Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Who I think Paul was...

In the last post, i asked Who Was Paul? Here i'll provide a short answer to this complex question. Thank you to all who commented, I loved reading your posts and saw where each of y'all were coming from. It helped me write this post, so thank you again. Let me know what you think of this!

Was Paul: 1. The Preacher of salvation by grace from the burden of the Law?

2. The Preacher who proclaimed God's reign by breaking through in Christ the Messiah of Israel?

3. Was he a social conservative that opted for celebacy and temperance based on the teachings of Christ?

4. Was he a social radical that opted for a new, liberative lifestyle based on the teachings of Christ?

Paul was all of these things but none of them completely. He had a lot to say about grace, he seems conservative in a few spots, like in the Pastorals, but yet radical in Corinthians. I will, however, focus on Paul as a “Preacher who proclaimed God’s reign by breaking through in Christ the Messiah of Israel. I lean this way because of the letters to the Galatians and Romans.

Through Christ the law is fulfilled. The law was like a nanny that watched over the world and without it Paul would not have known sin. But Christ makes God’s grace known and levels the field as Gentiles and Jews, once separated, are now grafted together onto one tree. God promised that all people will be blessed through Abraham, and Christ fulfills that promise. The law of Moses is still valid in Paul’s eyes, but is now beside the point as if you “put on the mind of Christ” you are doing the law.

When Paul talks about the Law, there are some inaccuracies. Inaccuracies are always occurring in marketing, and Paul is a marketer of Christ to the Gentiles. This happens in our modern times too as the new Apple notebook doesn’t use less power than a 25 watt light bulb (unless it’s in sleep mode) nor is the law slavery like Paul would have us interpret it in Galatians when he brings up the Sarah and Hagar story. His interpretation is way off the mark, however, it is written to Gentiles and this Paul’s inaccuracy has a point. Namely, Gentiles don’t have to first become Jewish to experience the Reign of God in Jesus Christ… One simply needs to follow Christ, period.


Anonymous said...

I kinda thought I was right on the money - and yes - I like to toot my own horn (lol). Im kidding.

I think like you from the most basic reading of those texts also - he was a bit of all of them - but his primary concern seemed to be the kingdom and inclusion of the Gentiles in that reign of God.

Luke said...

yeah, i admired your post and the scriptures you pulled. and you're right on about his primary concern, he was all about marketing to Gentiles and sometimes he was conservative, sometimes he was radical, sometimes he talked about Grace and other times about the Law (and how Grace is in the law or is a fulfillment of it).

what did you think of the picture?

Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that I also selected this option and am glad that you saw fit to agree with the people who were thinking correctly about Paul (lol). And I am glad to see your emphasis on Galatians as I have come to see it as my favorite section of the NT. I like all the freedom talk.

Luke said...

thanks freestyle,

all of your comments were incorporated into my thinking on Paul. thanks for your help! my fave. three letters would be Corinthians, Galatians and Romans from Paul. how about you? what are your top three?

Luke said...

i esp. used Chris Eden's comment about not being so duelistic. only known the dude for a few months and the guy's got me down pat!

these questions are for my final quiz in my Paul class, we were supposed to discuss with friends and i couldn't think of anyone better than our montley and diverse group to help bounce ideas off of... any way to tighten it up? anything you'd add?

also, what do you think about putting up my exegetical paper on 1 Cor 6:9-11? deals with the LGBTQ issues we touched on.. would that be beneficial?

Anonymous said...

"what are your top three?" (Luke)

I like Galatians as my fave, then 1 Corinthians, and then likely Romans. Galatians for some odd reason stands alone for me for some reason - maybe its the dialogue between Peter, James, John and Paul I like.

"my exegetical paper on 1 Cor 6:9-11? deals with the LGBTQ issues we touched on.. would that be beneficial?" (Luke)

I like the idea - its a controversial issue that isn't quite settled amongst most Christians - I think it is beneficial to see the work you have done.

"what did you think of the picture?" (Luke)

That pic made me laugh - Paul flipping the bird to everyone that walks bye - priceless.