The Conversion of Paul

I. Paul the Jew

Paul the Apostle was a Jew. In fact, even after accepting Jesus as Lord and Messiah, he still referred to himself as a Jew. Paul considered the Jews as “[his] own people, [his] kindred according to the flesh” (Romans 9:3). “I myself,” he says, using again the present tense, “am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham” (Romans 11:1). He still denoted time by reference to Jewish festivals, namely, Pentecost and Passover (Acts 20:16;1 Corinthians 16:8). These factors and his inclusive use of “we” in contexts where he clearly means “we Jews” (for example, Galatians 2:15, 16, 17) demonstrate that even after becoming a follower of Christ, he considered himself to be a good Jew. But he was not the same Jew that he was before his acceptance of Jesus as the resurrected Messiah.

The pre-Christian Paul was no mere nominal Jew, but rather a zealous adherent of the ancestral faith.[1] Paul does not reveal much in his writings about this period when he was called Saul. Occasionally the boasting of some of his opponents about their Jewish pedigree elicited from Paul a response in a similar vein: “Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I” (2 Corinthians 11:22). To brag of his Jewish heritage, was, in Paul's opinion, to speak as a fool or even as a madman (16–17, 21, 23). But in order to defend himself against his detractors, he felt constrained to rehearse his own religious pedigree for his converts’ sake. He came from a pious Jewish family that spoke Aramaic (Philippians 3:5). Like all observant Jews, his family circumcised him on the eighth day after his birth (5). They named him "Saul," since, like the king of that name, he belonged to the tribe of Benjamin (5).

“I am a Jew,” he publicly acknowledged in Aramaic to his fellow countrymen, “born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city [Jerusalem] at the feet of Gamaliel, educated strictly according to our ancestral law, being zealous for God, just as all of you are today” (Acts 22:3).[2] Tarsus was on a busy trade route between Syria and Asia Minor, and as Paul declared (Acts 21:39), it was the most “important city” in the province of Cilicia (southeast Asia Minor, modern Turkey). Tarsus was a city noted for its local philosophers and schools of learning, but it should not be designated a “university city,” and it is very doubtful whether Paul owes anything to Tarsus for his education. Paul was brought up in Jerusalem and educated there “at the feet of” (that is, as a disciple of) the then leading Pharisaic teacher of the Torah (law), Gamaliel I. He was an apt pupil, and became a strict advocate of the Pharisees’ way of life and interpretation of the Torah (Acts 23:6; 26:5; Philippians 3:5).

By his own testimony Paul's zeal for the traditions of the sages of Judaism surpassed all of his contemporaries (Galatians1:14). As an observant Pharisee, he applied the law to his daily life in a strict manner, and was blameless in this regard (Philippians 3:6). Adhering to the Torah more strictly than most Jews was, according to both Luke and Josephus, the hallmark of being a Pharisee: “I have belonged to the strictest sect of our religion and lived as a Pharisee” (Acts 26:4 italics added, see also Acts 22:3). “Pharisees [were] a Jewish sect that appeared more pious than the rest and stricter in the interpretation of the Law” (Josephus, Jewish Wars 1.110 italics added, see also 2.162; Life, 191).[3] The Pharisees were a small lay sect of about 6,000 in number most of who lived in and around Jerusalem. They were innovative in that they attempted to apply all the requirements of the Torah to their daily lives.[4]

Paul was no exception, and as a Pharisee he too boasted that he “was far more zealous for the traditions of [his] ancestors” than were his Jewish contemporaries (Galatians1:14). The ideal model for Pharisaic zeal was Phinehas, the priest, who showed “he was zealous for his God” by spearing the Israelite Zimri and the Midianite woman Cosbi through their stomachs (Numbers 25:6–15). And like his Old Testament exemplar, Paul also demonstrated his zeal for Judaism by acting against the Jesus-sect as “a man of violence” (1 Timothy 1:13).

Even before Paul (while Saul) met the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, he must have known something about the life and teachings of Jesus. Saul's passionate persecution of the followers of Jesus indicates that he had some knowledge of the new Jewish sect called, “The Way” (Acts 9:2). In fact, it required more than mere knowledge to cause Saul to breathe “threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” (Acts 9:1; 18:25, 26; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24: 14, 22). He realized even before most of the Jewish believers in Jesus that Judaism, which focused on the Torah, and the new religion, which centered in Jesus, were as compatible as new wine in old wineskins.

Paul's descriptions of his life as a pre-Christian Jew reveal him as a confident observer of the Torah no different from his account of a good Jew found in Romans 2:17–20. Paul's claim that he was “as to righteousness under the law, blameless” (Philippians 3:6) was no doubt sincere and well based on a genuine piety. Therefore, given Paul's own accounts of his life prior to his encounter with Jesus, it would be quite misleading to see his conversion in terms of the deliverance of an anguished soul from its vain struggle to keep the law. Paul was no Augustine or Jerome desperately looking for freedom from his lusts. Nor was he a Catholic Martin Luther struggling to fulfill the demands of a righteous God through the sacramental means of the medieval church. Nor was he a John Wesley frustrated in his pursuit of an unattainable holiness through a rigid method of piety. No storm in a field (Luther) or at sea (Wesley) shook the foundations of his religious confidence.

II. Call and Commission

A. According to his own letters.

How did Saul become Paul? And what was involved in leaving his “earlier life in Judaism” (Galatians 1:13a) and becoming an advocate of the Jesus-gospel? Why did the persecutor become the protagonist? When the Jesus movement arose, Paul saw it as posing a threat to the Pharisees' understanding of the Torah. His response was therefore to do all in his power "to destroy it" (v. 13b). Indeed, Paul justifiably puts forth his “violently persecuting the church” (Galatians 1:13) as proof of his zeal for the law (“as to zeal, a persecutor of the church,” Philippians 3:6). It was his zeal for Judaism as he understood it that caused him to attack the Jesus movement as a threat to the religion of his forefathers.

Hence Paul as a Jew was a very religious person, a devout believer in the Jewish faith as understood by the sect of the Pharisees. What happened on the road to Damascus was not then a conversion in the sense of coming to a faith in God, for Paul, as a pious Jew, already had that. Yet Saul did become Paul at this time; what did that change mean? It meant that the Living God of Israel became for him also “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15;6; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:7, 17; Colossians 1:3). It meant that the center of his existence was no longer the Torah, but Jesus the Christ (Messiah). He had died to the law through the body of Christ, so that he might belong to him who had been raised from the dead (Romans 7:4). It meant that God had called Paul to serve him and commissioned him to take the gospel of his Son to the pagan Greco-Roman world. Just as he experienced God's initiative in his call, so he realized that salvation was also due to the divine initiative (Romans 8:30; 1 Corinthians 1:9). This was true for both Paul and the Galatians (Galatians 1:6, 15). He was a chosen vessel to take the good news of Jesus to the Gentiles (Galatians1:16).

From Paul's new perspective, God had set him apart from his very birth for this very task (Galatians1:15). His Jewish pedigree, circumcision, the Torah and his status as a Pharisee all became secondary to Christ, or as Paul put it, so much garbage (Philippians 3:8). His role now was not to destroy the message of Jesus, but to proclaim it; to be "the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing" (2 Corinthians 2:15). Paul's conversion then was not a transference from unbelief to belief in God, but a radical change in how he understood God and his way of salvation. Borg and Crossan see it as a dramatic change within rather than into a religious system: “Paul’s was a conversion within a tradition from one way of being Jewish to another way of being Jewish, from being a Pharisaic Jew to being a Christian Jew.”[5] However, this may not do complete justice to the strong metaphor Paul used to describe the effect that his meeting with Jesus had on him. He likened it to a traumatic or delayed birth (ektrōma, 1 Corinthians 15:8). Bird describes it as a gut-wrenching transformation than spun Paul around in a violent 180 degree turn. Even so he says “Paul was converted from the Pharisaic sect to a messianic sect within Judaism” (italics original).[6]

Paul's zeal for the Torah had trapped him; supposing he was fulfilling its requirements, he sought and obtained letters of authority from the high priests in an effort to eliminate the followers of Jesus (Acts 9:1–2). His keenness for the law had led him to persecute the followers of Jesus and thus to oppose the Lord's Messiah. From his new Jesus-centered perspective, Paul saw that sin had used the Torah as its tool to blind him to the true covenant people of God. The commandment was holy, just and good, but sin deceived Paul and led him to fail to recognize Jesus as the resurrected Messiah, and consequently to persecute his followers. Sin made use of the good law to trick him into a way of death (Romans 7:8–11). But this was a Christian insight or interpretation of his past life in Judaism.

B. According to Acts.

Acts 1:8 (and Luke 24:46–48) provides the sequence of the apostolic mission: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Luke follows the expanding witness of the gospel impelled as it was by miracles (Acts 4:16), pilgrims (2:9), forced scatterings (8:1, 4; 11:19), as well as faithful testimonies (2:32; 3:15; 4:33). So the gospel of the resurrected Christ spread both geographically and ethnically: Jerusalem (2:14), Judea (2:9), Samaria (8:1), and the ends of the earth (2:9). The move to the Gentiles is also progressive (proselytes, 2:10; 6:5), an Ethiopian God-worshiping eunuch (8:38), the household of a God-fearing Roman (10:43–48), and the Gentiles of Antioch (11:20–23).

Without diminishing the powerful episode with Peter in Acts 10:1–11:18, Antioch is the first time the Christian witness broke the bounds of Judaism, and nor must we miss the significance of Luke’s placing the call of Paul (Acts 9:1–19) before the vision of Peter in Acts 10:9–16). The three Lucan accounts of Paul’s call and commission (9:1–19; 22:1–21; 26:12–18) have some inconsistencies, but two themes dominate in all three speeches.[7]First, the terror that Paul sustained against Christian Jews (9:1–3, 13; 22:4, 19; 26:9–11) was tantamount to persecuting Jesus (9:4–5; 22:7–8; 26:14–15). Second, that God had chosen Paul to be a witness to bring the name of Jesus before the Gentiles (9:15; 22:14–15; 26:16–18).

III. Conclusion

Paul’s encounter with Jesus did not occur in a vacuum. As we have seen, Paul's persecution of the Jesus-community presupposed a certain amount of knowledge of their beliefs. Beliefs that he rejected, but that clearly troubled him. As the risen Christ reminded him in the Hebrew language: “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It hurts you to kick against the goads” (Acts 26:14). To “kick against the goads” referred to the way a pack animal kicked back when prodded, and as a Greek proverb it meant that continued resistance was futile. What was goading Paul? Not the Torah, for in that regard he was a blameless Pharisee. No the goads that were stinging Paul, which he was finding difficult to handle, were the stings of the gospel of Christ. What tormented him was the niggling doubt that maybe Jesus truly was the resurrected Messiah just as his followers claimed. This became an irresistible conviction when the risen Christ“took hold of” him (Philippians 3:12 NIV) while he was on the road to Damascus.[8]

This meeting with Jesus dramatically changed the object of his zeal from Torah to Christ. He remained a Jew, but hardly an orthodox one. Central in the change was the call through God's grace that revealed his Son to Paul (Galatians 1:15–16a), which then commissioned him to go to the Gentiles “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified [dedicated] by faith t” in Jesus (Acts 26:17‒18). But first Paul himself needed to see the light of the glory of the Lord (“The God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’ ... has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). And this too happened when he fell to the ground before the glory of the Lord on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3; 22:6–7; 26:13–14). As H. G. Wood long ago beautifully put it: “Paul was converted to Christ rather than to Christianity.”[9]

Since he was called to proclaim Jesus as the resurrected Messiah not only among the Gentiles (Galatians 1:16b), but also among the Jews (Acts 9:15), he immediately, according to Acts, began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus was the Son of God (v. 20). However, his calling by divine appointment made him especially the messenger or Apostle to the Gentiles (“Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles,” Romans 1:4)and he was extremely jealous of that God-given office (Romans 11:13).

As Jesus had appeared to Paul, even if belatedly (1 Corinthians 15:8; Galatians 1:16), he had no hesitation in designating himself as an apostle on equal terms with those who preceded him in that role (Galatians 1:17). Indeed, Luke, who championed Paul, recognized his right to that title, for throughout Acts he consistently uses the term apostolos for the twelve, except in 14:4, 14 where he applies it to Paul and Barnabas, and thus gives a clear hint that he considered them “as playing a role similar to that of the twelve apostles.” [10] Paul himself, of course, had no doubts about the divine origin of his call and commission (“For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle ... a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth,” 1 Timothy 2:7). As Clark concludes, Paul cannot match the unique history and symbolic role of the twelve apostles, “but in terms of functioning as an authorized expounder of the significance of the Christ-event he is their equal, and as a missionary he surpasses them.”[11]

Image credit: the author.

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[1] The term “Christian” was not in use at the time Paul wrote Galatians; it is used throughout this study for convenience.

[2] The dates of Paul’s birth and death are estimates at best and range from AD 4–6 for his birth, and to AD 62–67 for his death.

[3] Josephus (AD 37–100) was a Jewish author, who wrote in Greek about the religion of the Jews and about the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70. His career overlaps with Paul’s.

[4]Martin Hengel. The Pre-Christian Paul (London/Philadelphia, PA: SCM/Trinity, 1991) 27–49.

[5]Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan, The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church’s Conservative Icon (New York: HarperCollins, 2009) 24.

[6]Michael F. Bird, A Bird’s-Eye View of Paul (Nottingham: IVP, 2008) 35.

[7]Charles W. Hedrick, “Paul’s Conversion/Call: A Comparative Analysis of the Three Reports in Acts,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 100 (1981) 417–419.

[8]Jacques Dupont, “The Conversion of Paul, and its Influence on his Understanding of Salvation by Faith,” in W. Ward Gasque and Ralph P. Martin (eds), Apostolic History and the Gospel: Biblical and Historical Essays Presented to F. F. Bruce (Exeter UK: Paternoster, 1970) 192.

[9]Ibid, 194, footnote 2.

[10]Andrew C. Clark, “The Role of the Apostles,” in I. Howard Marshall and David Peterson (eds), Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts (Grand Rapids, MI & Cambridge, UK: Eerdmans, 1998) 185.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8908

Regretttably, Paul’s “conversion” did not cure him of his malignant misogyny, now creating conflict and crisis our church, due to his odious observations on what women should do or not do in church.

His “wives submit yourselves to your husbands“. has given cover, over two millennia, to millions of wife beaters, spousal abusers, and macho, cruel, dominating, husbands.

His enthusiastic, energetic, egregious endorsement of slavery
(as a sop to his wealthy Sanhedrin slave owning friends),

“SLAVES OBEY YOUR MASTERS !!!”

has given cover to countless slave owners and slave traders over many centuries, causing untold misery for millions.

His hateful homophobic harangues,have caused gay bashing, gay bullying, gay murders and monstrous misery for gays for two millennia.

Had God not informed him that gays/lesbians have ZERO input/choice/decision in their INNATE sexual orientation???

(Neither do heterosexuals!)

In short, Paul has caused more human misery than Hitler and Stalin combined, because those despots only impacted their own generations.

Paul has impacted two thousand years of human history with his pernicious pronouncements!

IF Paul makes it through the heavenly gates, millions of abused wives, persecuted gays and cruelly treated slaves, will rightfully confront him and demand:

“What were you thinking Paul??”

“You have caused so much protracted human MISERY, with your blatant bigotry, your hateful homophobia, your miserable misogyny and your pathetic pandering pronouncements to your slave owning friends!”

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Wow! Regards Ephesians 5 you may find my brief article helpful.
https://record.adventistchurch.com/2018/01/19/was-paul-a-misogynist/

There are few NT texts addressing same-gender sex. Mostly heterosexual abuses are addressed in the NT, especially male abuses of females. Romans 1.24-28 (which I think you are referring to) is a catalogue of 1st century decadence; it is not referring to committed and loving relationships whether heterosexual or homosexual. It is also a precursor to proclaiming our need for and God’s provision of his grace. A kinder evaluation of Paul would recognize that his environment was the 1st and not the 21st century–not that our era is in a position to take the high moral ground.

Do you not think a message that has a slave refer to his master as brother might be the beginning of a social revolution? See Philemon 15-16.

I have taken your strongly expressed view of Paul seriously. My response is limited by time and space and therefore inadequate, for which I apologize.

With kindest regards,

Norman

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i think this is an interesting detail…one would have thought that paul’s primary commission would be to other pharisees, who like himself, needed an 180 degree turn around…but instead, his primary commission was to people with whom he didn’t have much in common…

one wonders if egw qualifies as an apostle, given her visions of both god the father and god the son…she does claim to be more than a prophet, and according to paul, the only spiritual gift greater than the prophetic gift is the gift of apostleship…

of course if egw is really an apostle, that would make the headship position in our church even more egregious, if that’s possible…

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Thank you Norman for your kind and considerate response to my diatribe!

You defend Paul by saying firstly, that his words were misconstrued/mistranslated, secondly, that first century circumstances were different than 21st century situations.

PAUL’S MISOGYNY

You do concede (in your other referenced article) that the words “submit” and “head” have created MISERY for millions of subjugated wives.

Why would a supposedly loving, compassionate, “all knowing” God, not have foreseen the future injurous impact of these two words and deleted them from the canon of Scripture in the first place??? God does proclaim Himself to be omniscient / foreseeing the future.

Are you implying that God intended Paul’s epistles to be only relevant to his contemporaneous culture , and that after his demise, his letters needed to be jettisoned into the dust bin of history?

If God really intended that Paul’s epistles endure for two millennia, then why did He not edit the texts AB INITIO, so they would harmonize /attune/ conform to the circumstances/ situations that God foresaw in the ensuing future ??

PAUL’S HOMOPHOBIA

Did a creator whose creatures include a demographic of four per cent gay, (one in twenty five) ( in every racial/ ethnic / cultural group.on the planet), not foresee that some of these unfortunates would desire loving, supportive, monogamous, relationships, like their heterosexual siblings/ cousins???

Was God unaware of this demogrpagpic, when He allowed Paul’s “clobber texts” that ensured misery for millions of gays over two millennia?

Is God only now being enlightened / elucidated/ educated by modern science, that gays/lesbians have ZERO input /choice /option / selection of their INNATE sexuality?

A God who knowingly creates a demographic of same sex attracted creatures, should have foreseen the misuse of these “clobber texts” that would cause future misery for millions.

I think God Himself is COMPLICIT in Paul’s pernicious pronouncements.

Why would an all knowing, omnisicient God, clearly foreseeing the abuse of these texts, allow them in the canon of Scripture??

Maybe, could it be, that Paul was NOT inspired by God at all, and should NOT be in the canon of Scripture?

This very plausible possibility, would get God “off the hook” for having harmed and hurt his humankind.

PAUL’S EXUBERANT ENDORSEMENT OF SLAVERY

As to slavery, many of Britain’s most prominent and aristocratic families were heavily engaged in, and made their fortunes in the slave trade. The slave trading ships used the port of Bristol, England.

These slave trading families were not pagan/ infidel/ atheist / Hindu/ Islamist.

They were Christian, and used Paul’s exuberant endorsement of slavery, to justify and exonerate their sordid commerce.

Did God not know that SLAVES OBEY YOUR MASTERS would create untold misery for millions??

He Himself exploited Egyptian slavers to beat and brutalize His people for four hundred years!

Would forty years not have been enough??

DOES SCRIPTURE PORTRAY A MERCIFUL GOD ?

That is why I jettison the Old Testament, with its belligérant /abusive/ brutal God who ordained genocides, exploited slavery, and deliberately drowned a planetfull of innocent animals! The Old Testament’s vicious venom and violence, its sordid sagas, do not make tasteful bedtime tales for toddlers!

Pauls’s misogynistic messages, currently creating chaos and crisis in our church, are also rejected for the reasons stated.

Only the GOSPELS speak to me of a loving compassionate savior

The other Scriptures raise serious questions about a truly merciful God!

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Thank you very much for this very enlightening exposition of the “conversion” of Paul. I have not seen such a convincing description of what was the case before, what was the case afterwards and what it involved in such a short space. This is a most welcomed masterpiece.

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Paul’s conversion to the “messianic sect” can hardly be considered "within Judaism. Paul created a new faith very different then Judaism could ever permit. This is why the church sought to kill Paul–he was an apostate from the faith. Under Paul teachings Judaism would soon cease to exist and the Torah would be breached.

  1. Justification by faith without works VS Blessings and Curses
  2. Baptism VS circumcision
  3. Equality between Jews and Gentiles VS avoidance of Gentiles
  4. No unclean foods “kingdom of heaven not food and drink…” VS Unclean foods
  5. Elders chosen by character VS Levites and priesthood after lineage of Aaron
  6. Priesthood of all believers with no temple worship VS Temple centered
  7. No special day "each should be fully persuaded VS Festivals and Sabbaths
  8. Love centered VS Covenant centered
  9. Jesus & gospel centered VS Moses & Torah centered
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I would not wish to detract from the author’s excellent account of the apostle “Saul” or “Paul.”

In his second paragraph he refers to “the pre-Christian Paul.”

He correctly refers to “Paul (while Saul)” who was confronted by Jesus on the road to Damascus.

He refers to Saul’s conversion with a question: “How did Saul become Paul?” and a statement: “Yet Saul did become Paul at this time.”

There is a Christian tradition that with Saul’s conversion, he took on the new name of Paul.

I would suggest otherwise:

Luke describes Saul’s conversion in Acts chapter 9.

In Acts 9:22, when after his conversion Paul preached to the Jews of Damascus about Jesus, he is still called Saul.

In Acts 9:24-25, when Paul escaped Damascus in a basket, he is still called Saul.

In Acts 9:26, when Saul arrived in Jerusalem, he is still called Saul.

To the Galatians (Galatians 15:15-19) Paul explained that he was set apart by God even before he was born. After his conversion he recalled a three-year detour to Arabia, after which he returned to Damascus. Then he went to Jerusalem, where he met Peter and James.

When Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Paul and bring him to Antioch (Acts 11:25-26), he is still called Saul.

When Paul and Barnabas carried gifts from Antioch to Jerusalem (Acts 11:30), he is still called Saul.

When Paul and Barnabas returned from Jerusalem (Acts 12:35), he is still called Saul.

When the Holy Spirit called Barnabas and Paul to a special ministry, Paul is still called Saul (Acts 13:2).

The intelligent governor of Cyprus had two names, one of which was Paul (Acts 13:7). He took the initiative to hear Barnabas and Paul, who was still called Saul.

Luke then informs us that Saul was also called Paul (Acts 13:9), and consistently thereafter refers to the apostle as Paul. However he offers no story about a change of name.

A number of Bible commentaries, including the Zondervan Encyclopedia and our own SDA Bible Dictionary, suggest “a simple and plausible answer,” that Paul, like several other Biblical characters, had more than one name.

Perhaps as a Hebrew among Hebrews he was usually known by the name of Saul (meaning “asked for”), Israel’s first king.

Perhaps in a Greco-Roman environment he generally used his other name, Paulos (Greek) or Paulus (Latin) (meaning small). It has been my pleasure to know several admirable Christians who still share the name “Small.”

When in later life he was a prisoner, Paul told autobiographical stories (presumably in Greek). He still referred to himself as Saul (Acts 22:7 quoting Jesus); (Acts 22:13 quoting Barnabas); and (Acts 26:14 again quoting Jesus).

In summary:

Saul probably never “became” Paul; he long possessed both names.

His conversion did not prompt a change of name.

His call to mission did not prompt a change of name.

Luke’s name switch occurs only partway through Saul-Paul’s first missionary journey. We are free to speculate why, at this point, Luke changed his naming preference.

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Embracing fellow brother Paul and his challenging to understand statements may be difficult at times…but he like us was continually learning and growing being tranformed from an angry insecure man to what God had planned for him.

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One is only left to wonder what most of the NT might have looked like had Paul been an “alphabet person” or a woman!!

I’m sorry, but we have what we have and that’s history, for better or worse.

Let’s start all over again…no no, that’s not how it can happen…!!

Norms more generous than me, but the facts as we have them can’t just be sugared over. Let’s move on.

Lincoln,

Interestingly, you are named after a SUPER HERO, who abolished the very slavery that Paul promoted!!

You state, referring to Paul’s pernicious pronouncements:

WE HAVE WHAT WE HAVE, THAT’S HISTORY, FOR BETTER OR WORSE, IT CAN’T JUST BE SUGARED OVER.

Sorry! I disagree we do not HAVE TO HAVE

what is odious, objectionable offensive
what is harmful, hateful, hurtful,
what is pernicious, prejudiced, painful,
what is damaging, detrimental, destructive
what is misogynist, malignant, morally offensive.

We can reject it out of hand!,

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For anyone interested:

Here is a very interesting/informative discussion regarding Paul. It touches a bit on his conversion, speaks a lot to the Roman culture, including slavery, and some to Galatia.

I thoroughly enjoyed this!

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By changing “the object of his seal from Torah to Christ” was the foundation of Saul’s conversion. Nothing else. No doctrines, no behavior changes required. Just the object of the seal. Our church leaders should take note from this important lesson. Instead, our church leaders have focused on modifying the “seal” of her members by weakening it in issues that divert from our main task such as Male Headship, WO and the role of sexual orientation. Perhaps our GC leaders should undergo mental health evaluation by the likes of Dr. Tichy @GeorgeTichy and Kim @cincerity to rule out Attention-Deficit disorder and refer for treatment. Studies show that up to 90% of ADHD patients respond to CBT and psychopharmacology interventions. If we can help 9 of every 10 GC leaders, who can hinder our church’s progress?

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Elmer,

When speaking of the upper echelon of the GC as needing psycho / pharmacological interventions, it would be simpler to REMOVE AND REPLACE.

Is impeachment an option?

Can the swamp in Silver Spring be drained?

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It’s interesting how those people at the GC curiously developed a different ZEAL. According to them, the progression of the development is

Ffrom the Torah to Christ to Headship.

Just look at how much time and money (both precious) has been invested - literally wasted - in pursuing the perpetuation of discrimination of women.

This is why I am suggesting the creation of the,

SDA MONTH OF WOMEN ON STRIKE

To be observed in every SDA Church for a whole month (month still to be chosen) when women will do nothing in church! Nothing! Maybe it’s a good idea not to attend church for that month, just sending the kids with their father.

Ain’t this a great idea?

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George,

Are you seriously suggesting a WOMEN’S STRIKE that would disrupt the church potluck? Who will,cook and clean and cake bake??

Who will,change diapers in the Cradle Roll and play piano for the Primary Division??

Who will be the church organist, the Sabbath School pianist, the Choir Director, the soprano soloist?.

Who will type the Worship Bulletin?? Who will run Vacation Bible School??

Who will prepare for the foot washing, set the Communion Table??

George, you have to be an atheist apostate to advocate such ANARCHY!!

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YES, I am suggesting exactly that!
Apparently ALL those things and more are superfluous to the Headshipers. They need none of them, they are “machos” and can so it all! And still be proud…

Those guys may end up (more) mentally disturbed, but @elmer_cupino @cincerity and I, we are well prepared to help them… We are ordering brand new couches, for exclusive use by the Headshipers… :roll_eyes:

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I apologise for plagiarising folks, but just maybe there is a lesson in this little Gem for us ALL!!
DAILY DEVOTIONALThursday August 9 – Rejoicing in your suffering for Christ
ByDick MoesPosted on August 3, 2018 SHARE TWEET SHARE EMAIL COMMENTS
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church. – Colossians 1:24

Scripture reading: Psalm 2

Living a life worthy of being in Christ costs Paul a lot of suffering. Yet, that he rejoices in this should not surprise us for earlier in his letter he prayed that the Father of the Lord Jesus would strengthen the Colossians with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy (1:11). What he prayed for them, he had experienced and was still experiencing himself!

God was strengthening Paul in his sufferings for the sake of Christ by reminding him that in his sufferings he was filling up what was lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of His body. Now, only Christ could and did bear this suffering. As a result, there is nothing lacking in this suffering for our sin.

But there is another kind of suffering the Lord Jesus endured while on earth. Psalm 2 speaks about the nations raging, the peoples plotting in vain and the kings of the earth rebelling and the rulers taking counsel together against the LORD and His anointed. As the Anointed of the LORD, Christ experienced the affliction of this opposition. While Christ is in heaven, He continues to experience opposition in His body, His church. Thus, when Paul and other Christians experience opposition to living a life worthy of being in Christ, they fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for these will not be over until the Lord Jesus Christ returns. Paul considers it an honour and joy to fill up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.

Suggestions for prayer

Ask your heavenly Father to enable you to rejoice in your sufferings for Christ because you are filling up what is lacking in His sufferings for the sake of His body.

This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC.

Linc Dunstan xxoo

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Don’t worry, many readers here have no problem with this issue at all… :roll_eyes: :innocent:

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Thanks, @ezbord.

You said:

In response:

It’s a truism that one can get the Bible to say anything, if they want it to do so. So, any man who has read Paul’s counsel, that “wives submit yourselves to your husbands,” and who sees this as a license for wife-beating, spousal abuse, and macho, cruel, domination:

a) Has not read the statement in context; i.e., is using the text for his agenda, not as counsel;

b) Does not know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob;

c) Is most likely abusive in other, non-marital relationships; i.e., ones that do not fall under the submission guideline;

d) Is not converted.

Paul said, “Slaves, obey your masters.” What should he have said: Slaves, don’t obey your masters? Slaves, kill your masters?

Of course, @Norman_Young is correct: Slaves were to obey masters, and masters were to treat slaves as brothers. Had Europeans taken Paul seriously, the entire trans-Atlantic slave trade would have been inoperable.

HA

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