissal is perilous if Paulin this area once again echoing many a dominical declarationspeaks with the authority he claims. Endorsing wholeheartedly the Pauline vision with its cosmic implications means true life, life "in Christ, " in this age and unspeakable enjoyment of God in the coming one ( Romans 8:18;  1 Corinthians 2:9 ). Equally urgent is Paul's insistence that rejecting his gospel will in due course bring God's eternal displeasure. This is not to mention the tragedy of a life that squanders the opportunity to worship and share the resurrected Lord.

Robert W. Yarbrough

See also The Church; Death Of Christ; Messiah; Second Coming Of Christ; Union With Christ

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