As most of you know...I attend Indiana Wesleyan, and currently I'm in a class about the Life and Letters of Paul.
I thought it was very interesting that Luke records that Paul claims to be born a Roman twice in Acts, also how weird that he was a Pharisee. I guess this is something I never fathomed.
The book I'm reading about Paul by F.F. Bruce is very interesting. Paul was a prosecutor and it was very unlikely that he would all of the sudden start following the teachings of Christ. I find it interesting also that Paul didn’t meet with the apostles for quite some time to hear about the actual teachings of Christ. I guess, I always assumed that he knew more of Jesus’ life when he was teaching before he went back Jerusalem. Paul went to Arabia after his conversion to teach or maybe to meditate, who knows, but he hadn’t met with Peter or James at that point.
I’m curious, and I know that this may not be the place for this, but it is a discussion board. I didn’t really realize how detached Paul was from the life of Jesus and the life of the apostles. Why did the apostles believe him at all? Why wouldn’t they just think that he was some quack who was trying to perform miracles or gain fame for himself? I found out that Paul had a physical ailment. (Not sure what it was, but an ailment that Jesus would not take away) It made me start thinking about what the ailment could be. I know that some think it may have been epilepsy, but it could have been something as simple as a crossed eye.
The idea of Paul being a “mystic” was one I had not really heard, but it made me think of a nomad that walked around to places and spoke of miracles unheard. Probably would have been awesome to meet him or listen to his teachings.
It’s so interesting that Jesus chose Paul to be an apostle. Paul was a man that was okay with other men being stoned to death for crimes that were not even crimes. Paul was a man that thought he was better than others, yet after realizing so completely the mistakes he made, he spent the rest of his life making up for it. The other night I watched “American History X” and the main character of that movie somehow made me think of Paul and the persecution by all he had known when he learned the truth. So, the main character in that movie is overcome by hatred based on race, but after years and prison he changes and is redeemed. He gets out of prison and tries to change his old gang members, but mostly his brother. I, as a woman and a mother, do not like how the movie ends, but the character in the movie had so much to overcome. I see that person as being closely related to how I see Paul and his conversion.
One of my classmates just told me that the physical ailment that is mentioned apparently kept Paul from writing most of his own letters..So this leads me to question the validity of the letters at all? How do we assume that the writings were from Paul at all?