Divine Encounters


Which Paul Is Paul


The book of Acts 2, 9, 11 provides the historical record for understanding and knowing the Apostle Paul. The books written by Paul begin with greetings to the readers. The first thing Paul does in his letters is by identify himself. According to scholars, within the 27 books of the New Testament, 13 are written by Paul.

Paul books are letters he wrote to individuals or church groups. They are also known as epistles, “Paul’s letters confirm that he was a persecutor, though they offer none of the details which are in Acts”. (Sanders, 1991, 9) What about his letters? Is Paul talking about himself? Is it about before his “Conversion” According to many scholars, his letters were not written by Paul, but by those who admired him.

 How can one identify the books of New Testament that are written by the Paul the Apostle?

You can identify the author of a particular book in the Bible because most of the authors mention their name somewhere in the narrative. The Apostle Paul was one of the writers who writer and he identified himself in his writings. He lived during the New Testament section of the Bible, and you will not have to read the entire New Testament to find out which ones he authored.

 Paul and Philemon (1:3) Paul appealing to Philemon duty.

Crossan and Borg distinguish between the radical Paul the reactionary Paul and the conservative Paul. That is, we all agree that the radical Paul wrote seven letters: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Some scholars dispute whether Paul wrote Ephesians, Colossians and 2 Thessalonians. And outside of conservative circles, few scholars attribute the reactionary to the Epistles, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, to Paul.

Crossan and Borg demonstrate how the authors addressed directly and make clear differences. The radical “Paul opposes and the conservative and reactionary Paul’s accept the normalcy of Roman hierarchy in its most obvious social expressions. This is our first insight into how radical equality within Pauline Christian theology opposes and replaces the normal hierarchy within Roman imperial theology” (Crossan, Borg, 2009, 31). The radical Paul who Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior. (Crossan, Borg, 2009, 47)

The perspective in which he was coming from does not indicate him to be conservative, looking at sociopolitical details of Rome and also the perspective on second Temple Judaism.

Radical Paul who achieve his vision?

Paul was Radical not Conservative?

Can radical Paul achieve his God given vision in our days and how will society see him?

Does one need to be radical before he can make impart in the community, compared Jesus and Paul? Christianity which is one of the monotheistic religions in the world today lack men and women who are radical rather than conservative Paul. “By Paul’s day the Jewish people had plenty of experience of living under pagan empire” (Wright, N.T, 2005, 65). There is misinterpretation about Radical Paul than conservative Paul. “The common life of the body of Christ, as Paul endeavored to establish and maintain it, was thus bound to appear, on the street, both as a very Jewish thing in the eyes of pagans and as a very pagan thing in the eyes of Jews”(Wright, N.T, 2005, 167)

It will be very difficult for the lay man in this end time to understand what Crossan and Borg was arguing about the radical Paul, conservative Paul and the reactionary Paul. The conservative Paul, who tells wives, should be subject to their husband as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, and the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be in everything to their husbands. (Col. 3:18) (Col. 3:19) (Eph. 5:22-24)

Our days is made up of conservative Paul?

I disagree Crossan and Borg, some key points in the book of the first Paul. I’m not sure the authors satisfactorily account for Romans 13:1-7, but then again I have never seen a satisfactory interpretation made by them. Conservative Paul slaves obey their master.

Reactionary Paul, nothing about obligation of master, nothing about directly to slaves.

How do you think other scholars see this idea of Crossan and Borg?

Despite these and other reservation, I’m grateful for how Crossan and Borg frame their most important points. They show how Paul’s gospel isn’t about God simply forgiving us but rather concerns a ‘Spirit transplant’[1]. They insist that Paul’s gospel isn’t simply about saving individuals but building commmunity and redeeming the world.

Christianity of Paul was not the first and where did he get his teaching from? Paul answers that question clearly in Galations 1:11-12, where he states, the gospel I preach is not something that man madeup. I did not receive it from men, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 he speaks of receiving from the Lord that which he passes on to them, the gospel (1Corinthians 11:23). He carefully points out that these are not things which he invented.

What can we learn from radical Paul, conservative Paul and reactionary Paul?

What you like about the idea?

Did Paul begin Christianity in a radical way?

The writers contradict each other?

What is the general perception of Paul’s position today?

Rev Samuel F Sarpong


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s