PAUL, THE APOSTLE (Παυ̂λος, G4263, Roman name meaning little; also called Saul, שָׁא֑וּל, Hebrew name meaning asked for). A leading figure in the Early Church whose ministry was principally to the Gentiles.
A Jew of the tribe of Benjamin (Phil 3:5), Saul, “who is also called Paul” (Acts 13:9), was given the name of that tribe’s most illustrious member—Israel’s first king. His Hebrew name Saul means “asked for,” while his Roman cognomen Paulus means “little.”
Jewish law prescribed that a boy begin the study of the Scriptures at five years of age and the study of the legal traditions at ten (Pirke Aboth 5:21). Josephus relates that both the Scriptures and the traditions were taught in every city to Jewish boys “from our first consciousness” (Contra Apion II. 18), and Philo speaks of such instruction “from earliest youth” (Leg. ad Gaium 210). Undoubtedly Paul was immersed as a boy in such a curriculum as well, being taught in the synagogue school and at home. Jewish sentiment also asserted the nobility of manual labor, and advised that intellectual prowess and physical activity go hand in hand. Gamaliel II is credited with saying: “Excellent is Torah study together with worldly business, for all Torah without work must fail at length, and occasion iniquity” (Pirke Aboth 2:2). An early Jewish tractate insists: “Whosoever doth not teach his son work, teacheth him to rob” (BT Kiddushin 99a). Thus, Paul was also initiated into the skills of a tentmaker, which, while a rather menial occupation to the modern mind, was then prob. considered a “clean and not laborious trade” (BT Berakoth 63a). Jewish education sought to produce a man who could both think and act; one who was neither an egghead nor a clod. And Paul’s later life indicates that he profited greatly from such a schooling.
At thirteen a Jewish boy became a bar mitzvah (“son of the commandment”) at which time he took upon himself the full obligation of the law and the more promising lads were directed into rabbinic schools under abler teachers. It was probably at this age or shortly thereafter that Paul came to Jerusalem to further his training, perhaps living with the married sister spoken of in Acts 23:16. Some have suggested that Acts 22:3 may more appropriately be punctuated as follows: “Brought up in this city [Jerusalem], at the feet of Gamaliel educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers”; this would allow for a residence in Jerusalem prior to this rabbinic training and would tend to discount Tarsian influence in his rearing. But while such a reading is possible, prob. the better reading is: “Brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, educated according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers” (as KJV and RSV); which directly associates his coming to Jerusalem with his rabbinic instruction. This later reading has the advantage of allowing all the participles in vv. 3 and 4 to begin their respective clauses uniformly. And it correlates well with Josephus’ reminiscence of his own intensive Pharisaic instruction beginning “about fourteen years of age” (Life 2). It is some indication of Paul’s youthful ability, and perhaps also of his parents’ importance, that not only was he selected for further rabbinic study, but that he came to Jerusalem to study under one of the greatest rabbis of the 1st century—Gamaliel I (Acts 22:3). And in the course of his studies, the young Jewish theolog came to excel over the majority of his contemporaries, becoming extremely zealous for the traditions of his fathers (Gal 1:14).
It prob. will never be conclusively settled whether Paul was ever married or not, though it seems most likely that he remained single throughout his life. The argument that as a member of the Sanhedrin (cf. Acts 26:10) he was required to be married and the father of children (BT Sanhedrin 36b) is not strong. This ruling, instituted in the interests of moderation in the face of rising zealot activity, dates from the time of Rabbi Akiba in the late 1st and early 2nd centuries a.d. The necessity for its inauguration indicates that prior to this time such was not the case. Similarly, the view of Clement of Alexandria that Paul was really married, but left his wife at Philippi so that she would not interfere with his travels, and that he addresses her in the words “true yokefellow” of Philippians 4:3 (Stromata III. 6), may be safely set aside. It would be incredible for Paul to urge the unmarried and the widows of Corinth to “remain single as I do” (1 Cor 7:8), if he had all the while been married. And that the Corinthian ascetics could point to him in substantiation of their views on continence suggests that he was unmarried rather than a widower.
A Hebrew born of Hebrews.
To understand Paul aright, reference must be made to his life in Judaism; that is, first of all to his place and standing, and then to his activity and religious experience in the religion of his fathers.
Paul explicitly claims to be a Hebraic Jew trained in the most worthy traditions of his fathers, whose Pharisaic qualifications could hardly be surpassed (Acts 22:3; 2 Cor 11:22; Phil 3:5). Such a claim, however, often has been disputed; many consider it evident by the circumstances of his life in Tarsus and the attitudes expressed in his letters that Paul really belonged to the more liberal side of Judaism. The issue of itself is of little direct consequence, for certainly God is able to accomplish His purposes regardless of the background of the man He chooses. Yet the implications which may legitimately be drawn from either an orthodox Hebraic background or a more liberal Hel. orientation are of great importance.
In the first place, the claim that Christianity is the fulfillment of Israel’s spiritual aspirations, as the apostle asserts, would be truly significant only if Paul were in a position to understand the deepest longings of the Old Testament and orthodox Judaism. Likewise, his attacks against the Judaism of his day would be meaningful only if he had been in a position to have known Judaism at its best. If his pre-Christian religious experience can be explained on non-biblical and non-Hebraic grounds, his lack of fulfillment in Judaism and his coversion to Christianity could be attributed primarily to Hellenism. One’s attitude toward the validity of Paul’s Hebraic claims therefore has great significance in one’s evaluation of Paul’s Christian polemic and doctrine, and for this reason the issue is vital.
While Paul has been frequently viewed as a “Hellenist of the Hellenists,” many today have begun to take his Hebraic heritage more seriously. The old distinction between an orthodox homeland and a liberal Diaspora has not always held true, since the strength of Jewish orthodoxy varied not so much geographically as according to mental climate in a given community or home. Paul’s understanding of the unity of the law and his “pessimism” regarding man’s ability to keep it can be paralleled in a number of passages in the Jewish lit. of his day (e.g., Pirke Aboth 2:1; Mishnah Makokth 3:14; BT Shabbath 70b; Tosephta Shebuot 3:6; 4 Macc. 5:20, 21; 1QS 1.14; 4 Ezra 7:116-126). His rehearsal of human inability as a backdrop for the supremacy of divine mercy and grace is distinctly in the tradition of the better rabbis. Probably at no point does Paul reveal his orthodox training more than in his treatment of Scripture, where his usual practice is to reproduce the exegetical forms of the earlier teachers—not those of contemporary sectarian Judaism nor the excesses in atomistic treatment of the later Amoraim. And even his later Christian interest in Gentiles together with his doctrine of intimate personal union with God “in Christ,” while differing in degree and content from Judaism because of his Christian perspective, have affinities with the nobler and loftier expressions in the Talmud. The deeper a person goes into the apostle’s thought (allowing for differences effected by his risen Lord), the more one finds Paul’s unquestioned assumptions, mental temper, and ways of expression to be rooted in the nobler Pharisaism of Judaism prior to the destruction of Jerusalem.
A persecutor of Christians.
The rationale for such drastic action may be related to the prevalent view that while nothing could be done either to hurry or to frustrate entirely the coming of the Messianic Age, transgression and apostasy within the nation could delay it. Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai is credited with saying: “Like as when a man who brings together two ships, and binds them together with ropes and cords, and builds a palace upon them; while the ships are lashed together the palace stands; when they drift apart it cannot stand” (Sifre Deut, Barakah 346; cf. also 1QS 9.20-21). And the Pharisaic endeavor to “build a hedge about the Law” by means of spelling out in detail the various Biblical prescriptions was motivated in large part by the desire to keep Israel unified in its worship of God, esp. during the times of “Messianic travail” in which many thought they were living. Zealous for the law and eager to keep Israel united in days of approaching Messianic blessing, Paul early directed his efforts against Jewish believers in Jesus of Nazareth; for, as he saw it, their leader had been discredited by crucifixion and their schismatic preaching could only further delay Israel’s promised Messianic Age.
Paul’s action could also have been easily justified Biblically. Numbers 25:1-5 speaks of Moses ordering the destruction of the immoral Israelites at Baal-peor, just prior to the people’s entrance into Canaan. And Numbers 25:6-15 recounts the turning away of God’s wrath by one man, Phinehas, who received God’s praise for his zeal to put apostasy out of Israel—even to the killing of two of the chief offenders himself. To Paul, the situations then and in his day could have seemed analogous: Israel’s near-entrance into the land with the near-Messianic kingdom, and the similar apostasies which could but further delay God’s blessings. The activities of Mattathias and the Hasidim some two centuries earlier in rooting out apostasy among their own people (1 Macc. 2:23-28, 42-48) may also have been his model; and the exhortation of 2 Maccabees 6:13 may even have rung in his ears: “For indeed it is a mark of great kindness when the impious are not let alone for a long time, but punished at once.” With such precedents, coupled with the rising tide of Jewish Messianic expectancy, sufficient motivation was at hand for Paul to take upon himself the grisly task of uprooting what he believed to be apostasy. Much as one might recoil at the thought of so-called “righteous crusades” and “holy wars,” he cannot deny that Judaism has many examples of such purgings, and that Judaism looked upon those undertaken at strategic moments in the nation’s history as worthy of highest praise. But, though undoubtedly earnest and motivated by a desire to do God’s will as he understood it, Paul was actually—as he later came to realize—opposing God “ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Tim 1:13).
The tension of his Jewish experience.
It frequently has been suggested that Paul had an unhappy adolescence, crushed under the legalism and casuistry of his religion and longing for something of love and inwardness. This supposition is based in large measure on an autobiographical interpretation of Romans 7:7-25, wherein Paul is viewed as describing a time in his boyhood when he came to realize the awful demands of the law and was therefore plunged into a perpetual and fruitless struggle with an uneasy conscience. It has sometimes also been supposed that this tension was the basis for his persecution of Christians: that he was attempting to externalize the conflict within by identifying what he detested in himself with some other body and was trying to silence his doubts by activity.
Therefore, it seems that Paul’s early religious experience must be interpreted along the lines of the normal Jewish response of his day: a rejoicing in the law of God and a self-congratulation on his place in the divine favor (Rom 2:17-20). He never speaks of his previous life in Judaism as one hideous mistake, nor as a bondage which anyone with an ounce of perception would have seen to have been in error. Rather, he continually measures it by the surpassing splendor and intimate communion found in Jesus Christ; and only on account of Christ was he prepared to call it, together with all human excellencies, something of the nature of rubbish (Phil 3:7-11). It was not dissatisfaction with the law which prepared the way for Christ, but Christ who revealed to Paul the inadequacy of the law and the ultimate futility of all human attainment.
What then was the tension which Paul experienced in Judaism, and which he found resolved in commitment to Christ? No doubt he had some appreciation of the inability of man to please God apart from divine mercy and strength, and prob. he was repelled in some measure by the rising tide of externalism in his day. But these were matters shared with the better rabbis of the time, and not sufficient of themselves to effect any basic alteration in earlier commitments. The primary tension of Judaism, which dominates all the Old Testament and Jewish thought generally, is that of covenant promise and anticipated fulfillment. The religion of Israel is the religion of promise, with consummation reserved for the coming of the Messiah and the Messianic Age. And it was this tension, rather than any having to do with ethics, motivation or universalism, which Paul found resolved in commitment to Jesus of Nazareth as God’s promised Messiah—the Messiah rejected, crucified, risen and now exalted.
Conversion and early ministry
Rome had recognized the high priests of Jerusalem as the titular rulers of their people, and in alliances with the earlier Maccabean priest-kings, had included a reciprocal extradition clause (1 Macc. 15:21-24). While the Sadducean priests no longer exercised the civil authority of their predecessors, evidently they retained the right of extradition in cases strictly religious. Thus, Paul, seeking the return of Jewish Christians (principally the Hel. Jewish believers), “went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem” (Acts 9:1, 2; 22:5; 26:12).
The circumstances of his conversion.
It was while traveling to Damascus to extradite Christians that Paul was confronted by the risen and glorified Christ in a manner which he considered comparable to the resurrection appearances to Peter, the other apostles and James (1 Cor 15:3-8). In Luke’s account in Acts 9 and the apostle’s speeches recorded in Acts 22 and 26, it is stated that at midday a light from heaven flashed about him and his cohorts, throwing them all to the ground and blinding Paul. Then a voice from heaven was heard to say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” Paul asked regarding the identity of the speaker, and was told, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” He was then instructed to rise and enter the city, and he would be told what to do. Stricken with blindness for three days, Paul was residing at the home of a man named Judas who lived on “the street called Straight,” when a Christian disciple by the name of Ananias was sent by God to minister to him. It was through Ananias that Paul’s sight was restored, he was baptized as a Christian, and further instructions were given him concerning God’s purpose for his life.
A number of problems present themselves in comparing the accounts of Paul’s conversion in Acts 9, 22, and 26; problems of the type frequently found in a comparison of the synoptic gospels—and, for that matter, found in any correlation of two or more separate narratives of any one historical event. The first concerns Luke’s statement in Acts 9:7 that Paul’s associates “stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one,” whereas Paul is represented in Acts 22:9 as saying that “those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me” and in Acts 26:14 as saying only “I heard a voice.” This may be cited as a flagrant contradiction which the author of Acts unwittingly incorporated into his finished product; though prob. it was understood by all concerned in the 1st century to mean that while the whole group traveling to Damascus heard the sound of the voice from heaven, only Paul understood the articulated words. See Acts of the Apostles.
A second problem concerns the reporting of the words heard by Paul. Whereas all three accounts have the words “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14), if we accept the reading of the better ancient MSS only the third adds the phrase: “It hurts you to kick against the goads.” The problem here, of course, had to do with the exact words of Jesus. Now it is well-known that “to kick against the goads” was a Greek idiom for opposition to deity (Euripides, Bacchanals 794, 795; Aeschylus, Prometheus 324, 325), and prob. it was known within Jewish circles that this was something of a catch phrase or byword employed by the Gentiles. It is well possible that in speaking to Agrippa II, Paul added this expression to the words of Jesus to make the king, whose native tongue and basic mentality were Greek, realize that correction by a voice from heaven meant rebuke from God Himself. It would hardly have been necessary for Paul (Acts 9) or for his Jewish audience at Jerusalem (Acts 22), since a voice from heaven (bath kol) had an unmistakable significance for any Jew. But in seeking to convey to a Gentile the revelation he had received—both in its explicit form and its implications—Paul seems to have found this Greek idiom a judicious vehicle for the expression of the full meaning of Jesus’ words as he understood them.
The problem as to when Paul received his commission to preach to the Gentiles is somewhat more difficult to solve. Acts 9 indicates that it was through Ananias, who was sent to explicate the meaning of the Damascus road encounter. But Acts 22, though alluding to Ananias’ ministry, associates the words “I will send you far away to the Gentiles” with a later vision while Paul was in the Jerusalem Temple; and Acts 26 seems to imply that the commission came while he was on the Damascus road. For Paul, however, the meeting with Jesus, the ministry of Ananias, and the later vision of confirmation in the Temple were prob. all parts of the same event. In fact, when the details of that Gentile ministry were later spelled out more fully on his first missionary journey (see discussion below), he still viewed this as only an extension of that original charge. Probably, therefore, Acts 9 presents the actual sequence of events connected with Paul’s conversion, Acts 22 adds the confirming vision at Jerusalem some three years later, and Acts 26 is an abbreviated testimony before the king—abbreviated so that the step by step account would not seem overly pedantic to his audience and since for Paul the events were inherently one.
The immediate sequel to his conversion was a three years period spent partly in Arabia (Nabatea?) and partly in Damascus (Gal 1:17, 18). During this time Paul seems to have been re-evaluating his life and the Scriptures from a Christocentric perspective and witnessing to Jews that Jesus is “the Son of God” and “the Christ” (Acts 9:20-22). Nothing is told about the importance of this period for Paul personally, though undoubtedly it was a time when many of the implications of his commitment to Jesus as God’s promised Messiah and his commission to carry this message to the Gentiles were being spelled out under the guidance of the Spirit.
There is no evidence in the New Testament relative to whether Paul had ever seen Jesus during His earthly ministry or not—the statement of 2 Corinthians 5:16 about having known Christ after the flesh is correctly interpreted by the RSV to mean that this former estimate of Jesus had been based on worldly standards alone, and thus has no bearing on the question at hand. Certainly, however, he had a vivid impression of Jesus’ character and claims during these early days, as gathered from Jewish reports and Christian witnesses and as seen through Pharisaic eyes. No man carries on a campaign of persecution without having what he believes to be sufficient information to fan his hatred. Paul’s knowledge of Jesus prior to his conversion seems only to have inflamed his antagonism, being convinced as he was that Jesus was a discredited impostor and His followers actually dangerous to the nation’s future in preaching their delusions.
Many have suggested that Paul’s conversion was prepared for by his contacts with Christians, and that unconsciously he was being conditioned by the logic of their arguments, the dynamic quality of their lives, and their fortitude under oppression. Certainly Luke makes the historical connection between the martyrdom of Stephen, the persecution of believers, and the conversion of Paul. But the suggestion that a logical connection is involved is nowhere certain. It is, of course, impossible to speak with any certainty about what was going on in Paul’s subconscious mind, for psychoanalysis two millennia or so later is hardly a fruitful exercise. Yet it is probable that Paul had taken up his task of persecution with full knowledge of the earnestness of his opponents, the stamina of the martyr, and the agony he would necessarily inflict. Fanaticism was not so foreign to the Palestine of his day as to leave him unaware of these facts, and it is quite possible that he was prepared for the emotional strain involved in persecuting those he believed to be misguided and dangerous foes. Nor need we suppose that the logic of the Christian preachers greatly affected him. His later references to the scandal of the cross indicate that for him this was the great stumbling block, which no amount of logic or verbal gymnastics could remove (1 Cor 1:23; Gal 5:11; cf. Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho 32, 89).
While his life in Judaism and his contacts with Christians were later acknowledged to have confirmatory value, they seem not to have been factors which drove Paul inevitably to a point of crisis. Only the Damascus encounter with Christ was powerful enough to cause the young Jewish rabbi to reconsider the death of Jesus; only his meeting with the risen Christ was sufficient to demonstrate that God had vindicated the claims and work of the One he was opposing. Humanly speaking, Paul was immune to the Gospel. Although he was ready to follow evidence to its conclusion, he was sure that no evidence could overturn the verdict of the cross; that is, that Christ died the death of a criminal. But God gives sufficient evidence to the earnest to convince and lead them on. And therefore the eternal God “was pleased,” as Paul says by way of reminiscence, “to reveal his Son to me” (Gal 1:16). Thus Paul was arrested by Christ, and made His own (Phil 3:12).
Having been met by Christ on the way to Damascus, three convictions became inescapably obvious to Paul. In the first place, despite zeal, superior credentials, and an assurance of doing God’s will (Rom 9:4, 5; 10:2-4), his life and activities in Judaism lay under the rebuke of God. A voice from heaven had corrected him, and there was nothing more that could be said. He had held tenaciously to the Mosaic law as having intrinsic authority, but failed to appreciate that it also bore instrumental authority; that is, that it had been given as a custodian to lead men on to faith in Jesus Christ (Gal 3:19-24). But now that Christ had come and the Gospel message had gone out, to refuse Him of whom the law speaks and to venerate the letter above the Person who is its object, is to revert to “weak and beggarly elemental spirits” (Gal 3:25-4:11).
Second, he could not escape the conclusion that the Jesus whom he was persecuting was alive, exalted, and in some manner to be associated with God, the Father, whom Israel worshiped. He had therefore to revise his whole estimate of the life, teaching and death of the Nazarene, for God obviously had vindicated Him in a manner beyond dispute. Thus he was compelled to agree with the Christians that Christ’s death on the cross, rather than discrediting Him as an impostor, was really God’s provision for man’s sin and was in fulfillment of prophecy. And he was compelled to acknowledge that Christ’s resurrection, also in fulfillment of prophecy, was proof of these facts and provides life to those who will receive Him (1 Cor 15:3ff.). In commitment to this risen Lord, he found (1) the ancient tension of covenant promise and anticipated fulfillment brought to consummation; and (2) true righteousness and intimate fellowship with God.
Ministry to diaspora Jews.
Arriving in Jerusalem, Paul took up the ministry to Hel. Jews—a ministry that had been neglected since Stephen’s death. But he faced the same opposition which he himself once had led, and seems to have gotten into the same difficulty as that which cost Stephen his life (Acts 9:26-29). This was in all likelihood the visit of fifteen days of which he speaks in Galatians 1:18-20. Evidently the Jerusalem church did not care to go through another series of events such as followed Stephen’s preaching, for when they realized what was taking place “they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him off to Tarsus” (Acts 9:30). Though it might seem to have been something of a personal rebuff from Paul’s perspective, such a departure was under divine approval, for in the Temple he received a vision which not only confirmed his apostleship to the Gentiles, but warned him to flee Jerusalem (Acts 22:17-21).
Paul is not mentioned in the period between these experiences in Jerusalem and his ministry at Antioch (Acts 11:25-30), though from his words in Galatians 1:21-24 it seems fairly certain that he continued his witness to dispersed Jews in Caesarea and his hometown of Tarsus. The cordiality of the Christians at Caesarea at the end of his third missionary journey lends some credence to an earlier association with Philip and the believers there. Many of the hardships and trials enumerated in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 may stem from situations faced at Caesarea and Tarsus during those days, for they find no place in the records of the later missionary journeys in Acts. Perhaps the ecstatic experience of 2 Corinthians 12:1-4 also comes from this period in his life.
Ministry to God-fearing Gentiles.
In the expansion of the Church occasioned by the persecutions in Jerusalem, certain believers who originally came from Cyprus and Cyrene carried the Gospel to Antioch in Syria and included Greeks in the scope of their ministry (Acts 11:19-21). There is some textual uncertainty as to whether the “great number” who heard their message and believed is to be understood as Greeks in the sense of Gentiles or Greeks in the sense of Hel. Jews, as in Acts 6:1. But in that the evidence from the MSS slightly favors the former and they are distinguished from Jews in the passage itself, it seems best to conclude that these Christian missionaries carried on a witness to Gentiles as an adjunct to their ministry to Jews—that is, through the synagogues and to God-fearing Gentiles (“Proselytes of the Gate”). When news of this ministry to both Jews and God-fearing Gentiles reached Jerusalem, the church there sent Barnabas, a Levite originally from Cyprus (Acts 4:36), to check on conditions at Antioch. We read that “when he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad; and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose; for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:22-24).
It was Barnabas who brought Paul to Antioch, having gone to Tarsus to find him (Acts 11:25, 26). Barnabas had earlier acted on Paul’s behalf when there was suspicion about his conversion among the Jerusalem disciples (Acts 9:27). And now, knowing of his commission to the Gentiles, remembering the impact of his testimony, conscious of his abilities, and needing help in the ministry among the Gentile converts, Barnabas involved Paul in the work at Antioch. Here Paul joined not only Barnabas, but also Symeon “who was called Niger” (a black man), Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been raised in Herod’s court (Acts 13:1). The Greek construction of the passage suggests that Barnabas, Symeon and Lucius functioned as “prophets,” which prob. means that they were the ones principally engaged in the task of proclaiming the good news of salvation in Christ Jesus. Manaen and Paul were the “teachers,” which seems to signify that theirs was the primary responsibility of instructing the converts concerning Biblical foundations and implications. In this capacity Paul ministered for a year.
In such an enterprise, Paul was, of course, involved in a mission to Gentiles. And he may have thought this to be all that was involved in the commission received at his conversion. It is probable, however, that the Antioch mission in those early days was carried out exclusively in terms of the synagogue and as an adjunct to the ministry to Jews, without any consideration being given to whether it were proper to appeal more widely and directly to Gentiles. Believers in Jesus at Antioch were prob. related in some way to the synagogue; whether they were Jewish or Gentile in background. And thus in the eyes of many Jewish believers, the conversion of God-fearing Gentiles who had come under the ministry of Judaism to some extent prior to their allegiance to Jesus would have been viewed as somewhat similar to that of Jewish proselytes. However, others within the city, evidently non-believers with more perception regarding the Antioch church’s essential commitments and in anticipation of the later debates as to whether believers in Jesus had an identity of their own or belonged to the Jewish commonwealth, called them “Christians”—that is, “Christ followers” or “those of the household of Christ.”
During Paul’s ministry in Antioch, a Jerusalemite prophet by the name of Agabus prophesied of an approaching famine, and the church at Antioch sent aid to their brethren in the Holy City by the hands of Barnabas and Paul (Acts 11:27-30). The famine is spoken of in Acts as occurring during the time of Claudius (a.d. 41-54). It can, however, be dated more precisely at about a.d. 46, by (1) information from the Roman historians Tacitus and Suetonius concerning a widespread famine about this time; (2) evidence preserved in the papyri concerning the high price of grain in Egypt also about this time; and (3) Josephus’ account of the Egyp. queen Helena. A convert to Judaism, Helena gathered supplies from Egypt and Cyprus for famine-stricken Jerusalem soon after her arrival on a pilgrimage to the city about a.d. 45 or 46 (Antiquities XX. 51-53).
If the equation of Galatians 2:1-10 and Acts 11:30 is correct, Paul and Barnabas, having been sent by the Antioch church with aid for stricken believers of Jerusalem, then took the opportunity to hold a private discussion with James, Peter and John on the issues of the nature of the Gospel, the validity of a mission to Gentiles, and the relation of Gentile converts to the law. They also took along Titus, an uncircumcised Gentile Christian, whose presence might have been intended as something of a test case. He may, however, have been included with no thought other than the help he would be on the mission—and, perhaps, with some failure to appreciate fully the pressures that could be brought to bear because of him. Paul mentions the reactions of two groups at Jerusalem in his report of the conversations: (1) that of certain “false brethren secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (Gal 2:4, 5); and (2) that of the “pillar” apostles in the Jerusalem church (Gal 2:6-10). Whether the pseudo-brethren were Jewish spies sent to see what treachery the Christians were planning with Gentiles or whether they were angry Jewish Christian disputants who threatened to publish what was happening at Antioch unless Titus were circumcised, we cannot say. But the extremely important point to note is that, despite mounting pressures and possibly some uncertainties, the Jerusalem apostles agreed with Paul on the substance of the Gospel and the validity of a mission to Gentiles, though, admittedly, they felt themselves committed to a different sphere of ministry than his. Moreover, they made no demands as to the necessity of Gentile believers being circumcised. As yet, however, the issue of a direct approach to Gentiles apart from the ministrations of the synagogue did not come to the fore. That was to be raised on the first missionary journey, and would be the occasion for resurrecting the whole complex of issues again at the Jerusalem Council.
First missionary journey
The first missionary journey of Paul (Acts 13-14) often is treated as something of a “filler” inserted by Luke as a transition to get from the circumstances of the Jerusalem church under Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12) to the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15), or relegated to the status of a displaced aspect of the Pauline missionary endeavors which presumably occurred much later. But to class this period of Paul’s labors as insignificant, invented or misplaced, overlooks an important advance in the preaching of the Gospel and destroys any adequate rationale for events which follow.
The course of the mission.
Leaving Antioch and its port city Seleucia, the missionary party set out for Barnabas’ native Cyprus. And from Salamis on the E to Paphos on the W, they preached the Gospel throughout the island, though, always “in the synagogues of the Jews” (Acts 13:5). At Paphos, however, the proconsul Sergius Paulus requested that they present their message before him. The meeting may have been intended only as an inquisition into the nature of their preaching so that the proconsul might be in a position to head off any features which could cause disturbance within the Jewish community on the island. As a “command performance” of a somewhat devious type, it could hardly have been avoided. But despite the opposition of Bar-Jesus the magician, and impressed by the effect of the curse pronounced by Paul upon this “son of the devil,” Sergius Paulus believed (Acts 13:6-12). Here was something quite unexpected, for the Roman proconsul seems not to have been related in any way to Judaism or its institutions. Here was a situation which could hardly have appeared otherwise to the apostles than the counterpart of the conversion of the Roman centurion Cornelius (Acts 10:1-11:18); indeed, in some ways going beyond the case of Cornelius. But though the Jerusalem church seems never to have taken Cornelius’ conversion as establishing a precedent for its ministry, for its mission was to Israel, Paul, whose call was to the Gentiles, undoubtedly saw in this incident at Paphos something more of what a mission to Gentiles logically involved. At this point in the record, significantly, he begins to be called by his Roman name, Paul, rather than his Jewish name, Saul (Acts 13:9); for from this point on he is prepared to meet a Gentile of the empire as himself a member of that empire, apart from any necessary common ground as supplied by the synagogue. And from this time on, with but two understandable exceptions (Acts 14:12; 15:12), Paul’s name always appears first in connection with that of Barnabas.
From Cyprus the missioners sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, on the mainland of Asia Minor (Acts 13:13). No account of a ministry in Perga at this time is given, though on their return visit they preached there (Acts 14:25). The usual explanation for this bypassing of Perga and moving on to Antioch of Pisidia is that Paul prob. was ill, perhaps with a case of malaria, and thus he redirected his mission to gain the higher ground of the plateau to the N. While this may be true, it can as readily be postulated that the ignoring of Perga at this time was largely because of uncertainty within the missionary party itself regarding the validity of a direct approach to Gentiles. Undoubtedly after Paphos the discussion among the missionaries concerning their further ministry centered on the implications of Sergius Paulus’ conversion.
It was at this time, the account in Acts tells us, that John Mark left the group and returned to Jerusalem. Perhaps it was this reconsideration of their mission, and the inferences being drawn by Paul from recent events, that were the real reasons for Mark’s departure. While Paul saw in the Paphos experience the explication of his original commission, John Mark may well have felt concerned for the effect such news of a direct Christian ministry to Gentiles would have in Jerusalem and upon the Jerusalem church—and wanted no part in it himself. Explanations of Mark’s defection which stress homesickness, the rigors of travel, a change in leadership within the group, or an illness of Paul necessitating a changed itinerary are at best only partial, and at worst unconvincing. They fail to account for the obstinate opposition of Paul toward Mark as recorded in Acts 15:37-39, which implies that Mark’s departure was for more than merely personal reasons.
At Antioch of Pisidia, Paul proclaimed to Jews and “devout converts to Judaism” assembled in the synagogue on the sabbath day that Jesus is the Messiah and Savior promised in Holy Writ (Acts 13:14-43). On the next sabbath, however, when a great number of Gentiles expressed their interest in Paul’s message, the Jewish community went on record as being in opposition to the Gospel; and Paul turned directly to the Gentiles in continuation of his mission in the city, finding great receptivity among them (Acts 13:44-49). Here the typical pattern of the Pauline mission was established: an initial proclamation to Jews and Gentile adherents to Judaism, whether full proselytes or more loosely associated, and then, being refused further audience in the synagogue, a direct ministry among Gentiles. This pattern was followed in every city with a Jewish population visited by Paul. We know this from Acts, with the exception of Athens.
Also at Pisidian Antioch the pattern of opposition to Paul was established (Acts 13:50). The Jews found occasion to reject his message on the grounds that he was willing to approach Gentiles apart from the institutions of the ancestral faith. As Paul saw it, Jewish obstinacy made such action necessary if Gentiles were to hear the Gospel and be brought to the one true God. But as they viewed it, this disproved the claim that in Jesus of Nazareth the promises to the fathers have been brought to fulfillment. For the Jewish leaders, Christianity was a religion to be sharply distinguished from Judaism and its Scriptures—as Paul’s willingness to work apart from its institutions demonstrated—and therefore was not entitled to protection under the Roman law of one religion for one people. While Christianity sought legitimacy in the eyes of Rome by nestling under the wings of Judaism, its mode of approach proved that it was really an invasion requiring active repulsion. Thus the Jews worked through “the devout women of high standing” (proselyte wives of Roman officials?), who influenced their husbands to declare Paul and his party disruptive to the “Peace of Rome.” On such a pretext persecution arose in Antioch, and the missionary party was expelled. And that pattern was often reproduced throughout the Pauline missionary journeys.
The ministry at Iconium resulted in “a great company, both of Jews and of Greeks,” coming to Christ (Acts 14:1). Again, however, the issue was raised concerning Christianity’s claim to continuity with the religion of Israel and to protection as a legal religion; and when the local authorities sided with the Jewish view and persecution became intolerable, the apostles fled to Lystra and Derbe (Acts 14:2-6). The reference to Lystra and Derbe as “cities of Lycaonia” (Acts 14:6) suggests that Iconium was a city of another district. Because of the location of these three cities in the same geographic area, this has been cited in the past as an example of Luke’s inaccuracy of details. The research of William M. Ramsay, however, has shown that in the period between a.d. 37 and 72—and only during this period—Lystra and Derbe were ruled directly by the Romans whereas Iconium was governed by Antiochus; and that while the region in which Lystra and Derbe were located was officially known as Galatica Lycaonia and that of Iconium as Lyaconia Antiochiana, more popularly they were called Lyaconia and Phrygia. The fact that Lystra and Derbe were cities under a different jurisdiction than Iconium was therefore a matter of real importance to Paul and Barnabas, for in crossing the regional border they were able to elude the Phrygian authorities.
Lystra and Derbe proved to be fruitful areas for the sowing of the Gospel (Acts 14:21), though not without their difficulties. One convert at Lystra on this first journey was Timothy (Acts 16:1; 20:4), whom Paul later included as a member of his missionary team. A disappointment at Lystra was the fickleness of the people in their response to the power of God and the issues involved in Paul’s preaching. On the one hand, having witnessed the cripple healed at the command of Paul, they were ready to worship the apostles as the gods Zeus (the Roman god Jupiter) and Hermes (the Roman god Mercury) come in the guise of men. Then the apostles were hard-pressed to quiet the mob, speaking impassionately in an attempt to redirect their adoration (Acts 14:8-18). Yet, on the other hand, they seem to have been easily persuaded that if these men were not gods, they were prob. impostors; and under the urging of Jews from Antioch and Iconium, their veneration turned to hatred and the actual stoning of Paul (Acts 14:19).
The initial and wildly emotional response of the people is understandable to some extent in light of an ancient legend which the poet Ovid retells, and which prob. was familiar to many in the region of southern Asia Minor. According to the legend (Metamorphoses VIII), Zeus and Hermes once came to the area disguised as mortals seeking lodging. But though they asked at a thousand homes, they were not accepted into any. Finally, asking at a humble and small home built only of straw and reeds, they were received by an elderly couple, Philemon and his wife Baucis, who provided them with a banquet which strained their poor resources, but which was offered willingly. In appreciation, the gods transformed their cottage into a temple with a golden roof and marble columns. They also appointed Philemon and Baucis to be the priest and priestess of the temple; and instead of eventually dying, they were transformed into an oak tree and a linden. However, in vengeance on the people who showed no hospitality, the gods destroyed their houses. Just where this was supposed to have taken place is vague, Ovid saying only that it occurred in “the Phrygian hill-country.” Nonetheless, it appears that, remembering the legend and seeing the healing of the man lame from birth, the people of Lystra believed that the gods Zeus and Hermes had returned. They wanted to pay the proper homage rather than suffer the consequences.
The first missionary journey prob. took place during the years a.d. 46 through 48; though, admittedly, this is only an estimate based on the dating of earlier and later events. Having spent about two years evangelizing Cyprus and southern Asia Minor, the apostles revisited the churches which they had planted—instructing the believers further in the doctrine of Christ, exhorting them to remain faithful to the Lord despite opposition, and appointing elders for the continuance of the ministry (Acts 14:21-23). Then after preaching in Perga, they returned to Antioch in Syria. And having gathered the believers at Antioch together, “they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27).
The significance of the mission.
In the experience of the Church, Gentiles had always (with only one exception) come to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and their Lord after having sustained some relation to Judaism, either as proselytes (Nicolaus of Acts 6:5, and possibly the eunuch of Acts 8:26-39) or as “Proselytes of the Gate” (the “Greeks” of Acts 11:20-26). Only Cornelius’ conversion did not conform to this pattern, but that was viewed as quite exceptional and not as the occasion for a revision of policy—though it was later cited in support of Paul’s procedure (Acts 15:7-11). Though Paul had earlier discussed with the leaders of the Jerusalem church the commission which he had received to minister to Gentiles, evidently at the time both he and they had in mind an outreach that would be conducted through the synagogues exclusively.
The practice inaugurated by Paul on his first missionary journey, however, went far beyond these expectations. The conversion of Sergius Paulus apart from any previous connection with the synagogue had become for Paul that which the conversion of Cornelius had not become for the Jerusalem apostles, for in it he saw God providentialy explicating more fully what was involved in a mission to Gentiles. Furthermore, God had wonderfully stamped His approval on such a methodology by the increasing number of Gentiles whose hearts He had touched. While the synagogue was the appropriate place to begin his ministry in each city, offering as it did an audience of both Jews and Gentiles that had every reason to be spiritually sensitive and theologically alert, it was not the only sphere wherein his ministry could be carried out. Jew and Gentile stood on an equal footing before God (Rom 2:1-3:20), and with differing backgrounds and sensibilities, they could be appealed to separately and in a different manner.
This was Paul’s “gospel,” of which he speaks in Galatians 1:11-2:10. It was not a difference in content, but a distinction in the pattern of redemptive logistics. By revelation, the nature of his ministry had been indicated; by circumstances providentially controlled, specifics of that call had been explicated. Jew and Gentile stood as equals before God in condemnation, in spiritual need, and in their status before God when they were renewed “in Christ.” As Paul wrote in later life, “the mystery was made known to me by revelation...which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that is, how the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Eph 3:3-6).
Jewish responses to the mission.
In turning to the question of Jewish responses to Paul’s first missionary journey, one is immediately confronted by the thorny issue of the relation of the Galatian letter to the periods of Paul’s ministry; for if it relates to the period under discussion, it furnishes extremely important evidence for the subject at hand. Much has been written as to whether in the letter Paul was using “Galatia” in an ethnological sense addressing people of Celtic descent (Gauls) in the N of the Roman province of Galatia, and therefore writing on his third missionary journey, or employing the term in a political sense addressing a mixed population living in the southern portion of the province, and thus possibly writing after his first missionary journey or early on his second. Every work on “special introduction” treats the literary and historical matters that pertain to this question, and there is no need to reproduce them here. One point drawn from the Pauline polemic in Galatians, however, needs to be made at this time: that Paul’s silence in Galatians regarding the decision of the Jerusalem Council forces the irreconcilable dilemma of declaring that either (1) the Acts account of the Council and its decision in Acts 15 is pure fabrication; or (2) the letter to the Galatians was written prior to the Council.
The fact that Paul felt obliged to give an explanation of his visit to Jerusalem implies that his adversaries in Galatia had been using one or both of those visits in some manner detrimental to his position and authority. And that Paul should take up a discussion of his contacts with the Jerusalem leaders, and for one reason or another fail to mention the decision reached at the Council (accepting for the moment both the veracity of Acts 15 and a late date for the composition of Galatians), is entirely inconceivable. The decision of the Council was the coup de grâce to the whole conflict. Nor will it do to argue that since the decrees promulgated at the end of the Council could have been set forth apart from Paul’s knowledge (which is highly improbable), there is also the possibility that Paul was unaware of the major decision of the Council. Whatever is said of the decrees themselves, the overriding decision of the Council was so completely in harmony with Paul’s view that there is no reason for his being uninformed or that it be kept from him. Either Paul did not know of such a decision when he wrote to the Galatians because that decision as recorded in Acts 15 has no basis in fact, or he did not know of it because he wrote to the Galatians before it had been reached. And while it often is asserted otherwise, one need not conclude that the only recourse is to skepticism of the account in Acts.
Similarly, on the assumption that the Antioch episode reported in Galatians 2:11-21 took place after the Jerusalem Council, Paul’s recounting of the clash between himself and Peter at the appearance of “certain men...from James” undercuts his whole argument and turns to the advantage of the Judaizing opponents, and not to himself—for it would bring to light his recognition of a cleavage between himself and the Jerusalem leaders that was only superficially patched up at the Council. The inclusion of such an incident at a time before the Council is understandable. But to use it in support of his argument after the Council leaves some doubt regarding the logical ability of the apostle. Rather than attempt to save Paul’s rationality by reversing the order of events in Galatians, thus making Galatians 2:11-21 refer to a time before the Council and Galatians 2:1-10 apply to the Council, as some have suggested, we should accept the most natural interpretation: that all of these biographical statements were written prior to the Council. Admittedly, there are difficulties of detail with an early dating of the letter, but the problems confronted in accepting the later date are damaging to any high view of the rationality of Paul or the veracity of Acts.
Accepting, then, the theory that Galatians was written to converts living in the southern part of the Roman province of Galatia and at a time prior to the Jerusalem Council, the letter is Paul’s earliest extant writing, being composed prob. about a.d. 49 at Antioch in Syria—or perhaps on the journey from Antioch to Jerusalem. Important for consideration here, therefore, is the fact that the letter to the Galatians seems to reflect the responses toward Paul and his Gentile mission of three types of Jews: (1) the unbelieving Jews of Jerusalem; (2) the apostolic leaders in the Jerusalem church; and (3) the Judaizers.
In view of the Jewish reaction at home, the Christian apostles of Jerusalem were faced with the practical necessity of minimizing the unnecessary conflicts that might arise between Judaism and the Christian mission. Therefore one should prob. view the messengers “from James” as bringing, not an ultimatum from a faction of extremists, but an urgent warning that increasing rumors of Jewish Christian fraternizing with uncircumcised Gentiles in Antioch and southern Asia Minor were putting all the churches in Judea in considerable danger. In such a situation, Peter might have thought it expedient to modify his practice for a while until the danger abated; and the Antioch Jewish Christians, together with “even Barnabas” (Gal 2:13), seem to have agreed with him. Paul, it must be noticed, did not accuse Peter of having wrong principles, but of being untrue to the principles he professed (Gal 2:14ff.). This suggests that in Paul’s view Peter’s action was undertaken for reasons of expediency, and not as a matter of principle as the Judaizers advocated. But though Peter’s action was professedly only a matter of expediency, Paul saw that it did touch upon an essential principle. For to distinguish between Jewish and Gentile believers on this basis, even though temporarily and under external pressure, was to question ultimately the validity of those Gentiles’ Christian faith, and to drive a wedge between the Jewish and the Gentile missions which never could be completely extricated.
Considerations of expediency, however, gave way in certain quarters to conclusions justified on principle. And as so often happens with the increase of pressure, emotional responses and pragmatically sanctioned procedures tended by some to become buttressed theologically. Thus certain Jewish Christians followed the Pauline circuit in southern Galatia preaching that it was not theologically necessary for Gentile converts to become circumcised and devotees of the Mosaic law, and others from Jerusalem came to Antioch of Syria insisting that “unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). That behind these Judaizers stood James and Peter is a fiction which finds no support in historical fact; for while the Jerusalem apostles were vitally interested in reducing tensions between Judaism and Jewish Christianity wherever possible, they were not prepared to sacrifice the principles of the Gospel for the sake of expediency when they became aware of the implications involved. The Judaizers, on the other hand, while prob. first justifying their legalism on grounds of expediency, were now also arguing on principle the necessity of circumcision and the keeping of the law. According to 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16, Paul regarded unbelieving Jews as the ultimate source of opposition to the Gentile mission. Thus when he says in Galatians 6:13 that the Judaizers “desire to have you circumcised that they may glory in your flesh,” he prob. means it was so that they could point out to non-Christian Jews that the Gospel does in fact relate Gentiles to the Jewish world in some fashion. Undoubtedly the Judaizers thought of themselves as acting conscientiously. But as Paul viewed it, they wanted “a good showing in the flesh...only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ” (Gal 6:12).
The Jerusalem Council
The practice inaugurated by Paul on his first missionary journey of appealing directly to Gentiles was a matter of far-reaching concern at Jerusalem. In the Gentile churches, as well, issues needed to be clarified, esp. in light of the claims and activities of the Judaizers. It was at the Council of Jerusalem, prob. convened in the year a.d. 49, that matters came to a head and decisions were made which were to affect greatly the course of both the mission to the Jews and that of Paul to the Gentiles.
The issues involved.
As the true Israel and faithful remnant within the nation, the Jerusalem church naturally expected the Christian mission to proceed along lines laid out of old by God. Its raison d’être was built on this assumption. And in its pragmatic polemic, it could point to the fact that, with very few exceptions, commitment to Jesus did not make Jews less Jewish. In some cases, as a matter of fact, it even brought Gentiles who had been loosely associated with the synagogue into greater conformity to Jewish ethical ideals. At any rate, Christianity had always asserted its essential relation to the religion of Israel and to the nation, even though that relation might be variously defined within the movement and contain elements of unresolved ambiguity. Many believed, however, that the new policy of Paul, though he claimed it to be inherently involved in his commission to the Gentiles as given by Christ and as earlier acknowledged by the Jerusalem apostles themselves, undercut both the theoretic basis for and the practical polemic in the Jerusalem church’s ministry. Paul’s approach seemed to them to disprove his claim of continuity with Israel’s faith, and for Jewish believers to acknowledge the legitimacy of such an approach was to bring their evangelistic endeavors under the same indictment in the eyes of their Jewish compatriots.
After considerable debate between Paul and Barnabas on the one side and the Judaizers who claimed the backing of the Jerusalem apostles on the other (Acts 15:1, 2), and realizing that this same debate was going on in the newly founded churches of southern Asia Minor, the Antioch church sent a delegation headed by Paul and Barnabas to Jerusalem to clarify matters with the apostles and elders there. The Antioch group came with news of the recent advance in the Christian mission, which they announced in Phoenicia and Samaria on their journey to Jerusalem in terms of “the conversion of the Gentiles” (Acts 15:3)—undoubtedly meaning the conversion of Gentiles on the basis of a direct ministry, for the presence of proselyte and God-fearing Gentile converts in the church was hardly newsworthy in the year a.d. 49. The delegation from Antioch was particularly concerned that the relation between the Jerusalem apostles’ policy of expediency and the Judaizers’ message based on principle be clarified, for outside of Jerusalem there was great confusion because of the Judaizers’ habit of equating the two and thus claiming that they were backed by the whole of the Jerusalem church. The Jerusalem believers, for their part, were concerned that the implications involved in a direct approach to Gentiles receive a thorough airing, and that Paul and Barnabas be directly confronted with the impasse created for Christians in Jerusalem by their recently inaugurated policy. The issues, while closely related, seem to have boiled down to two: (1) the legitimacy of a direct ministry to Gentiles; and (2) the relation of a policy based on expediency to one founded on principle in the continued observance of the Mosaic law. The broader questions regarding the validity of a mission to Gentiles generally and the necessity for Jewish Christians to retain their relation to Jewish customs and institutions as a way of life seem to have been assumed as basically settled earlier, though, of course, there were undoubtedly some who felt that these issues had been thrown open to reevaluation. For the leaders at the Council, however, matters now concerned the explication of these commitments in the light of recent developments.
The course of the debate.
In the debate that ensued within the Council, contributions to the discussion are recorded on the part of four groups or individuals. Some Christian Pharisees, evidently in defense of the Judaizers, set the problem by arguing: “It is necessary to circumcise them [Gentile converts], and to charge them to keep the law of Moses” (Acts 15:5). From the context of Luke’s account, it seems that “necessary” meant both practically expedient and theologically required, since, for them, the issues were inextricably intertwined. In reply, Peter cited the conversion of Cornelius as indicating God’s attitude toward the reception of Gentiles and as being a valid precedent to the Pauline policy (Acts 15:6-11). His argument, therefore, was to the effect that since the precedent for a direct ministry to Gentiles had been set within the Jewish Christian mission—though, of course, the Jerusalem church had never followed it out—Paul’s practice in principle was not a revolutionary departure. Barnabas and Paul then told of their witness to Gentiles on that first missionary journey, dealing esp. with how God gave His seal of approval through miracles and signs (Acts 15:12). Undoubtedly they also drew the parallel between the cases of Cornelius and Sergius Paulus. It is interesting to note that here the Acts account lists Barnabas first in naming the two apostles, since it was Barnabas who prob. took the lead in explaining their activities in this situation where his word carried more weight with many than did that of Paul.
In summation, James concluded that on the theological issue of Gentile believers being related to the Mosaic law, “we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God” since the precedent had indeed been set within their own mission and the prophecy of Amos 9:11, 12 speaks expressly of Gentile inclusion (Acts 15:13-19). On the practical matter of the effect of the Pauline mission on the Christian witness in Jerusalem, and with some fear that Gentile converts might flaunt their liberty in disregard for the scruples of Jewish believers, he suggested that Gentile Christians be asked to keep themselves from (1) whatever is associated with idolatry; (2) immorality in all its forms; (3) the eating of animals killed by strangulation; and (4) the eating of blood (Acts 15:20-29). And with James’ advice the Church concurred, sending out Judas Barsabbas and Silas to explain the intent of the decision and the decree to believers at Antioch.
The nature of the decision.
This was the type of decision consistent with the character and commitments of James and the Jerusalem apostles as portrayed elsewhere in Acts and Galatians. They could hardly have officially commended the Pauline policies. To do so would have meant for them the same fate as that suffered by the Hellenists. But neither could they be found resisting the general teaching of Scripture or the evident acceptance of the Gentiles by God expressed in miraculous and providential fashion. On the other hand, they could not overlook the practical demands involved in a ministry to Israel. Therefore, while they could not clasp the Gentile mission to their bosom or condone certain excesses which were rumored among the Jews to be prevalent in the Gentile world, they did disassociate themselves from the disruptive preaching of the Judaizers. And that was of immense importance to Paul and the furtherance of the Gentile mission.
When one considers the situation of the Jerusalem church in a.d. 49, the decision reached by the Jerusalem Christians must be considered one of the boldest and most magnanimous in the annals of church history. While still attempting to minister exclusively to the nation, they refused to impede the progress of that other branch of the Christian mission whose every success meant further oppression for them. All they asked was that in view of Jewish fears and sensibilities, the Gentile converts be instructed to abstain from certain practices which have been traditionally classified as the heinous vices of heathenism (cf. the so called Noachian commands of BT Sanhedrin 56b, evidently based upon Exod 34:15, 16 and Lev 16:1-18:30, and the listings of heinous ethical sins in Mishnah Aboth 5:11, BT Yoma 9b and BT Sanhedrin 74a). To such a decree Paul seems to have been happy to concede, since it stemmed from practical considerations of Jewish-Christian relationships and was not proposed as a basis of righteousness.
The effect of the decision made at Jerusalem was far-reaching. In the first place, it freed the Gospel from any necessary entanglement with Judaism and the institutions of Israel, though without renouncing the legitimacy of a continued Christian expression and mission within those confines. Thus, the Gentile and Jewish missions of the church were able to progress side by side in the decade to follow without any essential conflict. Second, reactions to Paul within the Jerusalem church were clarified. It is possible that some of the Jewish believers were even more fixed in their enmity than before. But others of the Christian community at Jerusalem came to have more positive attitudes toward him, as seems to have been the case with John Mark (see discussion below). And some felt themselves happier in a Gentile ministry than at Jerusalem because of the deliberations of the Council, as was evidently true of Silas (Acts 15:27, 32, 34, 40). Third, the decision made at the Council had the effect of permanently antagonizing the Jews. From this time forward, the Christian mission within the nation—and esp. to Jews in and around Jerusalem—would face very rough sledding indeed. Paul said in Romans 11:28 to a predominantly Gentile audience, that the Jewish people, so far as concerns the Gospel, “are enemies of God, for your sake.”
Second missionary journey
A further geographical advance in the proclamation of the Gospel occurred on the second missionary journey of Paul, for, although expecting at its inception to carry on the Gentile mission within the confines of Asia Minor, the apostle was directed into Macedonia and Achaia, regions of southeastern Europe. The account is given in Acts 15:36-18:22, with the journey spanning the years of approximately a.d. 49 to 52.
Two missionary teams.
After the disruption caused by the Judaizers had been settled at Antioch, Paul desired to revisit the churches which had been founded on the first missionary journey. With this proposal Barnabas agreed. However, concerned for his cousin’s spiritual development, he desired to take John Mark with them again. The request of Barnabas suggests that Mark’s thinking regarding Paul and the Gentile mission had undergone a change of direction since his earlier defection, else he would never have wanted to involve himself in that which he had earlier renounced. The Jerusalem Council prob. played a large part in his reevaluation of the issues, and now, wiser heads and hearts prevailing, he accepted the legitimacy of Paul’s approach. But Paul did not care to have him along. Perhaps it was because of the report Mark gave when he returned to the congregation at Jerusalem that the Judaizing activity was stirred up against the mission originally. If this were so, Barnabas might have viewed Mark’s presence on the team and his testimony to a change of mind as strategic in revisiting Christians who had known Mark. For Paul, however, the wound was too deep and the scars yet too tender to permit close association with one who had possibly, even though unwittingly, been a contributing factor in the original conflict. And while Mark may have experienced a real change of heart and mind, renouncing all Judaizing tendencies and professing to be solidly in support of the apostolic proclamation, Paul seems to have taken the position that the issues were too great and the welfare of the churches too important for them to risk his vacillations or to be reminded of earlier dissent within the party itself by his presence. With such a view, Barnabas found himself in complete disagreement, and in their “sharp contention,” the two apostles found it best to part and carry on separate ministries. Thus, Barn abas went with Mark back to Cyprus, where the mission had originated and where Mark would be most effective, and Paul selected Silas as his new colleague, returning to the fields in Asia Minor (Acts 15:36-41).
Contention among Christians is never pleasant nor praiseworthy; and although the argument of Paul and Barnabas is described, there is no word condoning it or suggesting it as normative. Luke has simply portrayed his hero and the events of the time, “warts and all.” Without attempting to minimize the seriousness of the matter, it must be noted, however, that the disagreement seems to have centered on the issues at stake, and did not, to judge by Paul’s later remarks about the other persons involved, degenerate to the level of personal slander. On his third missionary journey Paul alluded to Barnabas in a letter to the Corinthians, classing him with himself as an apostle of highest rank (1 Cor 9:6). Later to Christians in the Lycus Valley of southern Asia Minor, who may have held some animosity toward Mark because of what they had heard regarding his early defection, Paul urged that John Mark be received should he come to them (Col 4:10); and in his final letter prior to martyrdom, he instructed Timothy to bring Mark with him “for he is very useful in serving me” (2 Tim 4:11). Evidently even earnest and godly men of the highest order can differ, requiring a separation of ways; and while such a separation is never commended, neither does Scripture place a stigma upon either party when they separate apart from personal invective and attitudes of vindictiveness. In this case, of course, God used the difference to send out two missionary teams instead of one. And although Barnabas’ ministry is not further detailed by Luke, one cannot take such an omission as a hint of disapproval. To judge by the later references of Paul to these two men, Barnabas and Mark evidently did excellent work in Cyprus. But Paul was Luke’s hero, and with the Pauline ministry came the distinctive advances in the Gentile mission.
The choice of Silas as Paul’s colleague was opportune, for he possessed a number of qualifications eminently suited to the Gentile mission as it went forward in the 50s of the 1st century In the first place, of course, he was a leading Jerusalemite Christian able to represent sentiment as it existed in the church at Jerusalem (Acts 15:22, 27). He was also a prophet able to speak effectively to Gentiles (Acts 15:32); and from Paul’s continued reference to him by his Roman name Silvanus (1 Thess. 1:1; 2 Thess 1:1), one may deduce that he was prepared to meet Gentiles on their own ground. In addition, he was a Roman citizen able to claim immunity from local persecution when necessary (Acts 16:37). As such, he fitted into and nicely complemented the mission of Paul. This easy association of Silas first with the Jerusalem apostles, then with Paul on the second and third missionary journeys, and finally with Peter again (1 Pet 5:12), is both an indication and an expression of the basic unity which existed between the two sections of early Christianity and their respective leaders.
The ministry in Asia Minor.
Leaving Syrian Antioch, Paul and Silas first visited the churches of Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:41). Believers in these areas prob. had been converted through the witness emanating from the church at Antioch, though some may have been won to the Lord by Paul during his earlier Tarsian ministry. Then traveling through the mountain passes forming the Cilician Gates, they came to Derbe and Lystra, and from there went on to the other churches of southern Asia Minor founded on the first missionary journey (Acts 16:1, 4). In all of the churches they announced the decision reached at the Jerusalem Council and gave instruction regarding the decrees formulated to relieve tensions between Jewish and Gentile believers, thereby strengthening the churches in the Christian faith. They also continued the proclamation of the Gospel, and many more were converted to Jesus Christ (Acts 16:4, 5).
At Lystra, Paul found the young man Timothy, a convert of the first journey, and asked that he join Silas and himself in their travels and ministry. Timothy’s grandmother, Lois, and his mother, Eunice, were devout Jews who had become fervent Christians (Acts 16:1; 2 Tim 1:5; 3:15). His father, however, was a Gentile who seems to have had no commitment to either Israel’s God or the person of Christ. Since Timothy was a converted half-Jew, raised by his devout Jewish mother and grandmother and therefore would undoubtedly be considered a Jewish Christian by man, Paul had him circumcised so as not to offend the Jews unduly (Acts 16:3). While arguing strongly against the circumcision of Gentile converts, Paul never disputed the right—even the practical necessity in view of circumstances—for Jewish Christians to continue the practice of circumcision.
Many commentators have viewed Acts 16:6 as indicating that after revisiting the churches of southern Asia Minor, Paul and Silas went directly to the northern part of the province of Galatia and there established the churches to which the letter to the Galatians was later addressed. This theory grew up in the early patristic period at a time when the political boundaries of Galatia had been altered to conform to the ethnological grouping of Gauls living principally in the N. Thus they excluded the southern territory in which Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe were located, so that it did not occur to the fathers that the Galatian letter could have been written to churches in the S. The wording of Acts 16:6 in the Greek (wherein one article precedes two nouns of the same case connected by the conjunction “and”) suggests, however, that the v. should read: “And when they had gone through the region of Phrygic-Galatia”; which would then specify a southern Galatian ministry, and give no support to a “North Galatian” thesis.
At the inception of the second journey, Paul seems to have intended extending the Gentile mission into the rich Roman province of Asia, in western Asia Minor. Having therefore strengthened the churches founded during his previous missionary endeavor, he sought to continue westward. But in some manner, perhaps through the prophetic Silas, he was “forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia” (Acts 16:6b). He then decided to make for the large Roman cities on the coast of the Black Sea in the province of Bithynia, but again “the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them” (Acts 16:7). Not knowing precisely where they should minister, though aware that God had called them to move forward in the evangelization of the Gentiles the missionary party turned toward Troas, located on the coast of the Aegean Sea. And at Troas, in a vision during the night, Paul saw a man of Macedonia who urged him to “come over to Macedonia and help us” (Acts 16:8, 9). Accepting this as direction from God, the apostles set their sights on the possibilities for evangelism in the cities beyond the Aegean to the W (Acts 16:10). It is at this point in the narrative that the third person pronoun changes to the first person, which has usually been taken to indicate that here Luke joined the missionary party—and which may also imply that Luke was employed by God in some manner in the “Macedonian vision” itself.
The advance into Europe.
The mission to Macedonia began at Philippi, the leading city of the province and a Roman colony (Acts 16:11, 12). The city seems to have been devoid of any sizable Jewish population, for Paul had to seek out the devout worshipers of God on the sabbath day and found only women gathered by a river. Jewish law prescribes that wherever ten men who are heads of households reside, there a meeting place (synagogue) for the study of the law should be built; otherwise the study of the law in public session and corporate worship should take place in some clear area, a riverside being eminently appropriate. Here God opened the heart of Lydia, a seller of dyes and dyed cloth, to the Gospel; and after her baptism and the baptism of those in her household, she invited the missionary party to make her home their headquarters in the city (Acts 16:13-15). From this small beginning sprang the church at Philippi, whose members seem to have given Paul the most satisfaction and the least anxiety of all the churches in his care.
The ministry at Philippi was interrupted, however, at the cure of a clairvoyant slave girl, whose owners charged the apostles with interfering in what was for them a very profitable business. On the pretext that these traveling Jewish vagabonds were preaching an illegal religion which would ultimately undermine the peace and authority of Rome, the girl’s owners were able to stir up the populace and local authorities against Paul and Silas. In the melee which followed, they were beaten and thrown into a dungeon under lock and key. At midnight, however, while “Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God” (Acts 16:25), an earthquake occurred which shook open the doors of the prison and loosened the prisoners’ shackles. Through such a manifestation of divine intervention, the jailer of the prison was converted and responded in kindness by washing the apostles’ wounds. In the morning the local authorities ordered the police to release the apostles. But Paul and Silas demanded their rights to a public release as befitting Roman citizens; and after exhorting the infant church, left the city as requested by the officials (Acts 16:16-40). Luke may well have remained behind at Philippi, for the personal pronoun in the narrative returns to the third person after this episode with the slave girl and its aftermath.
Coming to Thessalonica via Amphipolis and Apollonia, Paul and Silas were able to preach for three weeks in the synagogue with considerable success before the Jews incited a riot against them and their host, Jason (Acts 17:1-9). Their preaching focused on the death and resurrection of the Messiah according to prophecy and the identification of Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah (Acts 17:3; cf. 1 Cor 15:3-5). However, the charges laid against them were those of disturbing the peace and treason against the state (Acts 17:6, 7). Realizing the danger of the situation before the crisis reached its peak, the new converts of the city sent the missionary party away by night to Beroea (Acts 17:10). Paul accepted their intervention and aid. But from his first letter to them a few months later, we gather that he left with real fears for their personal safety and their steadfastness in the faith (1 Thess 2:17-3:5).
At Beroea, being “more noble than those in Thessalonica,” the Jews of the synagogue were more concerned about the validity of Paul’s claim that the Gospel was the fulfillment of the ancient Scriptures than about any dispute concerning his methods or the assertions of others as to the illegality of the Christian faith. Thus they gave him audience while they examined the Biblical prophecies in the light of his proclamation. And, as a result, many Jews and Gentiles were converted to Christ (Acts 17:10-12). But the Jews of Thessalonica came to Beroea and stirred up the mobs against him, with the result that Paul was again forced to flee. The opposition seems to have been only partially successful, however, since the Beroean Jews themselves took little active part in the persecution, and Silas and Timothy were able to remain to carry on the ministry in the city (Acts 17:13-15).
Paul’s arrival at Athens in the province of Achaia appears to have been intended primarily as a refuge from persecution in Macedonia. But as he awaited the coming of Silas and Timothy from the N, he was stirred by the rampant idolatry of the city, and soon found himself compelled to present the claims of Christ in the synagogue to Jews and God-fearing Gentiles and in the market place to whosoever would listen (Acts 17:16, 17). As with Jeremiah, God’s Word was in Paul’s heart like a burning fire shut up in his bones, and he could not hold it in (Jer 20:9).
Soon, however, certain adherents to the Epicurean and Stoic philosophies led him off, prob. half in jest and half in derision, to the Areopagus (Acts 17:18-21); that is, to the Hill or Court of the god Ares (the Roman god Mars), the Greek god of war. The Council of the Areopagus in Roman times was an important tribunal in Athens, including among its many responsibilities the supervision of education in the city and the controlling of the many itinerant lecturers passing through. It was before this council that Paul was asked to speak, though the occasion was more an inquisition than an impartial inquiry. To those who gathered there, Paul spoke of the futility of idolatry, the revelation of God in nature, the universality of judgment, the progressive unfolding of God’s redemptive program, and the climax of that redemption in God’s raising Jesus from the dead (Acts 17:22-31). Many have attributed this address to the ingenuity of Luke, asserting that all of the speeches of Acts—and this one esp.—are Thucydidean in nature; that is, they are free compositions by the author of Acts himself of what he thought would have been suitable to the speaker and to the occasion. But from one who professed himself willing to be “all things to all men” for the sake of the Gospel (1 Cor 9:20-22), there is nothing incongruous in such an address. On the contrary, it seems that Luke has here recorded but another instance of where Paul began on common ground with his hearers and attempted to lead them on to the person of Jesus Christ. However, in this instance the Pauline polemic is expressed in a different setting than previously presented.
Favorable responses to Paul’s preaching at Athens were few. Most of the members of the Areopagus Council either mocked or remained noncommittal; though Dionysius, one of their number, believed. Also Damaris, who was a prominent woman of the city, and some others were converted (Acts 17:32-34). But no church seems to have been established at Athens. Many have suggested that Paul was plunged into despondency over the meager results, and that as he later reevaluated his attempt to speak philosophically to an educated audience, he forswore this strategy in favor of a simple pronouncement of the Gospel (1 Cor 1:20-2:5).
Now it is certainly probable that the apostle felt some discouragement over the fact that so few at Athens had come to Christ as a result of his ministry. But it must not be forgotten that some did respond! And it must be remembered that at this time Paul was preoccupied—indeed, almost sick with anxiety—over the state of the Thessalonian believers whom he had been forced to abandon to the threat of imminent persecution (1 Thess 2:17-3:5). As was true of his later inability to minister effectively at Troas because of his great concern for the church at Corinth (2 Cor 2:12, 13), or his earlier failure to evangelize Perga because of difficulties within the missionary party itself (see above, first missionary journey), Paul’s anxiety regarding his Thessalonian converts must be viewed as to some extent preventing him from grasping fully the opportunities at hand. He was, after all, quite human; and as human, he too found his emotions to have an effect upon his spiritual effectiveness. In addition, it is likely that he was physically ill during much of this period, for he tells the Thessalonians that at Athens he repeatedly desired to visit them “but Satan hindered us” (1 Thess 2:18). This remark sounds very much like an allusion to an attack of his recurring sickness (cf. 2 Cor 12:7-10).
Leaving Athens, Paul arrived alone at Corinth “in weakness and in much fear and trembling” (1 Cor 2:3). Here he stayed with Aquila and Priscilla, a Jewish couple recently banished from Rome by the Edict of Claudius in a.d. 49 which ordered the expulsion of all Jews from the capital because of disruptions within the Jewish community over a certain “Chrēstus” (Christ?). Probably it is safe to assume that Aquila and his wife were Christians before coming to Corinth, since there is no record of their conversion through the preaching of Paul. And from them the apostle would have been able to learn much about the church at Rome of which they were members. As they were tentmakers by profession, he joined them in their trade during the course of the week while preaching in the synagogue every sabbath (Acts 18:1-4).
Shortly thereafter Silas and Timothy arrived in Corinth from Macedonia, bringing with them (1) a report on conditions in the church at Thessalonica (1 Thess 3:6); and (2) a monetary contribution from the church at Philippi (2 Cor 11:9; Phil 4:14, 15). The news from Thessalonica was better than Paul dared to expect, and it greatly comforted and encouraged him (1 Thess 3:7-10). Silas and Timothy, however, also told about a campaign of slander against Paul originating from outside the church (1 Thess 2:3-6) and of some perplexity within concerning the return of Christ (1 Thess 4:13-5:11). The money from Philippi enabled him to devote his full time to the preaching of the Gospel, for, as Acts 18:5 reads literally, now “Paul held himself to the word.”
It was in response to the report from Thessalonica that Paul wrote 1 Thessalonians, in which are interwoven (1) commendation for growth, zeal and fidelity; (2) encouragement in the face of local persecution; (3) defense of his motives against hostile attack; (4) teaching regarding holiness of life; (5) instruction as to the coming of the Lord; and (6) exhortation to steadfastness and patience. Some weeks later, on learning of continued confusion at Thessalonica regarding the return of Christ and the believer’s relation to that blessed hope, he wrote 2 Thessalonians. In this second letter, while acknowledging that the Church lives in eager expectation of the Lord’s return, Paul insists that imminency must not be construed to mean immediacy, but rather it is the basis for steadfastness and dogged persistence. The two letters to the Thessalonian Christians were written about a.d. 50-51.
Leaving Corinth for the trip to Syria, the missionary party was accompanied by Aquila and Priscilla as far as Ephesus. At Ephesus Paul had some opportunity to speak in the synagogue, but felt it necessary to postpone any further evangelization in the city until a later time. At Cenchreae, just prior to his arrival at Ephesus, he had taken upon himself some kind of vow; and although we are told nothing further as to its nature, it seems to have been hurrying him on toward Jerusalem (Acts 18:18-21). Finally landing at Caesarea after a long sea voyage, he went to Jerusalem to greet the Christians there and then returned N to Antioch of Syria (Acts 18:22).
Third missionary journey
The third missionary journey of Paul was principally given to an extended ministry at Ephesus, the city the apostle apparently hoped to reach at the inception of his second journey and which showed much promise for the preaching of the Gospel in his short visit not more than a year before. Acts 18:23-21:16 gives the account in very abbreviated fashion, though a few additional details may be supplied from his letters. In all, the third missionary journey lasted from approximately a.d. 53 through 58.
Extended ministry at Ephesus.
After revisiting the churches in “the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples” (Acts 18:23), the missionary party came to Ephesus. The city had two important assets upon which it relied for its life and vitality. The first was its position as a center of trade, for Ephesus was an important seaport on the Aegean Sea, linking overseas ports with the cities of the Roman province of Asia. But because of the gradual silting up of its harbor caused by the flow of the Little Meander River into it, the city’s significance as a center of commerce was beginning to wane in the days of Paul. Efforts had repeatedly been made to improve the harbor, and in a.d. 65 a large-scale attempt was undertaken, but the efforts either failed or provided only temporary relief.
The second factor of importance at Ephesus was the worship of Artemis (Diana), the multiple-breasted goddess of fertility whose temple was one of the seven wonders of the world. The relation of Artemis of Ephesus to the Greek goddess Artemis is exceedingly vague, for although in their distinctive characteristics they were quite different, in the popular mind they were prob. often equated. With the decline in commerce, however, the prosperity of the city became more heavily dependent upon the tourists and pilgrims drawn by the temple and cult of Artemis. At the time of Paul’s arrival, the people of Ephesus, while surrounded by signs of past opulence and still able to enjoy the fruits of that wealth, were becoming conscious of the precariousness of their position as a commercial and political center of Asia and were turning more toward the temple in support of their economy.
On reaching Ephesus, Paul met twelve men who had been baptized “into John’s baptism” but who gave no evidence of being truly Christian. When they heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they were baptized “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:1-7). The account is somewhat difficult to interpret, primarily because it is so brief. Probably, however (prior to their meeting with Paul), these twelve may be considered to have been sectarians who in some sense thought of John the Baptist as the apex of God’s revelation in this period of redemptive history—perhaps even as the Messiah Himself. The polemic of John 1:19-34 and 2:22-3:36 against anyone thinking of the Baptist as superior to Jesus, together with the emphasis upon “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” in Ephesians 4:5, suggests that a John the Baptist sect existed within Jewish Christian circles in Asia in the 1st century (assuming, of course, the Ephesian connections of the fourth gospel and the letter to the Ephesians). And as in any such group—esp. before issues have become solidified—some undoubtedly venerated John the Baptist, yet looked forward to greater fulfillment, whereas others were prepared to go no further than the Baptist in their devotion—even to elevating him higher than Jesus in their esteem.
Apollos seems to have been of the first variety, for, although from a John the Baptist group, he had been taught “accurately” and needed only that Aquila and Priscilla teach him “more accurately” (Acts 18:24-28). It would seem, then, that Apollos was never considered a sectarian, “though he knew only the baptism of John,” since that baptism was considered by him as a prolegomenon to the reception of God’s Messiah; and when instructed regarding further events and implications, he readily accepted. Of interest in his case is the fact that there is no mention of his baptism in the name of Christ. It is, of course, precarious to argue from silence; though perhaps, as seems to have been the case with the disciples of Jesus themselves, John’s baptism was accepted as Christian baptism when received as a prolegomenon to Christ. The twelve whom Paul met, however, while maintaining some relation to Jewish Christianity generally, were evidently those who considered the Baptist as the focus of their devotion and as such were sectarians. Despite their claims, Paul preached Jesus to them as he would to any Jew. And upon their conversion, he baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus.
At the close of Paul’s ministry in the city, a riot broke out against him and his preaching. The Gospel had turned many away from the idolatry of the Artemis cult, with the result that the economy of the city as a pilgrim center was being affected. Demetrius and his fellow silversmiths had had a profitable business in making statuettes of the goddess for the tourist trade, but when Paul’s message began to touch their pocketbooks, they attempted to instigate a revival on behalf of Artemis and to turn the people against the Christian missioners (Acts 19:23-28). They dragged Gaius and Aristarchus, two companions of Paul, into the large theater, and for two hours led the crowd in frenzied cheering and shouting for Artemis of Ephesus (Acts 19:29-34). The Jewish community tried to disassociate itself from the Christians, and sent one of its number, Alexander, onto the podium for this purpose. But to the idolatrous mob, Jews were as insufferable as Christians on the point in question, for both proclaimed an invisible deity and rejected all idols; and Alexander was shouted down (Acts 19:33, 34). Paul wanted to enter the theater to plead before the assembly himself, but the crowd was in such an angry mood that the Christians and some of the local authorities prevented him (Acts 19:30, 31). Finally the town clerk was able to disperse the people with the argument that the prestige of the city, in which they all were interested, could hardly be enhanced in the eyes of Rome by a riot, and that therefore any complaint raised by Demetrius and his craftsmen should be brought before the legally constituted authorities (Acts 19:35-41). His work being done, and conscious that his presence would only arouse further antagonism, Paul and his party left for Macedonia (Acts 20:1).
Undoubtedly, Luke has omitted a great deal regarding the persecutions that arose at the end of Paul’s ministry in Ephesus. Although there is no evidence that the apostle was ever imprisoned during this time by the sentence of some kangaroo court, as some have postulated, his later allusions to events in Asia indicate that the difficulties were intense and traumatic. Certainly the statement of 1 Corinthians 15:32 regarding having “fought with beasts at Ephesus,” which is likely a metaphor for extreme oppression (note the accompanying “I die every day” of v. 31), suggests something of the grievous nature of this experience. And prob. his references in Romans 16:3, 4 to Aquila and Priscilla having risked their necks for his life and in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 to his having been so crushed that he despaired of life have events in the Ephesian ministry in mind.
Continued contact with churches.
Leaving Ephesus, Paul moved N to Troas. But being agitated about conditions at Corinth, and not finding Titus awaiting him there from whom he hoped to learn about the state of affairs at Corinth, he moved on to Macedonia without any further witness in Troas (2 Cor 2:12, 13). In Macedonia (prob. at Philippi) he received Titus’ report, and sent as his earnest response to the triumphs and continuing difficulties at Corinth the letter known as 2 Corinthians. Many have proposed that 2 Corinthians 10-13, the “Severe Letter,” preceded the writing of 2 Corinthians 1-9 (with or without 6:14-7:1), the “Conciliatory Letter.” Although this is possible, there is little that requires such a view.
One activity which esp. concerned Paul on his third missionary journey was the gathering of a collection of money for the relief of the impoverished believers of Jerusalem, and regarding this, he instructed his Gentile churches in Galatia, Asia, Macedonia and Achaia (Rom 15:25-32; 1 Cor 16:1-4; 2 Cor 8 and 9). It was a great act of kindness, comparable to that undertaken by the Antioch church much earlier. But more than this, Paul seems to have viewed it as a symbol of unity which would help his Gentile converts realize their debt to the mother church at Jerusalem and give Jewish Christians an appreciation of the vitality of the faith existent in the Gentile churches. It was during this third missionary journey that Illyricum to the W was evangelized as well (Rom 15:19), though whether Paul himself made an excursion into the area or converts from Macedonia were the evangelists is uncertain.
After spending some time in the Macedonian churches, Paul went to Corinth where he stayed three months (Acts 20:2, 3). One could wish to know more about this three-month visit and Paul’s relation with the church, esp. in light of his earlier correspondence, but the account of Acts is silent.
While at Corinth, and before his final trip to Jerusalem, the apostle wrote his letter to the Christians of Rome (Rom 15:17-33). The Greek world in the eastern part of the empire had been evangelized (Rom 15:19, 23)—the flame had been kindled and the fire was spreading—and Paul desired to transfer his ministry to the Lat. world, going as far W as Spain (Rom 15:24). Evidently he expected the Roman church to serve as his base of operations, much as the church at Antioch in Syria had served previously. He had hoped earlier to go directly to Rome from Achaia, but his presence was essential at Jerusalem if the Gentile contribution were to carry the full meaning he wanted it to have (Rom 15:22-32). Therefore, in place of a personal visit, as preparation for his future coming to them, and to declare the righteousness of God, Paul sent this formal letter to Christians he had never met in Rome.
The letter itself is the longest and most systematic of Paul’s writings, and more a comprehensive exposition of the Gospel than a letter as such. Some have suggested, in fact, that the body of the work may have been composed by the apostle earlier in his ministry and circulated among his Gentile churches as something of a missionary tractate giving a résumé of his message, and when directed to Rome had been supplemented by the personal elements of chs. 15 and 16. Such a view would go far toward explaining the uncertainties within the Early Church regarding the relation of the final two chapters to the rest of the writing, the absence of “in Rome” at 1:7 and 1:15 in some minor MSS and the presence of the two doxologies at 15:33 and 16:27.
A plot to kill Paul on the Jewish pilgrim ship sailing for Jerusalem was uncovered at Corinth, and he redirected his journey back through Macedonia by land (Acts 20:3). He was accompanied by the representatives from the churches: Sopater of Beroea, Aristarchus and Secundus of Thessalonica, Gaius of Derbe, Trophimus from the Asian churches (Acts 20:4). All of the main centers in the Gentile mission were represented, except Philippi and Corinth. It is probable, however, that Luke served as the representative of Philippi, and Paul himself might have been delegated by the Corinthian congregation as their representative—though this omission may be taken as evidence of continued strained relations and difficulties at Corinth.
At Philippi Paul celebrated the Passover while his Gentile associates went ahead to Troas (Acts 20:5, 6). Later at Troas he held a midnight Eucharist and preached until morning, much to the physical discomfort of the young man Eutychus who fell in his sleep from a third-floor window ledge (Acts 20:6-12). Paul’s desire was to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16), and thus he wanted to sail as fast as possible around Asia Minor without any delay in revisiting his churches on the way. At Miletus, however, he called the Ephesian elders to him, giving them one final sermon of exhortation (Acts 20:17-38). From there Paul sailed to Cyprus, Tyre and Ptolemais, touching at various smaller ports on the way, and then journeyed by land to Caesarea.
Imprisonments and martyrdom
The importance of the period of the Pauline imprisonments in Palestine and Rome is somewhat signaled by the fact that Luke devotes one-fourth of his account of the Early Church to it, Acts 21 through 28. This does not mean, of course, that the defenses, imprisonments and martyrdom of Paul are more important than any other event in the history of the Early Church. Luke’s proportions in writing are dependent upon his purposes; and while various kerygmatic, catechetical and even conciliatory motifs are intertwined in his work, he also has an apologetic purpose which lays heavy emphasis upon the Pauline trials and defenses. But Luke’s proportions do suggest that this period in the apostle’s life and ministry must be considered more than simply the finale to a successful career, and has significance of itself. The period covers a wide expanse of time, perhaps as long as a decade: beginning with the apostle’s arrest in Jerusalem about a.d. 58; including a two-year confinement at Caesarea from a.d. 58 through 60, a trip of some months by sea to Rome from late a.d. 60 to the spring of 61, a two-year imprisonment at Rome from a.d. 61 through 63; and prob. incorporating a period of release and subsequent ministry from a.d. 63 through 66, with a second Roman incarceration and final martyrdom under Nero in a.d. 67.
Circumstances in Palestine.
On reaching Tyre in Syria, and again on coming to Caesarea in Palestine, Paul was strongly urged by the Christians of those cities not to go to Jerusalem, for they had been told by the Holy Spirit that imprisonment and afflictions awaited him there (Acts 21:4, 11, 12). At first glance it might appear that the apostle was being ordered by the Spirit not to proceed any further in his plans and that his determination to go on was in disobedience to that direction. The preposition “through” of Acts 21:4, however, may just as properly be understood to signify that the Spirit’s message about what would befall the apostle was the occasion for their urging as that the Spirit Himself was the agent. Also, as with Agabus’ earlier prophecy where the fact of the famine was revealed and the Church took action in response (Acts 11:27-30), the Caesarean believers’ urging is prob. to be understood as based upon the revelation of disastrous events ahead and not necessarily the revelation itself. Paul’s determination to go to Jerusalem was the fruit of an inward spiritual constraint which could not be set aside (Acts 19:21; 20:22). He was well aware that his reception at Jerusalem could be less than cordial. It was natural that on learning something of the difficulties ahead, his friends should try to dissuade him. Yet when he could not be persuaded, and evidently after some explanation on his part, their reply was “the will of the Lord be done” (Acts 21:14).
At Caesarea Paul stayed “for some days” (Acts 21:10). The timing of his stopovers prior to his arrival at Caesarea had been largely dependent upon the shipping schedules, and thus he remained at Tyre, for example, for seven days while the boat was being unloaded (Acts 21:3, 4). But at Caesarea he seems to have been able to arrange his own schedule. For a man in a hurry to get to Jerusalem, such a delay appears somewhat strange and raises the question as to why there was a break in the journey here. Of course he might have wanted to rest after the strenuous trip from Corinth to Philippi by land, Philippi to Ptolemais by sea, and then Ptolemais to Caesarea by land again. And certainly he would have found a congenial welcome among the Caesarean believers. More to the point, however, was his desire to be in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost (Acts 20:16)—not just to arrive in Jerusalem as early as possible, but to arrive at what he believed to be the strategic moment. Thus his stay at Caesarea was prob. in large measure a waiting for the proper moment for entrance into Jerusalem. And when that came, he was escorted by some of the Caesarean believers into the Holy City and given lodging in the home of Mnason, one of the early believers whose native country was Cyprus (Acts 21:16).
The day following their arrival in Jerusalem, Paul and the representatives from the Gentile churches met with James and the Jerusalem elders. At this meeting they rehearsed all that God had done in the Gentile mission and undoubtedly presented the contribution which they had brought (Acts 21:17-19). They were received cordially enough, though James and the elders were concerned about the reactions of many Jewish believers in Jerusalem to Paul’s presence, since they had heard that he taught Jews in the Diaspora to forsake the law. Evidently religious fervor and ritual had become considerably more rigid within the Jerusalem church since Paul’s “famine visit,” possibly, as some have suggested, because of the conversion of many former Essenes who had been accustomed to blending an inward piety with a very strict observance of the law. And though James and the Jerusalem apostles never went on record as favoring such a development, they seem to have been hard-pressed to control it. Thus they suggested to Paul that in an endeavor to alleviate the fears engendered by the malicious rumors about him, he publicly show his respect for Jewish customs and piety by joining in the Temple rites of Nazirite purification about to be performed by four Jewish Christians and by paying the expenses for the five of them. He agreed to do this, for, while insisting that Gentile believers were free from the Jewish customs and cultus, he found no fault with Jewish Christians who chose to express their faith in this manner (Acts 21:20-26). As a matter of fact, he himself continued to live the scrupulous life of a Pharisee during his missionary travels even while arguing for the freedom of Gentiles (Acts 23:6; 26:5).
The strategy, however, proved hardly successful—prob. nothing could have really conciliated those whose minds were already deeply prejudiced against him. Seeing Paul in the Temple, fanatical Jews from the province of Asia instigated a riot under the pretense that he had brought Trophimus, the Gentile representative from Ephesus, into the court of Israel. In the tumult, Paul might have been killed had it not been for the intervention of the Roman tribune Claudius Lysias and his soldiers from the garrison quartered at the Castle of Antonia, located to the N, adjacent to the Temple precincts. The howling mob, disappointed in its efforts to do away with the apostle, crowded about shouting, “Away with him!” (Acts 21:27-36).
As he was about to be dragged into the Roman fortress, Paul requested permission of the tribune to address the crowd. Recognizing him to be able and earnest, the tribune permitted it (Acts 21:37-40). Raising his hands for silence, Paul spoke to the people from the castle steps in Aram., and they listened intently to his account of his life in Judaism and his conversion to Christianity. But when he mentioned his commission to minister to the Gentiles, the tumult broke out afresh (Acts 22:1-22). Thereupon the tribune hurried the apostle into the garrison and gave orders that he should be examined under the lash in order to get from him the truth concerning the reason for the outcry. By appealing to his Roman citizenship, however, Paul was spared scourging and was released from his chains (Acts 22:23-29).
The next day, in an endeavor to learn what Judaism had against the man, the tribune brought Paul to trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin. But that body could come to no decision, thanks to a stratagem on Paul’s part to divide his enemies, and the apostle was returned to the Antonian castle (Acts 22:30-23:10). Then more than forty men vowed to kill Paul by ambush, and arranged with the Jewish leaders to ask for his return to the Sanhedrin for further questioning. But Paul’s nephew heard of the plot and managed to warn both him and the Roman tribune (Acts 23:12-22). Believing the lad’s story to be plausible, Claudius Lysias, the tribune, sent Paul by night under heavy escort to Caesarea, where in the custody of the Roman procurator Felix he would be safe from the local insurrectionists and could be examined further (Acts 23:23-25). At Caesarea Paul had two formal hearings before Felix, and was called in a number of times for private conversations. But Felix, unwilling to antagonize the Jews by acquitting him, though also not prepared to commit an injustice by condemning him, procrastinated in disposing of the case. Thus Paul was confined to Herod’s prison in Caesarea for two full years, though with freedom of movement within his place of confinement. He was also allowed to receive visitors (Acts 24:1-27).
There are many things one would like to know about this two-year imprisonment. For instance, how was the apostle supported during this time? Felix thought that he was a man of some wealth and backing (Acts 24:26), but on what basis did he suppose this? How cordial were Paul’s relations with the Jerusalem Christians and their leaders after his imprisonment? How cordial were his contacts with the Caesarean believers, or with other groups of Christians in the vicinity? What happened to Silas? Presumably he was not imprisoned with Paul; he appears only once again in the New Testament, and that in connection with Peter (1 Pet 5:12). What were Timothy and Luke doing during this period? What happened to the rest of those who represented the Gentile churches in Jerusalem? A host of other questions arise, all of which lend themselves to various speculations. But these interests are evidently not those of Luke in writing his history, or of Paul in his letters, and nothing is said on these points. Some have suggested that several of Paul’s extant letters were written while he was in prison at Caesarea, but internal evidence points rather to their composition during his subsequent Roman imprisonment.
When Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus, the Jews appealed to the new Roman procurator to have Paul returned to Jerusalem for trial under Jewish jurisdiction. But Festus told them to send their representatives to Caesarea, and to substantiate their charges (Acts 25:1-8).
Nevertheless, wishing to conciliate the Jews, Festus asked Paul if he were willing to go to Jerusalem to be tried. Paul had waited through two years of Felix’s procrastinations, and now saw that justice under Festus would be just as remote. Therefore, as a Roman citizen, he appealed for judgment to be given by the emperor’s court in Rome (Acts 25:9-11). Never before had Paul made such an appeal; nor would he have thought to make such an appeal, for release from the possibility of Jewish jurisdiction was really to place himself outside of all Jewish privileges as well—which included free access to the synagogue. But his situation in Palestine was going from bad to worse, caught as he was between Jewish hatred and Roman vacillation, and to argue his case in person in Caesar’s court would provide him with an opportunity of proclaiming the Gospel before the most exalted audience in the world. Thus, as Festus declared: “You have appealed to Caesar; to Caesar you shall go” (Acts 25:12).
Before arrangements were completed to send him, however, Herod Agrippa II and his sister Bernice visited Festus at Caesarea to welcome him to his new post. Agrippa was the titular king of the Jews, and Festus turned to him in an endeavor to determine what charges he should lay against Paul in sending him to Caesar (Acts 25:13-27). Thus Paul was given opportunity to speak before Agrippa, and in so doing delivered one of his most famous addresses (Acts 26:1-23). Festus, lately come from Rome, was sure that Paul was mad in speaking of visions and the resurrection of Jesus. Agrippa, though in a better position to evaluate Paul’s evidence, could only rather superciliously ask whether the apostle was trying to convert him (Acts 26:24-29). Both agreed, however, that justice would have demanded Paul’s release. But in appealing to Caesar the apostle had set his own course (Acts 26:30-32).
Rome at last.
The voyage to Rome is narrated in the first person pl., suggesting that Luke traveled with Paul on the trip. Probably Timothy embarked as well, and there may have been others also attending the apostle (Acts 27:1). Leaving Caesarea in the early autumn of a.d. 60, the ship encountered a fierce storm and became wrecked on the island of Malta (Acts 27:9-28:10). Setting out again the next spring in another vessel, Paul and his captors finally landed at Puteoli in the bay of Naples (Acts 28:11-13). There they stayed with the native Christians for seven days; and then went on by land to Rome, where a delegation of Roman Christians met Paul as he approached the city along the Appian Way (Acts 28:14, 15).
Paul was in Rome at last, fulfilling his great ambition to visit the capital of the empire. But now he had come not as a traveling evangelist, but as Caesar’s prisoner awaiting trial. Guarded by a soldier, to whom he was manacled by a chain, he was kept in custody under house arrest. Yet he was free to receive visitors, and during the period of his confinement at Rome he carried on an extensive and effective ministry through emissaries (Acts 28:17-31).
Shortly after reaching Rome, Paul came into contact with three individuals who had come from the provinces of Asia and Macedonia, and who became the occasion for most of his extant letters from prison. One whom he met was Epaphras, who either visited Paul in prison or was actually imprisoned with him (Philem 23). Epaphras seems to have been the one who founded the church at Colossae (Col 1:7; 4:12, 13), prob. having been himself a convert of Paul during the Ephesian ministry. In meeting Paul at Rome, Epaphras told of conditions in the church at Colossae: of faith and love among the Christians (Col 1:4, 8), but also of a heresy threatening to pervert the Gospel. And regarding this problem Paul wrote his letter to the Colossians, sending it by Tychicus in the company of Onesimus about a.d. 61, or perhaps in early a.d. 62.
From Paul’s response to the problem, it seems probable that the heresy at Colossae was built upon some type of syncretistic and dualistic religious philosophy which taught that since the world of matter is defiled and intrinsically opposed to God, man must seek true knowledge and union with deity in some higher sphere of the nonmaterial. Specifically, this means that the Incarnation of our Lord and His work on the cross are either to be rejected or to be viewed as an inferior first step toward full reconciliation with God.
In his answer, Paul does not minimize the humanity and the sacrifice of Christ, though these were the points at which offense was taken. Rather he glories in the Incarnation and the cross, for by them God has effected man’s redemption (Col 1:20-22). The teaching of dualistic Gnosticism states that the more deeply God penetrates the universe of the material the less revelatory become His actions and the more man must seek higher for redemptive knowledge. Contrary to this, Paul proclaimed the cosmic Christ in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwells and in whom the believer finds complete redemption and reconciliation (Col 1:15-22; 2:9, 10).
Another person whom Paul met at Rome was Onesimus, a slave under bondage to Philemon at Colossae. He had robbed his master and fled to Rome, undoubtedly hoping to become anonymous in the great city. Perhaps through Epaphras, Onesimus had come into contact with Paul. At any rate, Onesimus was brought to Christ by Paul and proved very helpful to the apostle while he was in prison. Having persuaded Onesimus to return to his master, Paul wrote the letter to Philemon urging him to receive his servant back as a “beloved brother...in the Lord” (Philem 16). An exquisite sense of humor seen in the play on the name Onesimus (“profitable,” “useful”) relieves the intensity of the letter and strengthens its appeal.
Interestingly, the apostle’s approach to this crucial social problem of his day was to work from a “Christ consciousness” in the individual to a “Christian consciousness” in society. In so doing he planted the seeds for the ultimate abolition of the system of slavery. From the references to Tychicus and Onesimus in Colossians 4:7-9, and the comparable greetings in both epistles (Col 4:10-17; Philem 1, 2, 23, 24), it can be deduced that both the letter to the Colossians and the one to Philemon were written and sent at the same time. Carried by the same Tychicus (Eph 6:21), and prob. composed in the same period, was the letter to the Ephesians, which prob. was originally intended as something of a circular letter to the churches of Asia Minor.
The third of the three members from his churches in the E whom Paul met in Rome was Epaphroditus. Having aided the apostle financially at least twice before (Phil 4:15, 16), and hearing of his arrest and imprisonment, the Philippian church sent Epaphroditus with a gift. Perhaps he was also to serve Paul personally during his confinement, and may even have been sent in time to be among those who welcomed the apostle to Rome. But Epaphroditus became seriously ill while he was with Paul, and news of his condition eventually reached Philippi. In the letter to the Philippians, Paul wrote to thank the Christians there for their financial aid (Phil 4:10-19). Also he wrote to commend Epaphroditus, their messenger to him, against any possible criticism that he had not completed his task (Phil 2:25-30). He took the occasion to explain regarding his present circumstances, to exhort to steadfastness, unity and humility, and to warn against the Judaizers. Since he alludes to an approaching determination of his case (Phil 1:20ff.) and expresses his hope to visit Philippi shortly (Phil 2:24), the letter may be taken to have been written from Rome toward the end of his first imprisonment, about a.d. 63.
For two full years Paul was confined at Rome (Acts 28:30), which was the period of time prescribed by Roman law as the limit a prisoner might be held after appeal to the emperor’s court should there be no prosecution of the case. At this point Luke’s narrative in Acts comes to an end, with the implication to be drawn that either the defendant was tried, found guilty, and summarily executed, or that the Jewish plaintiffs allowed the case to go by default and he was released. Although he was unable to be certain about the outcome, the apostle expected the latter (Phil 2:24; Philem 22); and there is little reason to believe otherwise. Two full years of imprisonment in Rome may seem to have been an unnecessary waste of time. But the apostle, in writing to the Philippians just prior to his release, declared: “I want you to know, brethren, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, so that it has become known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ; and most of the brethren have been made confident in the Lord because of my imprisonment, and are much more bold to speak the word of God without fear” (Phil 1:12-14).
Subsequent ministry and death.
What happened to Paul at the end of the two-year imprisonment in Rome is not told. Luke may have intended to write a sequel to his accounts of the life and work of Jesus and the advance of the Gospel in the E, which would have told of the advance of the Gospel into the western portion of the empire. But whatever his hopes may have been, there is obviously no such record extant. The closest approach to such an account is in the letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians, written about a.d. 96, wherein the following epitaph appears: “By reason of jealousy and strife, Paul by his example pointed out the prize of patient endurance. After that he had been seven times in bonds, had been driven into exile, had been stoned, had preached in the East and in the West, he won the noble renown which was the reward of his faith, having taught righteousness unto the whole world and having reached the farthest bounds of the West; and when he had borne his testimony before the rulers, so he departed from the world and went unto the holy place, having been found a notable pattern of patient endurance” (I Clement 3:13-15). Since the Pastoral Epistles allude to experiences of Paul which cannot be fitted into the narrative of Acts and mention a number of individuals not appearing in the accounts of the missionary journeys, it often has been postulated that after his release from prison the apostle continued his evangelistic work in the eastern portion of the empire (at least in lands surrounding the Aegean Sea) and perhaps even fulfilled his long cherished desire to visit Spain. And since 2 Timothy speaks of him as in prison, it is further suggested that he was rearrested about a.d. 67, and, according to tradition beheaded at Rome by order of Nero.
Assuming such hypotheses to be at least approximately true Paul wrote the letters of 1 Timothy and Titus during the period of release in a.d. 63 to 66 and that of 2 Timothy just prior to his death in a.d. 67.
In his first letter to Timothy he seeks to encourage his young colleague in his pastoral responsibilities at Ephesus. He exhorts Timothy to deal decisively with certain false teachers and gives instruction regarding the qualifications for leaders and the treatment of various members in the church. In his letter to Titus, the minister of the church at Crete, he again admonishes concerning pastoral duties and deals with (1) qualifications for leaders in the church; (2) the need to oppose false doctrine; (3) treatment of various classes of members in the fellowship; and (4) proper attitudes for believers in a pagan society. Second Timothy is chronologically later than the other Pastoral Epistles, and breathes a different atmosphere. Whereas in 1 Timothy and Titus the apostle is free to make plans and move about at will, in 2 Timothy he is a prisoner and the end is rapidly approaching. Apparently writing from Rome while awaiting execution, Paul is anxious for Timothy to come to him before winter. But more than this, he is concerned that Timothy be exemplary in his life and faithful to the ministry to which he has been called. This final letter of the great apostle is rich and varied. Interwoven are touching appeals, ringing charges, and the note of triumph in the face of imminent death. In fact, 2 Timothy is Paul’s last will and testament, which, after many years of service for Christ, he closes on a note of quiet confidence and praise to God: “I am already on the point of being sacrificed; the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing....To him be the glory for ever and ever. Amen” (2 Tim 4:6-8, 18).
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PAUL (Greek Paulos, from Latin Paulis, little). The great apostle to the Gentiles. The main biblical source for information on the life of Paul is the Acts of the Apostles, with important supplemental information from Paul’s own letters. Allusions in the letters make it clear that many events in his checkered and stirring career are unrecorded (cf. 2Cor.11.24-2Cor.11.28).
I. Names. His Hebrew name was Saul (Greek Saulos) and he is always so designated in Acts until his clash with Bar-Jesus at Paphos, where Luke writes, “Then Saul, who was also called Paul...” (Acts.13.9). Thereafter in Acts he is always called Paul. In his letters the apostle always calls himself Paul. As a Roman citizen he doubtless bore both names from his youth. His double name is implied in Luke’s statement “Saul, the one also Paul” (Saulos ho kai Paulos). It was a common practice among Jews of the Dispersion. The change to the use of the Greek name was peculiarly appropriate when he began his position of leadership in bringing the gospel to the Gentile world.
Born of purest Jewish blood (Phil.3.5), the son of a Pharisee (Acts.23.6), Saul was cradled in orthodox Judaism. At the proper age, perhaps thirteen, he was sent to Jerusalem and completed his studies under the famous Gamaliel (Acts.22.3; Acts.26.4-Acts.26.5). Being a superior, zealous student (Gal.1.14), he absorbed not only the teaching of the Old Testament but also the rabbinical learning of the scholars.
At his first appearance in Acts as “a young man” (Acts.7.58), probably at least thirty years old, he was already an acknowledged leader in Judaism. His active opposition to Christianity marked him as the natural leader of the persecution that arose after the death of Stephen (Acts.7.58-Acts.8.3; Acts.9.1-Acts.9.2). The persecutions described in 26:10-11 indicate his fanatical devotion to Judaism. He was convinced that Christians were heretics and that the honor of the Lord demanded their extermination (Acts.26.9). He acted in confirmed unbelief (1Tim.1.13).
III. Conversion. The persecution was doubtless repugnant to his finer inner sensitivities, but Saul did not doubt the rightness of his course. The spread of Christians to foreign cities only increased his fury against them, causing him to extend the scope of his activities. As he approached Damascus, armed with authority from the high priest, the transforming crisis in his life occurred. Only an acknowledgment of divine intervention can explain it. Repeatedly in his letters Paul refers to it as the work of divine grace and power, transforming him and commissioning him as Christ’s messenger (1Cor.9.16-1Cor.9.17; 1Cor.15.10; Gal.1.15-Gal.1.16; Eph.3.7-Eph.3.9; 1Tim.1.12-1Tim.1.16). The three accounts in Acts of the conversion vary according to the immediate purpose of the narrator and supplement each other. Luke’s own account (Acts.9.1-Acts.9.43) is historical, relating the event objectively, while the two accounts by Paul (Acts.22.1-Acts.22.30, Acts.26.1-Acts.26.32) stress those aspects appropriate to his immediate endeavor.
When the supernatural Being arresting him identified himself as “Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” Saul at once saw the error of his way and surrendered instantaneously and completely. The three days of fasting in blindness were days of agonizing heart-searching and further dealing with the Lord. The ministry of Ananias of Damascus consummated the conversion experience, unfolded to Saul the divine commission, and opened the door to him to the Christian fellowship at Damascus. Later in reviewing his former life Paul clearly recognized how God had been preparing him for his future work (Gal.1.15-Gal.1.16).
IV. Early Activities. The new convert at once proclaimed the deity and messiahship of Jesus in the Jewish synagogues of Damascus, truths that had seized his soul (Acts.9.20-Acts.9.22). Since the purpose of his coming was no secret, this action caused consternation among the Jews. Paul’s visit to Arabia, mentioned in Gal.1.17, seems best placed between Acts.9.22 and Acts.9.23. There is no hint that its purpose was to preach; rather it seems that he felt it necessary to retire to rethink his beliefs in the light of the new revelation that had come to him. The length of the stay is not certain, but Paul came out of Arabia with the essentials of his theology fixed.
After the opening of the door of the gospel to the Gentiles in the house of Cornelius, a Gentile church was soon established in Syrian Antioch. Barnabas, who had been sent to superintend the revival, saw the need for assistance, remembered Saul’s commission to the Gentiles, and brought him to Antioch. An aggressive teaching ministry “for a whole year” produced a profound impact on the city, resulting in the designation of the disciples as “Christians” (Acts.11.20-Acts.11.26). Informed by visiting prophets of an impending famine, the Antioch church raised a collection and sent it to the Jerusalem elders by Barnabas and Saul (Acts.11.27-Acts.11.30), marking Saul’s second visit to Jerusalem since his conversion. Some scholars equate this visit with that of Gal.2.1-Gal.2.10, but Acts.11.1-Acts.11.30-Acts.12.1-Acts.12.25 reveals no traces as yet of such a serious conflict in the church about circumcision.
V. Missionary Journeys. The work of Gentile foreign missions was inaugurated by the church at Antioch under the direction of the Holy Spirit in the sending forth of “Barnabas and Saul” (Acts.13.1-Acts.13.3).
The first missionary journey, begun apparently in the spring of a.d. 48, began with work among the Jews on Cyprus. Efforts at Paphos to gain the attention of the proconsul Sergius Paulus encountered the determined opposition of the sorcerer Elymas. Saul publicly exposed Elymas’s diabolical character, and the swift judgment that fell on Elymas caused the amazed proconsul to believe (Acts.13.4-Acts.13.12). It was a signal victory of the gospel.
After the events at Paphos, Saul, henceforth called Paul in Acts, emerged as the recognized leader of the missionary party. Steps to carry the gospel to new regions were taken when the party sailed to Perga in Pamphylia on the southern shores of Asia Minor. Here their attendant, John Mark, cousin of Barnabas (Col.4.10), deserted them and returned to Jerusalem, an act that Paul regarded as unjustified. Arriving at Pisidian Antioch, located in the province of Galatia, the missionaries found a ready opening in the Jewish synagogue. Paul’s address to an audience composed of Jews and God-fearing Gentiles, his first recorded address in Acts, is reported at length by Luke as representative of his synagogue ministry (Acts.13.16-Acts.13.41). The message made a deep impression, and the people requested that he preach again the next Sabbath. The large crowd, mainly of Gentiles, who flocked to the synagogue the following Sabbath aroused the jealousy and fierce opposition of the Jewish leaders. In consequence Paul announced a turning to the Gentiles with their message. Gentiles formed the core of the church established in Pisidian Antioch (Acts.13.42-Acts.13.52). Jewish-inspired opposition forced the missionaries to depart for Iconium, SE of Antioch, where the results were duplicated and a flourishing church begun. Compelled to flee a threatened stoning at Iconium, the missionaries crossed into the ethnographic territory of Lycaonia, still within the province of Galatia, and began work at Lystra, which was apparently without a synagogue. The healing of a congenital cripple caused a pagan attempt to offer sacrifices to the missionaries as gods in human form. Paul’s horrified protest (Acts.14.15-Acts.14.17), arresting the attempt, reveals his dealings with pagans who did not have the Old Testament revelation. Timothy apparently was converted at this time. Fanatical agitators from Antioch and Iconium turned the disillusioned pagans against the missionaries, and in the uproar Paul was stoned. Dragged out of the city, the unconscious apostle was left for dead, but as the disciples stood around him, he regained consciousness, and reentered the city. The next day he was able to go on to neighboring Derbe. After a fruitful and unmolested ministry there, the missionaries retraced their steps to instruct their converts and organize them into churches with responsible leaders (Acts.14.1-Acts.14.23). They returned to Syrian Antioch and reported how God “had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts.14.27). That is a summary of Paul’s message to the Gentiles: salvation is solely through faith in Christ.
The Jerusalem Conference (Acts.15.1-Acts.15.41; Gal.2.1-Gal.2.10) arose out of the tension produced by the mass influx of Gentiles into the church. This movement evoked the anxiety and opposition of the Pharisaic party in the church. Certain men from Judea came to Antioch and taught the brothers that unless they received circumcision they could not be saved. This demand, contrary to Paul’s doctrine of justification by faith, aroused sharp controversy and resulted in the sending of Paul, Barnabas, and certain others to Jerusalem concerning this matter.
Although some scholars reject the identification, it seems best to equate Gal.2.1-Gal.2.10 with Acts.15.1-Acts.15.41. The differences are due to the differing standpoint of the two writers, Luke’s account being historical, whereas Paul’s was personal. In Acts there are apparently two public sessions, 15:4 and 5-6, while Paul speaks of a private meeting with the Jerusalem leaders. After ample discussion of the problem, the conference repudiated the view of the Judaizers and refused to impose the law on Gentile believers, only requesting them to abstain from specific offensive practices. The decision was formulated in a letter and was sent to Antioch through Judas and Silas as official delegates.
Their position vindicated, Paul and Barnabas continued their ministry at Antioch. Apparently during this time the incident of Gal.2.11-Gal.2.21 occurred. The Jerusalem conference left unmentioned the problem of the relation of Jewish believers to the law. As represented by James, Judaic Christians continued to observe the Mosaic Law, not for salvation, but as a way of life, because they were Jewish believers. Peter’s withdrawal from table fellowship with Gentiles, lest he offend those of the circumcision, led him into inconsistency, which Paul recognized as undermining the status of the Gentile believer.
For the second missionary journey Paul and Barnabas separated because of their “sharp disagreement” concerning John Mark. Barnabas sailed to Cyprus with Mark, while Paul chose Silas and revisited the churches in Galatia (Acts.15.36-Acts.15.41). At Lystra Paul added young Timothy to the missionary party, having circumcised him to make him acceptable for work among the Jews. Negative leadings closed the door to missionary work in Asia and Bithynia, but at Troas Paul received the positive call to Macedonia (Acts.16.1-Acts.16.9). The use of “we” (Acts.16.10) reveals Luke’s presence with the group that sailed for Macedonia. The accounts of Lydia’s conversion, the deliverance of the demon-possessed slave girl, the subtle charges against and imprisonment of Paul and Silas, and the startling events that followed (Acts.16.11-Acts.16.40) are so vivid they must be the work of an eyewitness. Paul’s demands of the magistrates the next morning established the dignity of the preachers and safeguarded the status of the young church.
Leaving Luke at Philippi, the missionaries next began an expository ministry in the synagogue at Thessalonica. With the synagogue soon closed to him, Paul apparently carried on a successful Gentile ministry there. A Jewish-instigated riot forced the missionaries to flee to Berea, where a fruitful ministry resulted among the “noble” Bereans. When the work there was interrupted by agitators from Thessalonica, Silas and Timothy remained, but Paul, the leader of the work, was brought to Athens by some brothers (Acts.17.1-Acts.17.15). From 1Thess.3.1-1Thess.3.2 it appears that Timothy and Silas came to Athens as requested; Timothy was sent back to Thessalonica, and Silas apparently went back to Philippi (Phil.4.15; 2Cor.11.9).
Distressed by the Athenian idolatry, Paul preached in the synagogue and daily in the marketplace. Drawing the attention of the Athenian philosophers, he was requested to give a formal exposition of his teaching. His appearance at the Areopagus was not a formal trial. His memorable speech before the pagan philosophers (Acts.17.22-Acts.17.31) is a masterpiece of tact, insight, and condensation; but the people’s contemptuous interruption at the mention of the Resurrection kept him from elaborating the essentials of the gospel. A few converts were made, but Paul regarded the mission at cultured, philosophical, sophisticated Athens with keen disappointment.
By contrast, the work at Corinth—a city of commerce, wealth, squalor, and gross immorality—proved to be a definite success, lasting eighteen months (Acts.18.1-Acts.18.17). After finding employment at his trade with Aquila and Priscilla, recently expelled from Rome, Paul preached in the Corinthian synagogue. Apparently he was depressed from his experience at Athens, but the coming of Silas and Timothy lifted his spirits and a vigorous witness was begun (Acts.18.5). Timothy’s report concerning the Thessalonians caused the writing of 1 Thessalonians. A few months later, because of further information about them, 2 Thessalonians was written. Unable to return to Thessalonica, Paul wrote both letters to meet the needs of his converts. Some would also place the writing of Galatians at Corinth, but Galatians is capable of a wide range of dating within the Acts framework. A successful work among the Gentiles resulted in the formation of a large church, the majority of the members being from the lower levels of society (1Cor.1.26). With the arrival of the new proconsul, Gallio, perhaps in May a.d. 52, the Jews accused Paul of teaching an illegal religion, but the governor, declaring a religious controversy outside his jurisdiction, refused to judge the matter. His action in effect gave tacit governmental recognition to Christianity.
When he left Corinth, Paul took Aquila and Priscilla with him as far as Ephesus, intending on his return to continue the profitable partnership with them there. Refusing an invitation for further ministry in the Ephesian synagogue, Paul hurried to Judea. He apparently visited Jerusalem and then spent some time at Antioch (Acts.18.18-Acts.18.22).
Paul’s departure from Antioch traditionally marks the beginning of the third missionary journey. It is convenient to retain the traditional designation, but we should remember that with the second journey Antioch ceased to be the center for Paul’s activities.
At Ephesus Paul had inaugurated a collection among the Gentile churches for the saints in Judea (1Cor.16.1-1Cor.16.4). Since its delivery was to mark the close of his work in the east, Paul was making plans to visit Rome (Acts.19.21), intending to go from there to Spain (Roman15.22-Roman15.29).
Paul’s plan to take the collection to Jerusalem directly from Corinth was canceled because of a plot on his life; instead he went by way of Macedonia, leaving Philippi with Luke after the Passover (Acts.20.3-Acts.20.6). Their church-elected travel companions waited for them at Troas, where they spent a busy and eventful night (Acts.20.7-Acts.20.12). Hoping to reach Jerusalem for Pentecost, Paul called the Ephesian elders to meet him at Miletus. His farewell to them is marked by tender memories, earnest instructions, and searching premonitions concerning the future (Acts.20.17-Acts.20.35). The journey to Jerusalem was marked by repeated warnings to Paul of what awaited him there (Acts.21.1-Acts.21.16). Some interpreters hold that Paul blundered in persisting on going to Jerusalem in the face of these clear warnings, thus cutting short his missionary labors. Paul apparently interpreted the warnings not as prohibitions but as tests of his willingness to suffer for the cause of his Lord and the church.
VI. Paul the Prisoner.. Although cordially received at Jerusalem by James and the elders, Paul’s presence created tension in the church because of reports that he taught Jews in the Dispersion to forsake Moses. To neutralize these reports, the elders suggested to Paul a plan to prove that he had no aversion to a voluntary keeping of the law (Acts.21.17-Acts.21.25). Always anxious to avoid offense, Paul agreed to their proposal. The act of conciliation apparently satisfied the Judean believers, but it caused Paul’s arrest. Certain Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, created a tumult by falsely charging him with defiling the temple. Rescued from death at the hands of the Jewish mob by the Roman commander and some soldiers, Paul secured permission to address the Jews from the steps of the barracks. They gave silent attention until he mentioned his commission to the Gentiles, when the riot broke out anew (Acts.21.37-Acts.22.29). A scourging, ordered to force information out of him, was avoided by Paul’s mention of his Roman citizenship. The commander’s efforts the next day before the Sanhedrin to gain further information about Paul proved futile. That night the Lord appeared to the discouraged apostle, commended his efforts at witnessing, and assured him that he would go to Rome. Informed of a plot to murder Paul, the commander sent Paul to Caesarea under a large protective guard (Acts.23.17-Acts.23.35).
The trial before Felix at Caesarea made it clear to the governor that the charges against Paul were spurious, but, unwilling to antagonize the Jews, he simply postponed a decision. Asked to expound the Christian faith before Felix and his Jewish wife Drusilla, Paul courageously probed their consciences by preaching “on righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come.” Terrified, Felix dismissed the preacher but later sent for him frequently, hoping Paul would try to use bribery to secure his release. After two years Felix was summoned to Rome and left Paul an uncondemned prisoner (Acts.24.1-Acts.24.27).
With the coming of the new governor, Festus, the Jewish leaders renewed their efforts to have Paul condemned. When it became clear to Paul that he could not expect justice from the new governor, he used his right as a Roman citizen and appealed his case to Caesar, thereby removing it from the jurisdiction of the lower courts (Acts.25.1-Acts.25.12). When Herod Agrippa II and his sister Bernice came to visit the new governor, Festus discussed Paul’s case with Agrippa, an acknowledged expert in Jewish affairs. The next day before his royal audience Paul delivered a masterly exposition of his position and used the occasion to seek to win Agrippa to Christ. Uncomfortable under Paul’s efforts, Agrippa terminated the meeting but frankly declared Paul’s innocence to the governor (Acts.25.13-Acts.26.32).
Paul was sent to Rome, perhaps in the autumn of a.d. 60, under the escort of a centurion named Julius. Luke and Aristarchus accompanied him. Luke’s detailed account of the voyage has the minuteness, picturesqueness, and accuracy of an alert eyewitness. Adverse weather delayed the progress of the ship. At Myra they transferred to an Alexandrian grain ship bound for Italy. Futile efforts to reach commodious winter quarters at Phoenix caused the ship to be caught in a hurricane-force storm for fourteen days, ending in shipwreck on the island of Malta. After spending three months on Malta, the travelers journeyed to Rome in another Alexandrian grain ship. Paul’s treatment in Rome was lenient; he lived in his own hired house with a soldier guarding him. Permitted to receive all who came, he was able to exercise an important ministry in Rome (Acts.27.1-Acts.27.44-Acts.28.1-Acts.28.31). The Prison Letters—Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, and Philippians—are lasting fruit of this period, which afforded him opportunity to meditate and to write.
VIII. Achievement and Character. Paul’s achievements proclaim him an unexcelled missionary statesman. His labors firmly planted churches in the strategic centers of Galatia, Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia, while his plans for work at Rome and in Spain reveal his imperial missionary strategy. His foresight led him to select and train strong young workers to carry on the work after him. Paul was supremely the interpreter of the gospel of Jesus Christ, interpreted to the Gentile world through his labors and letters. It was primarily through his work that the world-wide destiny of Christianity was established and liberated from the yoke of legalism. His letters to various churches—formulating, interpreting, and applying the essence of Christianity—are vital to Christian theology and practice. His theology was rooted in his own revolutionary experience in Christ. Paul saw the human race’s inability to attain to righteousness through their own efforts, but realized that God had provided a way of salvation, wholly out of grace and love, in Christ Jesus, available through faith alone. He also saw that the gospel made strenuous ethical demands on the life and conduct of the believer. The essence of the Christian life for Paul was union with Christ, whom he loved and served and for whose imminent return he yearned.
Physically, Paul did not present an imposing appearance, as is evident from 2Cor.10.10. Tradition pictures him as small of stature, having a decidedly Jewish physiognomy. That he had a rugged physical constitution seems plain from all the hardships and sufferings he underwent (2Cor.11.23-2Cor.11.27) and from his ability, amid his spiritual anxieties, to earn his own living through manual labor. He endured more than most men could endure, yet he keenly felt the frailty of his body. He was especially afflicted by “a thorn in [his] flesh” (2Cor.12.7). The exact nature of the affliction can only be conjectured; attempts at identification have varied widely. Whatever its precise nature, his feelings of weakness made him constantly dependent on divine empowerment (2Cor.12.10; Phil.4.12-Phil.4.13).
The many-sided personality of Paul is difficult to gather into one picture. He seems to embody polar extremes: bodily weakness and tremendous power, a keen intellect and profound mysticism, strongly attracting and furiously repelling people. Intellectually he was a man of outstanding ability, one of the world’s great thinkers. He grasped truth at its full value and logically worked out its implications. But his subtlety of intellect was combined with practical good sense. He was a man of strict integrity, ever careful to maintain a good conscience. His life was characterized by a love of the truth that allowed no temporizing for the sake of expediency. Having understood his duty, he followed it unflinchingly, undeterred by possible consequences to himself. He was characterized by native zeal and ardor, giving himself wholly to his work. He was warm-hearted and affectionate, longing for and making strong friendships. He was humble, sincere, and sympathetic. He was by nature a religious man, and, already as a Jew but much more as a Christian, his faith dominated his life and activities. The secret of his unique career lay in his fervent nature as possessed and empowered by the living Christ.
Bibliography: W. Barclay, The Mind of St. Paul, 1958; G. Bornkamm, Paul, 1971; F. F. Bruce, Paul, Apostle of the Heart Set Free, 1977; J. C. Baker, Paul the Apostle, 1980; Michael Grant, St. Paul, 1982.
US) Gerhardt (1607-1676. German hymnwriter. Born in Saxony, he studied at Wittenberg and spent some years as a tutor in Berlin. In 1651, already middle-aged, he became a Lutheran pastor at Mittenwalde. In 1657 he was appointed to the St. Nicolaikirche in Berlin. Here he won esteem as a preacher. An uncompromising Lutheran, he refused to accept even tacitly Friedrich Wilhelm I's edict restricting freedom of speech on disputed points between Lutherans and Calvinists. In 1668 he became archdeacon of Lübben where, as a widower with one surviving child out of five, he remained until his death. Among German hymnwriters he ranks second only to Luther. About one- third of his 133 hymns, first published in the collections of J. Crüger, are still sung in Germany. They mark the transition from the confessional to the devotional type of hymnody: cf. Luther's “Ein feste Burg” with Gerhardt's “Befiehl du deine Wege,” which John Wesley translated as “Commit thou all thy griefs.” Other translations include “All my heart this night rejoices” (Winkworth); “Jesu, Thy boundless love to me” (Wesley); “O Sacred Head! now wounded” (J.W. Alexander), a paraphrase of “Salve caput cruentatum”; and “The duteous day now closeth” (Bridges).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
1. The Acts
2. The Thirteen Epistles
(1) Pauline Authorship
(2) Lightfoot’s Grouping
(a) First Group (1 and 2 Thessalonians)
(b) Second Group (1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, (c) Third Group-(Philippians, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians)
(d) Fourth Group (1 Timothy, Titus, 2 Timothy)
(3) Paul’s Conception of His Epistles
(4) Development in Paul’s Epistles
II. MODERN THEORIES ABOUT PAUL
1. Criticism Not Infallible
2. The Tubingen Theory
3. Protest against Baur’s View
4. Successors to Baur
5. Appeal to Comparative Religion
6. The Eschatological Interpretation
III. CHRONOLOGY OF PAUL’s CAREER
2. Crucial Points
(1) The Death of Stephen
(2) The Flight from Damascus
(3) The Death of Herod Agrippa I
(4) The First Mission Tour
(5) The First Visit to Corinth
(6) Paul at Troas according to Ac 20:6 f
(7) Festus Succeeding Felix
IV. EQUIPMENew Testament
1. The City of Tarsus
2. Roman Citizenship
4. The Mystery-Religions
6. Personal Characteristics
(1) Personal Appearance
(2) Natural Endowments
(3) Supernatural Gifts
(3) Effect on Paul
5. The First Great Mission Campaign
6. The Conflict at Jerusalem
7. The Second Mission Campaign
8. The Third Mission Campaign
9. Five Years a Prisoner
10. Further Travels
11. Last Imprisonment and Death
1. The Acts:
For discussion of the historical value of the Ac of the Apostles see the article on that subject. It is only necessary to say here that the view of Sir W.M. Ramsay in general is accepted as to the trustworthiness of Luke, whose authorship of the Ac is accepted and proved by Harnack (Die Apostelgeschichte, 1908; The Ac of the Apostles, translation by Wilkinson, 1909; Neue Untersuch. zur Ap., 1911; The Date of the Ac and of the Synoptic Gospels, translations by Wilkinson, 1911). The proof need not be given again. The same hand appears in the "we" sections and the rest of the book. Even Moffatt (Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament, 311) admits the Lukan authorship though dating it in 100 AD instead of 60-62 AD, against Harnack. The Ac is written independently of the Epistles of Paul, whether early or late, and supplements in a wonderful way the incidental references in the epistles, though not without lacunae and difficulties.
2. The Thirteen Epistles:
(1) Pauline Authorship.
See the articles on each epistle for detailed criticism. It is here assumed that the Epistle to the Hebrews was not written by Paul, though Pauline in point of view. One cannot stop to prove every statement in an article like this, else a large book would be needed. Criticism is not an infallible science. One can turn easily from the Hatch-Van Manen article on "Paul" in Encyclopedia Biblica (1902) to the Maclean article on "Paul the Apostle" in the 1-vol HDB (1909). Van-Manen’s part of the one denies all the thirteen, while Maclean says: "We shall, in what follows, without hesitation use the thirteen epistles as genuine." It is certain that Paul wrote more epistles, or "letters," as Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, 225) insists on calling all of Paul’s epistles. Certainly Philera is a mere "letter," but it is difficult to say as much about Romans. Deissmann (St. Paul, 22) admits that portions of Romans are like "an epistolary letter." At any rate, when Moffatt (Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament, 64-82) carefully justifies the Pauline authorship of both 1 and 2 Thessalonians, it is clear that the case against them cannot be very strong, especially as Moffatt stands out against the genuineness of Ephesians (op. cit., 393) and the Pastoral Epistles (p. 414).
Bartlet, who was once at a loss to know what to do with the Pastorals on theory that Paul was not released from the Roman imprisonment (Apostolic Age, 1899, 200), is now quite willing to face the new facts set forth by Ramsay (Expos, VII, viii-ix, VIII, i), even if it means the admission of a second Roman imprisonment, a view that Bartlet had opposed. He now pleads for "the fresh approach from the side of experience, by men who are in touch with the realities of human nature in all its variety, as well as at home in the historical background of society in the early Roman empire, that has renovated the study of them and taken it out of the old ruts of criticism in which it has moved for the most part in modern times" (Expos, January, 1913, 29). Here Bartlet, again, now eloquently presents the view of common-sense criticism as seen by the practical missionary better than by a life "spent amid the academic associations of a professor’s chair," though he pauses to note as an exception Professor P. Gardner’s The Religious Experience of Paul (1912). We may quote Bartlet once more (Expos, January, 1913, 30): "In the recovery of a true point of view a vital element has been the newer conception of Paul himself and so of Paulinism. Paul the doctrinaire theologian, or at least the prophet of a one-sided gospel repeated with fanatical uniformity of emphasis under all conditions, has largely given place to Paul the missionary, full indeed of inspired insight on the basis of a unique experience, but also of practical instinct, the offspring of sympathy with living men of other types of training. When the Pastorals are viewed anew in the light of this idea, half their difficulties disappear." One need not adopt Deissmann’s rather artificial insistence on "letters" rather than "epistles," and his undue depreciation of Paul’s intellectual caliber and culture as being more like Amos than Origen (St. Paul, 1912, 6), in order to see the force of this contention for proper understanding of the social environment of Paul. Against Van Manen’s "historical Paul" who wrote nothing, he places "the historic Paul" who possibly wrote all thirteen. "There is really no trouble except with the letters to Timothy and Titus, and even there the difficulties are perhaps not quite so great as many of our specialists assume" (St. Paul, 15). See Pastoral Epistles. Deissmann denies sharply that Paul was an "obscurantist" who corrupted the gospel of Jesus, "the dregs of doctrinaire study of Paul, mostly in the tired brains-of gifted amateurs" (p. 4). But A. Schweitzer boldly proclaims that he alone has the key to Paul and Jesus. It is the "exclusively Jewish eschatological" (Paul and His Interpreters, 1912, ix), conception of Christ’s gospel that furnishes Schweitzer’s spring-board (The Quest of the Historical Jesus). Thus he will be able to explain "the Hellenization of the gospel" as mediated through Paul. To do that Schweitzer plows his weary way from Grotius to Holtzmann, and finds that they have all wandered into the wilderness. He is positive that his eschatological discovery will rescue Paul and some of his epistles from the ruin wrought by Steck and Van Manen to whose arguments modern criticism has nothing solid to offer, and the meager negative crumbs offered by Schweitzer ought to be thankfully received (ibid, 249).
(2) Lightfoot’s Grouping.
(Compare Biblical Essays, 224.) There is doubt as to the position of Galatians. Some advocates of the South-Galatian theory make it the very earliest of Paul’s Epistles, even before the Jerusalem Conference in Ac 15. So Eramet, Commentary on Galatians (1912), ix, who notes (Preface) that his commentary is the first to take this position. But the North Galatian view still has the weight of authority in spite of Ramsay’s powerful advocacy in his various books (see Historical Commentary on Galatians), as is shown by Moffatt, Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament, 90 ff. Hence, Lightfoot’s grouping is still the best to use.
(a) First Group (1 and 2 Thessalonians):
1 and 2 Thessalonians, from Corinth, 52-53 AD. Harnack’s view that 2 Thessalonians is addressed to a Jewish Christian church in Thessalonica while 1 Thessalonians is addressed to a Gentilechurch is accepted by Lake (Earlier Epistles of Paul, 1911, 83 ff) but Frame (ICC, 1912, 54) sees no need for this hypothesis. Milligan is clear that 1 Thessalonians precedes 2 Thessalonians (Commentary, 1908, xxxix) and is the earliest of Paul’s Epistles (p. xxxvi). The accent on eschatology is in accord with the position of the early disciples in the opening chapters of Acts. They belong to Paul’s stay in Corinth recorded in Ac 18.
(b) Second Group (1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans):
(c) Third group (Philippians, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians):
Philippians, Philemon, Colossians, Ephesians. Date 61-63, unless Paul reached Rome several years earlier. This matter depends on the date of the coming of Festus to succeed Felix (Ac 24:27). It was once thought to be 60 AD beyond any doubt, but the whole matter is now uncertain. See "Chronology," III, 2, (2), below. At any rate these four epistles were written during the first Roman imprisonment, assuming that he was set free.
But it must be noted that quite a respectable group of scholars hold that one or all of these epistles were written from Caesarea (Schultz, Thiersch, Meyer, Hausrath, Sabatier, Reuss, Weiss, Haupt, Spitta, McPherson, Hicks). But the arguments are more specious than convincing. See Hort, Romans and Ephesians, 101-10. There is a growing opinion that Philemon, Colossians and Ephesians were written from Ephesus during a possible imprisonment in Paul’s stay of 3 years there. So Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, 229; Paul, 16); Lisco (Vincula Sanctorum, 1900); M. Albertz (Theol. Studien und Kritiken, 1910, 551 ff); B. W. Bacon (Journal of Biblical Lit., 1910, 181 ff). The strongest argument for this position is that Paul apparently did not know personally the readers of Eph (1:15); compare also Col 1:4. But this objection need not apply if the so-called Ephesian Epistle was a circular letter and if Paul did not visit Colosse and Laodicea during his 3 years at Ephesus. The theory is more attractive at first than on reflection. It throws this group before Romans--a difficult view to concede.
But even so, the order of these epistles is by no means certain. It is clear that Philemon, Colossians and Ephesians were sent together. Tychicus was the bearer of Colossians (4:7 f) and Ephesians (6:21 f). Onesimus carried the letter to Philemon (1:10,13) and was also the companion of Tychicus to Colosse (Col 4:9). So these three epistles went together from Rome. It is commonly assumed that Php was the last of the group of four, and hence later than the other three, because Paul is balancing life and death (Php 1:21 ) and is expecting to be set free (Php 1:25), but he has the same expectation of freedom when he writes Philemon (1:22). The absence of Luke (Php 2:20) has to be explained on either hypothesis. Moffatt (Introduction, 159) is dogmatic, "as Philippians was certainly the last letter that he wrote," ruling out of court Ephesians, not to say the later Pastoral Epistles. But this conclusion gives Moffatt trouble with the Epistle to the Laodiceans (Col 4:16) which he can only call "the enigmatic reference" and cannot follow Rutherford (St. Paul’s Epistles to Colosse and Laodicea, 1908) in identifying the Laodicean Epistle with Ephesians, as indeed Marcion seems to have done. But the notion that Ephesians was a circular letter designed for more than one church (hence, without personalities) still holds the bulk of modern opinion.
Von Soden (History of Early Christian Literature, 294) is as dogmatic as Wrede or Van Manen: "All which has hitherto been said concerning this epistle, its form, its content, its ideas, its presuppositions, absolutely excludes the possibility of a Pauline authorship." He admits "verbal echoes of Pauline epistles"
Lightfoot puts Philippians before the other three because of its doctrinal affinity with the second group in chapter 3 as a reminiscence, and because of its anticipation of the Christological controversy with incipient Gnosticism in chapter 2. This great discussion is central in Colossians and Ephesians. At any rate, we have thus a consistent and coherent interpretation of the group. Philemon, though purely personal, is wondrously vital as a sociological document. Paul is in this group at the height of his powers in his grasp of the Person of Christ.
(d) Fourth Group (1 Timothy, Titus, 2 Timothy):
1 Timothy, Titus, 2 Timothy. The Pastoral Epistles are still hotly disputed, but there is a growing willingness in Britain and Germany to make a place for them in Paul’s life. Von Soden bluntly says: "It is impossible that these epistles as they stand can have been written by Paul" (History of Early Christian Literature, 310). He finds no room for the heresy here combated, or for the details in Paul’s life, or for the linguistic peculiarities in Paul’s style. But he sees a "literary nicety"--this group that binds them together and separates them from Paul. Thus tersely he puts the case against the Pauline authorship. So Moffatt argues for the "sub-Pauline environment" and "sub-Pauline atmosphere" of these epistles with the advanced ecclesiasticism (Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament, 410 ff). Wrede thrusts aside the personal details and argues that the epistles give merely the tendency of early Christianity (Ueber Aufgabe und Metbode der Sogen. New Testament Theologie, 1897, 357). The Hatch-Van Manen article in Encyclopedia Biblica admits only that "the Pastoral Epistles occupy themselves chiefly with the various affairs of the churches within `Pauline circles.’ "
Moffatt has a vigorous attack on these letters in EB, but he "almost entirely ignores the external evidence, while he has nothing to say to the remarkable internal evidence which immediately demands our attention" (Knowling, Testimony of Paul to Christ, 3rd edition, 1911, 129). Moffatt (Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament, 414) holds that the Pastoral Epistles came from one pen, but the personality and motives are very vague to him. The personal details in 2Ti 1:14-18; 4:9-22 are not on a paragraph with those in The Ac of Paul and Thekla in the 2nd century. Many critics who reject the Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles admit the personal details in 2 Timothy, but it is just in such matters that forgeries are recognizable. To admit these fragments is logically to admit the whole (Maclean in 1-vol HDB), as Moffatt sees (Intro, 414), however much he seeks to tone down the use of Paul’s name as "a Christian form of suasoriae," and "a further and inoffensive development of the principle which sought to claim apostolic sanction for the expanding institutions and doctrines of the early church" (ibid., 415). The objection against these epistles from differences in diction has been grievously overdone. As a matter of fact, each of the four groups has words peculiar to it, and naturally so. Style is a function of the subject as well as a mark of the man. Besides, style changes with one’s growth. It would have been remarkable if all four
had shown no change in no change in vocabulary and style. The case of Shakespeare is quite pertinent, for the various groups of plays stand more or less apart. The Pastoral Epistles belong to Paul’s old age and deal with personal and ecclesiastical matters in a more or less reminiscential way, with less of vehement energy than we get in the earlier epistles, but this situation is what one would reasonably expect. The "ecclesiastical organization" argument has been greatly overdone. As a matter of fact, "the organization in the Pastoral Epistles is not apparently advanced one step beyond that of the church in Philippi in 61 AD" (Ramsay, The Expositor, VII, viii, 17). The "gnosis" met by these epistles (1Ti 6:20; Tit 1:14) is not the highly developed type seen in the Ignatian Epistles of the 2nd century. Indeed, Bartlet ("Historic Setting of the Pastoral Epistles," The Expositor, January, 1913, 29) pointedly says that, as a result of Hort’s "Judaistic Christianity" and "Christian Ecclesia" and Ramsay’s "Historical Commentary on the Epistles of Timothy" (Expos, VII, vii, ix, VIII, i), "one feels the subject has been lifted to a new level of reality and that much criticism between Baur and Julicher is out of date and irrelevant." It is now shown that the Pastoral Epistles are not directed against Gnosticism of advanced type, but even of a more Jewish type (Tit 1:14) than that in Colossians. Ramsay (Expos, VIII, i, 263) sweeps this stock criticism aside as "from the wrong point of view." It falls to the ground. Lightfoot ("Note on the Heresy Combated in the Pastoral Epistles," Biblical Essays, 413) had insisted on the Jewish character of the Gnosticism attacked here. As a matter of fact, the main objection to these epistles is that they do not fit into the story in Acts, which breaks off abruptly with Paul in Rome. But it is a false premise to assume that the Pastoral Epistles have to fit into the events in Acts. Harnack turns the objection that Paul in Ac 20:26 predicted that he would never see the Ephesian elders again into a strong argument for the date of Luke’s Gospel before 2Ti 4:21 (The Date of Ac and Synoptic Gospels, 103). Indeed, he may not have revisited Ephesus after all, but may have seen Timothy at Miletus also (1Ti 1:3). Harnack frankly admits the acquittal and release of Paul and thus free play for the Pastoral Epistles Blass (Acta Apostolorum, 24) acknowledges the Pastoral Epistles as genuine. So also Findlay, article "Paul," in HDB; Maclean in 1-vol HDB; Denney in Standard BD. Sanday (Inspiration, 364) comments on the strength of the external evidence for the Pastoral Epistles. Even Holtzmann (Einl(3), 291) appears to admit echoes of the Pastoral Epistles in the Ignatian Epistles Lightfoot (Biblical Essays, "Date of the Pastoral Epistles," 399-437) justifies completely the acceptance of the Pauline authorship. Deissman (St. Paul, 15) has a needed word: "The delusion is still current in certain circles that the scientific distinction of a Bible scholar may be estimated in the form of a percentage according to the proportion of his verdicts of spuriousness. .... The extant letters of Paul have been innocently obliged to endure again a fair share of the martyrdom suffered by the historic Paul." See further PASTORAL EPISTLES.
(3) Paul’s Conception of His Epistles
(4) Development in Paul’s Epistles
For Paul’s gospel or theology see later. Here we must stress the fact that all four groups of Paul’s Epistles are legitimate developments from his fundamental experience of grace as conditioned by his previous training and later work. He met each new problem with the same basal truth that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, revealed to Paul on the way to Damascus. The reality of this great experience must here be assumed (see discussion later). It may be admitted that the Ac does not stand upon the same plane as the Pauline Epistles as a witness concerning Paul’s conversion (Fletcher, The Conversion of Paul, 1910, 5). But even so, the Epistles amply confirm Luke’s report of the essential fact that Jesus appeared to Paul in the same sense that He did to the apostles and 500 Christians (1Co 15:4-9). The revelation of Christ to Paul and in Paul (en emoi, Ga 1:16) and the specific call connected therewith to preach to the Gentiles gave Paul a place independent of and on a paragraph with the other apostles (Ga 1:16 f; 2:1-10). Paul’s first preaching (Ac 9:20) "proclaimed Jesus, that he is the Son of God." This "primitive Paulinism" (Sabatier, The Apostle Paul, 1893, 113) lay at the heart of Paul’s message in his sermons and speeches in Acts. Professor P. Gardner regards Luke as a "careless" historian ("The Speeches of Paul in Acts," Cambridge Biblical Essays, 1909, 386), but he quite admits the central place of Paul’s conversion, both in the Ac and the Epistles (ib; compare also The Religious Experience of Paul).
In a broad generalization the first group of the epistles is eschatological, the second soteriological, the third Christological, and the fourth pastoral (Garvie, Studies of Paul and His Gospel, 22). But one must not get the notion that Paul did not have a full gospel of salvation in the first group, and did not come to the true motive of the person of Christ as Lord till the second, or understand the pastoral office till the fourth. See emphasis on Paul’s work as pastor and preacher in 1Th 2 (first group), and the Lordship of Christ also (1Th 1:1,3; 2Th 1:1; 2:13 f), on a paragraph with the Father.
There was a change of accent in each group on questions of eschatology, but in each one Paul cherishes the hope of the second coming of Christ up to the very end when he speaks of his own death (2Ti 4:8,18). Paul has a whole gospel of grace in all his epistles, but he presses home the special phase of truth needed at the moment, always with proper balance and modification, though not in the form of a system of doctrine. In the first group he relieves the minds of the Thessalonian Christians from the misapprehension into which they had fallen concerning his position on the immediate coming of Christ. In the second group Paul vindicates the gospel of grace from the legalistic addition of the Judaizers who sought to rob the Gentiles of their freedom by insisting that they become Jews as well as Christians. This ringing battle is echoed in Ac 15 and is the mightiest conflict of Paul’s career. We hear echoes of it in Php 3, but he had won his contention. In the third group the battle with error has shifted to the province of Asia, especially the Lycus Valley, where a mystic mixture of Judaism (Essenism) and heathen mystery-religions and philosophies (incipient Gnosticism) was so rife in the 2nd century (the various forms of Gnosticism which combined with some aspects of Christianity). It is possible also that Mithraism was already a foe of Christianity. The central position and essential deity of Jesus Christ was challenged by these new and world-old heresies, and Paul attacks them with marvelous skill in Col and Eph and works out in detail his teaching concerning the person of Christ with due emphasis on the soteriological aspects of Christ’s work and on Christian life. Bruce (St. Paul’s Conception of Christianity) conceives that Paul gives us his entire conception of Christianity in the four great epistles of the second group, while B. Weiss (Biblical Theology of the New Testament) sees a more developed doctrine in the third group. He is in his prime in both groups. In the fourth group the same struggle lingers on with variations in Crete and even in Ephesus. The Jewish phase of the heresy is more decided (perhaps Pharisaic), and recalls to some extent the Judaistic controversy in the second group. Paul is older and faces the end, and Christianity has enemies within and without. He turns to young ministers as the hope of the future in the propagation of the gospel of the happy God. The fires have burned lower, and there is less passion and heat. The tone is now fierce, now tender. The style is broken and reminiscent and personal, though not with the rush of torrential emotion in 2 Corinthians, nor the power of logic in Galatians and Romans. Each epistle fits into its niche in the group. Each group falls into proper relation to the stage in Paul’s life and justly reveals the changes of thought and feeling in the great apostle. It is essential that one study Paul’s Epistles in their actual historical order if one wishes to understand the mind of Paul. Scholars are not agreed, to be sure on this point. They are not agreed on anything, for that matter. See two methods of presenting Paul’s Epistles in Robertson, Chronological New Testament (1904), and Moffatt, Historical New Testament (1901).
II. Modern Theories about Paul.
1. Criticism Not Infallible:
Findlay (HDB, "Paul") utters a needed warning when he reminds us that the modern historical and psychological method of study is just as liable to prepossession and prejudice as the older categories of scholastic and dogmatic theology. "The focus of the picture may be displaced and its colors falsified by philosophical no less than by ecclesiastical spectacles" (same place). Deissmann (St. Paul, 4 f) sympathizes with this protest against the infallibility of modern subjective criticism: "That really and properly is the task of the modern student of Paul: to come back from the paper Paul of our western libraries, Germanized, dogmatised, modernized, to the historic Paul; to penetrate through the `Paulinism’ of our New Testament theologies to the Paul of ancient reality." He admits the thoroughness and the magnitude of the work accomplished in the 19th century concerning the literary questions connected with Paul’s letters, but it is a "doctrinaire interest" that "has gone farther and farther astray." Deissmann conceives of Paul as a "hero of piety first and foremost," not as a theologian. "As a religious genius Paul’s outlook is forward into a future of universal history." In this position of Deissmann we see a return to the pre-Baur time. Deissmann would like to get past all the schools of criticism, back to Paul himself.
2. The Tubingen Theory:
Baur started the modern critical attitude by his Pastoralbriefe (1835, p. 79), in which he remarked that there were only four epistles of Paul (Galatians 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans) which could be accepted as genuine. In his Paulus (1845) he expounded this thesis. He also rejected the Acts. From the four great epistles and from the pseudo-Clementine literature of the 2nd century, Baur argued that Paul and Peter were bitter antagonists. Peter and the other apostles were held fast in the grip of the legalistic conception of Christianity, a sort of Christianized Pharisaism. Paul, when converted, had reacted violently against this view, and became the exponent of Gentile freedom. Christianity was divided into two factions, Jewish Christians (Petrinists) and Gentile Christians (Paulinists). With this "key" Baur ruled out the other Pauline epistles and Ac as spurious, because they did not show the bitterness of this controversy. He called them "tendency" writings, designed to cover up the strife and to show that peace reigned in the camp. This arbitrary theory cut a wide swath for 50 years, and became a fetich with many scholars, but it is now dead. "It has been seen that it is bad criticism to make a theory on insecure grounds, and then to reject all the literature which contradicts it" (Maclean in 1-vol HDB). Ramsay (The First Christian Century, 1911, 195) contends that the perpetuation of the Baur standpoint in Moffatt’s Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament is an anachronism: "We are no longer in the 19th century with its negations, but in the 20th century with its growing power of insight and the power of belief that springs therefrom." Van Marten (Encyclopedia Biblica) calls the Baur view that of the "old guard" of liberal theology in Germany, Switzerland, France, Holland, and, to some extent, in Britain.
3. Protest against Baur’s View:
But even in Germany the older conservative view of Paul has always had champions. The most consistent of the recent opponents of Baur’s views in Germany is Th. Zahn (compare his Einlin das New Testament, 2 volumes, 1897-99; Introduction to the New Testament, 3 volumes, 1910). In Britain the true successor of Lightfoot as the chief antagonist of the Tubingen School is Sir W.M. Ramsay, whose numerous volumes (Church in the Roman Empire, 1893; Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, 1895; Paul the Traveler, 1896; Pauline and Other Studies, 1906; Cities of Paul, 1908; Luke the Physician and Other Studies, 1908; Pictures of the Apostolic Church, 1910; The First Christian Century, 1911) have given the finishing touches to the overthrow of Baur’s contention.
4. Successors to Baur:
But even so, already the Baur school had split into two parts. The ablest representatives, like H. J. Holtzmann, Pfleiderer, Harnack, Julicher, Lipsius, von Soden, were compelled to admit more of Paul’s Epistles as genuine than the four principal ones, till there are left practically none to fight over but Eph and the Pastoral Epistles. This progress eliminated completely Baur’s thesis and approached very nearly to the position of Lightfoot, Ramsay and Zahn. Von Soden (Early Christian Literature, 324) still stands out against 2 Thessalonians, but Harnack has deserted him on that point. But the old narrow view of Baur is gone, and von Soden is eloquent in his enthusiasm for Paul (ibid., 119): "As we gaze upon the great literary memorials of the Greeks we may well question whether these Pauline letters are not equal to them--indeed, do not surpass them--in spiritual significance, in psychological depths and loftiness of ideal, above all in the art of complete and forcible expression." The other wing of Baur’s school Findlay (HDB) calls "ultra-Baurians." It is mainly a Dutch school with Loman and Van Manen as its main exponents, though it has support in Germany from Steck and Volter, and in America from W. B. Smith. These writers do not say that Paul is a myth, but that our sources (Acts and the 13 epistles) are all legendary. It is a relentless carrying of Baur’s thesis to a reductio ad absurdum. Van Manen (Encyclopedia Biblica) says of "the historical, Paul" as distinct from "the legendary Paul": "It does not appear that Paul’s ideas differed widely from those of the other disciples, or that he had emancipated himself from Judaism or had outgrown the law more than they." When one has disposed of all the evidence he is entirely free to reconstruct the pictures to suit himself. Quite arbitrarily, Van Manen accepts the "we"-sections in Ac as authoritative. But these give glimpses of the historical Jesus quite as truly as the Pauline Epistles, and should therefore be rejected by advocates of the mythical Jesus. So the pendulum swings back and forth. One school destroys the other, but the fact of Paul’s personality remains. "The new start is one of such importance that we must distinguish the pre-Pauline from the post-Pauline Christianity, or, what amounts to the same thing, the Palestinian sect and the world-religion" (Wernle, Beginnings of Christianity, I, 159).
5. Appeal to Comparative Religion:
In his Paulus (1904), Wrede finds the explanation of Paul’s theology in late Jewish apocalyptic views and in the oriental mystery religions. Bousset (Die Religion des Judenthums im New Testament Zeitalter, 1903) seeks to find in the "late Jewish apocalyptic" "conceptions from the Babylonian and the Irano-Zarathustrian religions" (Schweitzer, Paul and His Interpreters, 173). According to Wrede’s view, Paul is one of the creators of "Christ" as distinct from the Jesus of history (compare "Jesus or Christ," HJ, suppl., January, 1909). "Wrede’s object is to overthrow the view predominant in modern theology, that Paul loyally and consistently expounded and developed theology of Jesus" (J. Weiss, Paul and Jesus, 1909, 2). J. Weiss in this book makes a careful reply to Wrede as others have done; compare A. Meyer, Jesus or Paul (1909), who concludes (p. 134) dramatically: "Paul--just one who points the way to Jesus and to God!" See also Julicher, Paulus und Jesus (1907); Kaftan, Jesus und Paulus (1906); Kolbing, Die geistige Einwirkung der Person Jesu und Paulus (1906). The best reply to Wrede’s arguments about the mystery-religion is found in articles in the The Expositor for 1912-13 (now in book form) by H.A.A. Kennedy on "St. Paul and the Mystery-Religions." The position of Wrede is carried to its logical conclusion by Drews (Die Christus-Mythe, 1909), who makes Paul the creator of Christianity. W. B. Smith (Der vorchristliche Jesus, 1906) tries to show that "Jesus" was a pre-Christian myth or god. Schweitzer (Paul and His Interpreters, 235) sums the matter up thus: "Drews’s thesis is not merely a curiosity; it indicates the natural limit at which the hypothesis advanced by the advocates of comparative religion, when left to its own momentum, finally comes to rest."
6. The Eschatological Interpretation:
Schweitzer himself may be accepted as the best exponent of the rigid application of this view to Paul (Paul and His Interpreters, 1912) that he had made to Jesus (The Quest of the Historical Jesus, 1910). He glories in the ability to answer the absurdities of Steck, Loman and Van Manen and Drews by showing that the eschatological conceptions of Paul in his epistles are primitive, not late, and belong to the 1st century, not to the 2nd (Paul and His Interpreters, 249). He thus claims to be the true pupil of Baur, though reaching conclusions utterly different. There is undoubtedly an element of truth in this contention of Schweitzer, but he loses his case, when he insists that nothing but eschatology must be allowed to figure. "The edifice constructed by Baur has fallen," he proclaims (p. viii), but he demands that in its place we allow the "exclusively Jewish-eschatological" (p. ix) interpretation. There he slips, and his theory will go the way of that of Baur. C. Anderson Scott ("Jesus and Paul," Cambridge Biblical Essays, 365) admits that Paul has the same eschatological outlook as Jesus, but also the same ethical interest. It is not "either ..... or," but both in each case. See a complete bibliography of the "Jesus and Paul" controversy in J. G. Machens’ paper on "Jesus and Paul" in Biblical and Theological Studies (1912, 547 f). As Ramsay insists, we are now in the 20th century of insight and sanity, and Paul has come to his own. Even Wernle (Beginnings of Christianity, I, 163) sees that Paul is not the creator of the facts: "He merely transmits historical facts. God--Christ--Paul, such is the order." Saintsbury (History of Criticism, 152) says: "It has been the mission of the 19th century to prove that everybody’s work was written by somebody else, and it will not be the most useless task of the 20th to betake itself to more profitable inquiries."
III. Chronology of Paul’s Career.
There is not a single date in the life of Paul that is beyond dispute, though several are narrowed to a fine point, and the general course and relative proportion of events are clear enough. Luke gave careful data for the time of the birth of Jesus (Lu 2:1 f), for the entrance of the Baptist on his ministry (Lu 3:1 f), and the age of Jesus when He began His work (Lu 3:23), but he takes no such pains in the Ac with chronology. But we are left with a number of incidental allusions and notes of time which call for some discussion. For fuller treatment see Chronology of the New Testament. Garvie (Life and Teaching of Paul, 1910, 181) gives a comparative table of the views of Harnack, Turner, Ramsay and Lightfoot for the events from the crucifixion of Christ to the close of Acts. The general scheme is nearly the same, differing from one to four years here and there. Shaw (The Pauline Epistles, xi) gives a good chronological scheme. Moffatt (Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament, 62 f) gives theories of 23 scholars:
Turner, "Chronology," in HDB; Neteler, Untersuchung New Testament Zeitverhaltnisse, 1894; O. Holtzmann, New Testament Zeitgeschichte, 1895, changed in 2nd edition, 1906; Bartlet, Apostolic Age, xiii f; Cornely (compare Laurent), New Testament Studien; Harnack, Chron. d. altchristl. Lit. bis Eusebius, 233-329; McGiffert, Apostolic Age, 164, 172; Zahn, Intro, III, 450 f; Ramsay, "The Pauline Chronology," Pauline and Other Studies, 345 f; Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, 213-33; Wendt, Acts, 53-60, Meyer, Commentary; Renan, Paul; Bornemann, Thess, 17 f, Meyer, Comm.; Clemen, Paulus, I, 411; Giffert, Student’s Life of Paul, 242-59; Weiss, Intro, I, 154 f; Sabatier, Paul, 13 f; Julicher, Einl6, 31 f; Findlay, "Paul" in HDB; Farrar, Paul, Appendix; Belser, Theol. Quartalschrift; Steinmann, Abfassungszeit d. Gal, 169; Hoennicke, Die Chronologie des Paulus.
Let us look at the dates given by ten of this list:
Turner Bartlet Harnack McGiffert Zahn
Conversion 35-36 31-32 30 31-32 35
1st visit to Jerusalem 38 34-35 33 34-45 38
2nd visit to Jerusalem 46 46 44 45 44
1st missionary tour 47 47 45 before 45 50-51
Meeting in Jerusalem 49 49 46-47 45 52
2nd missionary tour 49 49 46-47 46 52
3rd missionary tour 52 52 50 49 54
Arrest in Jerusalem 56 56 53-54 53 58
Arrival in Rome 59 59 56-57 56 61
Death of Paul 64-65 61-62 64 58 66-67
Ramsay Lightfoot Clemen Findlay Hoennicke
Conversion 32 34 31 36 33-35
1st visit to Jerusalem 34 37 34 39 36-38
2nd visit to Jerusalem 45 45 .. .. 45-46
1st missionary tour 46-48 48 46 46 49?
Meeting in Jerusalem 50 51 48 49 50-52
2nd missionary tour 50-53 51 49-52 49 ..
3rd missionary tour 53-57 54 53-59 53 ..
Arrest in Jerusalem 57 58 59 57 ..
Arrival in Rome 60 61 62 60 60-62
Death of Paul 67 67 64 67 ..
This table shows very well the present diversity of opinion on the main points in Paul’s life. Before expressing an opinion on the points at issue it is best to examine a few details. Paul himself gives some notes of time. He gives "after 3 years" (Ga 1:18) as the period between his conversion and first visit to Jerusalem, though he does not necessarily mean 3 full years. In Ga 2:1, Paul speaks of another visit to Jerusalem "after the space of 14 years." Then again Luke quotes him as saying to the Ephesian elders at Miletus that he had spent "3 years" at Ephesus (Ac 20:31). These periods of time all come before Paul’s last visit and arrest in Jerusalem, and they do not embrace all the time between his conversion and arrest. There is also another note of time in 2Co 12:2, where he speaks in an enigmatic way of experiences of his "14 years" ago from the writing of this epistle from Macedonia on the third tour. This will take him back to Tarsus before coming to Antioch at the request of Barnabas, and so overlaps a bit the other "14" above, and includes the "3 years" at Ephesus. We cannot, therefore, add these figures together for the total. But some light may be obtained from further details from Ac and the Epistles.
2. Crucial Points:
(1) The Death of Stephen.
Saul is "a young man" (Ac 7:58) when this event occurs. Like other young Jews he entered upon his life as a rabbi at the age of thirty. He had probably been thus active several years, especially as he was now in a position of leadership and may even have been a member of the Sanhedrin (Ac 26:10). Pontius Pilate was not deposed from his procuratorship till 36 AD, but was in a state of uneasiness for a couple of years. It is more probable, therefore, that the stoning of Stephen would take place after his deposition in the interregnum, or not many years before, when he would be afraid to protest against the lawlessness of the Jewish leaders. He had shown timidity at the death of Jesus, 29 or 30 AD, but some of the forms of law were observed. So nothing decisive is here obtained, though 35 AD seems more probable than 32 or 33.
(2) The Flight from Damascus.
Paul locates this humiliating experience (2Co 11:32 f) when "the governor under Aretas the king guarded the city of the Damascenes." Aretas the Arabian, and not the Roman, has now control when Paul is writing. The likelihood is that Aretas did not get possession of Damascus till 37 AD, when Tiberius died and was succeeded by Caligula. It is argued by some that the expression "the city of the Damascenes" shows that the city was not under the control of Aretas, but was attacked by a Bedouin chieftain who lay in wait for Paul before the city. That to me seems forced. Josephus (Ant., XVIII, v, 3; vi, 3) at any rate is silent concerning the authority of Aretas over Damascus from 35-37 AD, but no coins or inscriptions show Roman rule over the city between 35 and 62 AD. Ramsay, however ("The Pauline Chronology," Pauline and Other Studies, 364), accepts the view of Marquardt (Romische Staatsalterth., I, 404 f) that it was possible for Aretas to have had possession of Damascus before 37 AD. The flight from Damascus is the same year as the visit to Jerusalem, Paul’s first after his conversion (Ac 9:26; Ga 1:18). If we knew the precise year of this event, we could subtract two or three years and reach the date of his conversion. Lightfoot in his Commentary on Ga gives 38 as the date of this first visit to Jerusalem, and 36 as the date of the conversion, taking "after 3 years" in a free way, but in his Biblical Essays, 221, he puts the visit in 37 and the conversion in 34, and says " `after 3 years’ must mean three whole years, or substantially so." Thus we miss a sure date again.
(3) The Death of Herod Agrippa I.
(4) The First Missionary Tour.
Sergius Paulus is proconsul of Cyprus when Barnabas and Saul visit the island (Ac 13:7). The proconsul Paulus is mentioned in a Greek inscription of Soloi (Hogarth, Devia Cypria, 1889, 114) and Lucius Sergius Paulus in CIL, VI, 31, 545, but, as no mention of his being proconsul is here made, it is probably earlier than that time. The Soloi inscription bears the date 53 AD, but Sergius Paulus was not proconsul in 51 or 52. Hence, he may have been proconsul in 50 or the early part of 51 AD.It could not be later and may have been earlier.
(5) The First Visit to Corinth.
The point to note here is that Gallio becomes proconsul of Achaia (Ac 18:12). Paul has been apparently in Corinth a year and six months when Gallio appears on the scene (Ac 18:11). Aquila and Priscilla had "lately come from Italy" (Ac 18:2) when Paul arrived there. They had been expelled from Rome by the emperor Claudius (Ac 18:2). On the arrival of Gallio the Jews at once accuse Paul before him; he refuses to interfere, and Paul stays on for a while and then leaves for Syria with Aquila and Priscilla (Ac 18:18). Deissmann (St. Paul, Appendix, I, "The Proconsulate of L. Junius Gallio") has shown beyond reasonable doubt that Gallio, the brother of Seneca, became proconsul of Achaia about July, 51 AD (or possibly 52). On a stone found at Delphi, Gallio is mentioned as proconsul of Achaia according to the probable restoration of part of the text. But the stone mentions the fact that Claudius had been acclaimed imperator 26 times. By means of another inscription we get the 27th proclamation as imperator in connection with the dedication of an aqueduct on August 1, 52 AD. So thus the 26th time is before this date, some time in the earlier part of the year. We need not follow in detail the turns of the argument (see Deissmann, op. cit.). Once more we do not get a certain date as to the year. It is either. the summer of 51 or 52 AD, when Gallio comes. And Paul has already been in Corinth a year and a half. But the terminus ad quem for the close of Paul’s two years’ stay in Corinth would be the early autumn of 52 AD, and more probably 51 AD. Hence, the 2 Thessalonian Epistles cannot be later than this date. Before the close of 52 AD, and probably 51, therefore must come the 2nd missionary tour, the conference at Jerusalem, the first missionary tour, etc. Deissmann is justified in his enthusiasm on this point. He is positive that 51 AD is the date of the arrival of Gallio.
(6) Paul at Troas according to Ac 20:6 f.
On this occasion Luke gives the days and the time of year (Passover). Ramsay figures (St. Paul the Traveler, 289 f) that Paul had his closing service at Troas on Sunday evening and the party left early Monday morning. Hence, he argues back to the Passover at Philippi and concludes that the days as given by Luke will not fit into 56, 58, or 59 AD, but will suit 57. If he is correct in this matter, then we should have a definite year for the last trip to Jerusalem. Lewin (Fasti Sacri, numbers 1856, 1857) reaches the same conclusion. The conclusion is logical if Luke is exact in his use of days in this passage. Yet Lightfoot insists on 58 AD but Ramsay has the advantage on this point. See Pauline and Other Studies, 352 f.
(7) Festus Succeeding Felix.
IV. His Equipment.
Ramsay chooses as the title of chapter ii, in his Paul the Traveler, the words "The Origin of Paul." It is not possible to explain the work and teaching of Paul without a just conception of the forces that entered into his life. Paul himself is still woefully misunderstood by some. Thus, A. Meyer (Jesus or Paul, 1909, 119) says: "In spite of all that has been said, there is no doubt that Paul, with his peculiar personality, with his tendency to recondite Gnostic speculation and rabbinic argument, has heavily encumbered the cause of Christianity. For many simple souls, and for many natures that are otherwise constituted than himself, he has barred the way to the simple Christianity of Jesus." That is a serious charge against the man who claimed to have done more than all the other apostles, and rightly, so far as we can tell (1Co 15:10), and who claimed that his interpretation of Jesus was the only true one (Ga 1:7-9). Moffatt (Paul and Paulinism, 1910, 70) minimizes the effect of Paulinism: "The majority of Paul’s distinctive conceptions were either misunderstood, or dropped, or modified, as the case might be, in the course of a few decades." "Paulinism as a whole stood almost as far apart from the Christianity that followed it as from that which preceded it" (ibid., 73). "The aim of some scholars seems to be to rob every great thinker of his originality" (Garvie, Studies of Paul and His Gospel, 1). Ramsay (Pauline and Other Studies, 3 ff) boldly challenges the modern prejudice of some scholars against Paul by asking, "Shall we hear evidence or not?" Every successive age must study afresh the life and work of Paul (ibid., 27) if it would understand him. Deissmann (St. Paul, 3 f) rightly sees that "St. Paul is spiritually the great power of the apostolic age." Hence, "the historian, surveying the beginnings of Christianity, sees Paul as first after Jesus." Feine (Jesus Christus und Paulus, 1902, 298) claims that Paul grasped the essence of the ministry of Christ "auf das tiefste." I own myself a victim to "the charm of Paul," to use Ramsay’s phrase (Pauline and Other Studies, 27). In seeking to study "the shaping influences" in Paul’s career (Alexander, The Ethics of Paul, 1910, 27), we shall be in error if we seek to explain everything by heredity and environment and if we deny any influence from these sources. He is what he is because of original endowments, the world of his day, and his experience of Christ Jesus. He had both essential and accidental factors in his equipment (Fairbairn, Studies in Religion and Theology, 1910, 469 f). Let us note the chief factors in his religious development.
1. The City of Tarsus:
Geography plays an important part in any life. John the Baptist spent his boyhood in the hill country of Judea in a small town (Lu 1:39) and then in the wilderness. Jesus spent His boyhood in the town of Nazareth and the country round. Both John and Jesus show fondness for Nature in all its forms. Paul grew up in a great city and spent his life in the great cities of the Roman empire. He makes little use of the beauties of Nature, but he has a keen knowledge of men (compare Robertson, Epochs in the Life of Paul, 12). Paul was proud of his great city (Ac 21:39). He was not merely a resident, but a "citizen" of this distinguished city. This fact shows that Paul’s family had not just emigrated from Judea to Tarsus a few years before his birth, but had been planted in Tarsus as part of a colony with full municipal rights (Ramsay, Paul the Traveler, 31 f). Tarsus was the capital of Cilicia, then a part of the province of Syria, but it had the title of metropolis and was a free city, urbs libera (Pliny, NH, v.27). To the ancient Greek the city was his "fatherland" (Ramsay, Cities of Paul, 1908, 90). Tarsus was situated on the river Cydnus, and in a wide plain with the hill country behind and the snow-covered Taurus Mountains in the distance. It was subject to malaria. Ramsay (ibid., 117 ff) from Ge 10:4 f holds that the early inhabitants were Greeks mingled with Orientals. East and West flowed together here. It was a Roman town also with a Jewish colony (ibid., 169 ff), constituting a city tribe to which Paul’s family belonged. So then Tarsus was a typical city of the Greek-Roman civilization.
The religions of the times all met there in this great mart of business. But it was one of the great seats of culture also. Strabo (xiv.6,73) even says that "Tarsus surpassed all other universities, such as Alexandria and Athens, in the study of philosophy and educational literature in general." "Its great preeminence," he adds, "consists in this, that the men of learning here are all natives." Accordingly, he and others have made up a long list of distinguished men who flourished at Tarsus in the late autumn of Greek learning: philosophers--of the Academy, of the Epicurean and Stoic schools--poets, grammarians, physicians. At Tarsus, one might say, "you breathed the atmosphere of learning" (Lightfoot, Biblical Essays, 205). But Ramsay (Cities of Paul, 231 f) cautions us not to misunderstand Strabo. It was not even one of the three great universities of the world in point of equipment, fame, students from abroad, or general standing. It was not on a paragraph with Athens and Alexandria, except that "it was rich in what constitutes the true excellence and strength of a university, intense enthusiasm and desire for knowledge among the students and great ability and experience among some at least of the teachers" (ibid., 233). Strabo was very fond of Athenodorus, for instance. No students from abroad came to Tarsus, but they went from Tarsus elsewhere. But Philostratus represents Apollonius of Tyana as disgusted with the university and the town, and Dio Chrysostom describes Tarsus as an oriental and non-Hellenic town.
Ramsay speaks of Tarsus in the reign of Augustus as "the one example known in history of a state ruled by a university acting through its successive principals." "It is characteristic of the general tendency of university life in a prosperous and peaceful empire, that the rule of the Tarsian University was marked by a strong reaction toward oligarchy and a curtailment of democracy; that also belongs to the oriental spirit, which was so strong in the city. But the crowning glory of Tarsus, the reason for its undying interest to the whole world, is that it produced the apostle Paul; that it was the one city which was suited by its equipoise between the Asiatic and the Western spirit to mold the character of the great Hellenist Jew; and that it nourished in him a strong source of loyalty and patriotism as the citizen of no mean city" (Ramsay, op. cit., 235). The city gave him a schooling in his social, political, intellectual, moral, and religious life, but in varying degrees, as we shall see. It was because Tarsus was a cosmopolitan city with "an amalgamated society" that it possessed the peculiar suitability "to educate and mold the mind of him who would in due time make the religion of the Jewish race intelligible to the Greek-Roman world" (ibid., 88). As a citizen of Tarsus Paul was a citizen of the whole world.
2. Roman Citizenship:
Paul as the apostle to the Greek-Roman world had to "understand the bearings of the moral and religious life of Greece as expressed in her literature, and this lesson he could learn more impartially and more fully at Tarsus in the days of her decline than at Athens in the freshness of her glory" (same place). Ramsay waxes bold enough to discuss "the Pauline philosophy of history" (Cities of Paul, 10-13). I confess to sympathy with this notion and find it in all the Pauline Epistles, especially in Romans. Moffatt (Paul and Paulinism, 66) finds "a religious philosophy of history" in Ro 9-11, throbbing with strong personal emotion. Paul rose to the height of the true Christian philosopher, though not a technical philosopher of the schools. Deissmann (St. Paul, 53) admits his language assigns him "to an elevated class," and yet he insists that he wrote "large letters" (Ga 6:11) because he had "the clumsy, awkward writing of a workman’s hand deformed by toil" (p. 51). I cannot agree that here Deissmann understands Paul. He makes "the world of Paul" on too narrow a scale.
4. The Mystery-Religions:
Was Paul influenced by Mithraism? H.A.A. Kennedy has given the subject very careful and thorough treatment in a series of papers in The Expositor for 1912-13, already mentioned (see II, 5, above). His arguments are conclusive on the whole against the wild notions of W.B. Smith, Der vorchristliche Jesus; J.M. Robertson, Pagan Christs; A. Drews, Die Christus-Mythe; and Lublinski, Die Entstehung des Christenrums aus der antiken Kultur. A magic papyrus about 300 AD has "I adjure thee by the god of the Hebrew Jesu" (ll. 3019 f), but Deissmann (Light from the Ancient East, 256) refuses to believe this line genuine: "No Christian, still less a Jew, would have called Jesus `the god of the Hebrews.’ " Clemen (Primitive Christianity and Its non-Jewish Sources, 1912, 336) endorses this view of Deissmann and says that in the 1st century AD "one cannot speak of non-Jewish influences on Christology." One may dismiss at once the notion that Paul "deified" Jesus into a god and made Him Christ under the influence of pagan myths. Certainly pagan idolatry was forced upon Paul’s attention at every turn. It stirred his spirit at Athens to see the city full of idols (Ac 17:16), and he caught eagerly at the altar to an unknown god to give him an easy introduction to the true God (Ac 17:23); but no one can read Ro 1 and 2 and believe that Paul was carried away by the philosophy of vain deceit of his time. He does use the words "wisdom" and "mystery" often in 1 Corinthians, Colossians, and Ephesians, and in Php 4:12, "I (have) learned the secret," he uses a word employed in the mystic cults of the time. It is quite possible that Paul took up some of the phrases of these mystery-religions and gave them a richer content for his own purposes, as he did with some of the Gnostic phraseology (pleroma, "fullness," for instance). But Schweitzer (Paul and His Interpreters, 191 f) deals a fatal blow against the notion that the mystery-religions had a formative influence on Paul. He urges, with point, that it is only in the 2nd century that these cults became widely extended in the Roman empire. The dates and development are obscure, but it "is certain that Paul cannot have known the mystery-religions in the form in which they are known to us, because in this fully developed form they did not exist." Cumont (Lea religions orientales dana le paganisme romain, 2nd edition, 1909 (ET)) insists repeatedly on the difficulties in the way of assuming without proof that Mithraism had any influence on Paul. But in particular it is urged that Paul drew on the "mysteries" for his notions of baptism and the Lord’s Supper as having magical effects. Appeal is made to the magical use of the name of Jesus by the strolling Jewish exorcists in Ephesus (Ac 18:13 ). Kirsopp Lake (Earlier Epistles of Paul, 233) holds that at Corinth they all accepted Christianity as a mystery-religion and Jesus as "the Redeemer-God, who had passed through death to life, and offered participation in this new life to those who shared in the mysteries which He offered," namely, baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But Kennedy (Expos, December, 1912, 548) easily shows how with Paul baptism and the Lord’s Supper are not magical sacraments producing new life, but symbolic pictures of death to sin and new life in Christ which the believer has already experienced. The battle is still raging on the subject of the mystery-religions, but it is safe to say that so far nothing more than illustrative material has been shown to be true of Paul’s teaching from this source.
There is nothing incongruous in the notion that Paul knew as much about the mystery-religions as he did about incipient Gnosticism. Indeed the two things may have been to some extent combined in some places. A passage in Col 2:18 has long bothered commentators: "dwelling in the things which he hath seen," or (margin) "taking his stand upon the things," etc. Westcott and Hort even suspected an early error in the text, but the same word, embateuo, has been found by Sir W.M. Ramsay as a result of investigations by Makridi Bey, of the Turkish Imperial Museum, in the sanctuary of Apollo at Claros, a town on the Ionian coast. Some of the initiates here record the fact and say that being "enquirers, having been initiated, they entered" (embateuo). The word is thus used of one who, having been initiated, enters into the life of the initiate (compare Independent, 1913, 376). Clearly, then, Paul uses the word in that sense in Col 2:18.
For further discussion see Jacoby, Die antiken Mysterienreligionen und das Christentum; Glover, Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire; Reitzenstein, Die hell. Mysterienreligionen; Friedlander, Roman Life and Manners under the Early Empire, III; Thorburn, Jesus Christ, Historical or Mythical.
M. Bruckner (Der sterbende und auferstehende Gottheiland in den orientalischen Religionen und ihr Verhaltnis zum Christentum, 1908) says: "As in Christianity, so in many oriental religions, a belief in the death and resurrection of a Redeemer-God (sometimes as His Son), occupied a central place in the worship and cult." To this Schweitzer (Paul and His Interpreters, 193) replies: "What manipulations the myths and rites of the cults in question must have undergone before this general statement could become possible! Where is there anything about dying and resurrection in Mithra?" There we may leave the matter. 5. Judaism:
6. Personal Characteristics:
Much as we can learn about the times of Paul (compare Selden, In the Time of Paul, 1900, for a brief sketch of Paul’s world), we know something of the political structure of the Roman world, the social life of the 1st century AD, the religious condition of the age, the moral standards of the time, the intellectual tendencies of the period. New discoveries continue to throw fresh light on the life of the middle and lower classes among whom Paul chiefly labored. And, if Deissmann in his brilliant study (St. Paul, A Study in Social and Religious History) has pressed too far the notion that Paul the tent-maker ranks not with Origen, but with Amos the herdman (p. 6, on p. 52 he calls it a mistake "to speak of Paul the artisan as a proletarian in the sense which the word usually bears with us"), yet he is right in insisting that Paul is "a religious genius" and "a hero of piety" (p. 6). It is not possible to explain the personality and work of a man like Paul by his past and to refer with precision this or that trait to his Jewish or Greek training (Alexander, Ethics of Paul, 58). "We must allow something to his native originality" (same place) . We are all in a sense the children of the past, but some men have much more the power of initiative than others. Paul is not mere "eclectic patchwork" (Bruce, Paul’s Conception of Christ, 218). Even if Paul was acquainted with Philo, which is not certain, that fact by no means explains his use of Philo, the representative Jew of the Hellenistic age. "Both are Jews of the Dispersion, city-dwellers, with marked cosmopolitan traits. Both live and move in the Septuagint Bible. Both are capable of ecstatic and mystical experiences, and have many points of contact in detail. And yet they stand in very strong contrast to one another, a contrast which reminds us of the opposition between Seneca and Paul. .... Philo is a philosopher, Paul the fool pours out the vials of his irony upon the wisdom of the world" (Deissmann, Paul, 110). Deissmann, indeed, cares most for "the living man, Paul, whom we hear speaking and see gesticulating, here playful, gentle as a father, and tenderly coaxing, so as to win the hearts of the infatuated children--there thundering and lightning with the passionate wrath of a Luther, with cutting irony and bitter sarcasm on his lips" (ibid., 16 f).
(1) Personal Appearance.
(2) Natural Endowments.
In respect to his natural endowments we can do much better, for his epistles reveal the mind and soul of the man. He is difficult to comprehend, not because he conceals himself, but because he reveals so much of himself in his epistles. He seems to some a man of contradictions. He had a many-sided nature, and his very humanness is in one sense the greatest thing about him. There are "great polar contradictions" in his nature. Deissmann (St. Paul, 62 ff) notes his ailing body and his tremendous powers for work, his humility and his self-confidence, his periods of depression and of intoxication with victory, his tenderness and his sternness; he was ardently loved and furiously hated; he was an ancient man of his time, but he is cosmopolitan and modern enough for today. Findlay (HBD) adds that he was a man possessed of dialectical power and religious inspiration. He was keenly intellectual and profoundly mystical (compare Campbell, Paul the Mystic, 1907). He was a theologian and a man of affairs. He was a man of vision with a supreme task to which he held himself. He was a scholar, a sage, a statesman, a seer, a saint (Garvie, Studies in Paul and His Gospel, 68-84). He was a man of heart, of passion, of imagination, of sensibility, of will, of courage, of sincerity, of vivacity, of subtlety, of humor, of adroitness, of tact, of genius for organization, of power for command, of gift of expression, of leadership--"All these qualities and powers went to the making of Jesus Christ’s apostle to the nations, the master-builder of the universal church and of Christian theology" (Findlay, HDB; see Lock, Paul the Master Builder, 1905; and M. Jones, Paul the Orator, 1910).
I cannot agree with Garvie’s charge of cowardice (Life and Teaching of Paul, 173,) in the matter of the purifying rites (Ac 21:23) and the dividing of the Sanhedrin (Ac 23:6). The one was a mere matter of prudence in a nonessential detail, the other was justifiable skill in resisting the attack of unscrupulous enemies. One does not understand Paul who does not understand his emotional nature. He was "quick, impetuous, strenuous, impassioned" (Bevan, Paul in the Light of Today, 1912, 26). His heart throbs through his epistles, and he loves his converts like a mother or a lover (Findlay, HDB) rather than a pastor. We feel the surging emotion of his great spirit in 1 Thessalonians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, Philippians, 2 Timothy in particular. He had the spiritual temperament and reaches his highest flights in his moments of rhapsody. He has elasticity and rebound of spirit, and comes up with the joy of victory in Christ out of the severest trials and disappointments. His ambition is great, but it is to serve Christ his Lord. He is a man of faith and a man of prayer. For him to live is Christ. He has a genius for friendship and binds men to him with hooks of steel--men like Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Luke, Titus (Speer, The Man Paul, 1900, 111 ff). He is not afraid to oppose his friends when it is necessary for the sake of truth, as with Peter (Ga 2:11 ) and with Barnabas (Ac 15:35 ). "While God made Paul like the other apostles out of the clay whereof ordinary men are fashioned, yet we may say that He took extraordinary pains with his education" (Fairbairn, Studies in Religion and Theology, 471). If ever a man, full-blooded and open-eyed, walked the earth, it was Paul. It is a debatable question whether Paul was married or not. He certainly was not when he wrote (1Co 7:7; 9:5). But, if he was a member of the Sanhedrin when he cast his vote against the disciples (Ac 26:10), as his language naturally means, then he had been married.
There is in Paul the gift of leadership in a marked degree. He, though young, is already at the head of the opposition to Stephen (Ac 7:58), and soon drives the disciples out of Jerusalem.
(3) Supernatural gifts.
He had his share of them. He had all the gifts that others could boast of at Corinth, and which he lightly esteemed except that of prophecy (1Co 14:18-29). He had his visions and revelations, but would not tell what he had seen (2Co 12:1-9). He did the signs of an apostle (2Co 12:12-14). He had the power to work miracles (1Co 4:19-21) and to exercise discipline (1Co 5:4 f; 2Co 13:1-3). But what he cared for most of all was the fact that Jesus had appeared to him on the road to Damascus and had called him to the work of preaching to the Gentiles (1Co 15:8).
No other element in the equipment of Paul is comparable in importance to his conversion.
It was sudden, and yet God had led Saul to the state of mind when it could more easily happen. True, Saul was engaged in the very act of persecuting the believers in Jerusalem. His mind was flushed with the sense of victory. He was not conscious of any lingering doubts about the truth of his position and the justice of his conduct till Jesus abruptly told him that it was hard for him to kick against the goad (Ac 26:14). Thus suddenly brought to bay, the real truth would flash upon his mind. In later years he tells how he had struggled in vain against the curse of the Law (Ro 7:7 f). It is probable though not certain, that Paul here has in mind his experience before his conversion, though the latter part of the chapter may refer to a period later. There is difficulty in either view as to the "body of this death" that made him so wretched (Ro 7:24). The Christian keeps up the fight against sin in spite of defeat (Ro 7:23), but he does not feel that he is "carnal, sold under sin" (Ro 7:14). But when before his conversion did Paul have such intensity of conviction? We can only leave the problem unanswered. His reference to it at least harmonizes with what Jesus said about the goad. The words and death of Stephen and the other disciples may have left a deeper mark than he knew. The question might arise whether after all the Nazarenes were right. His plea for his conduct made in later years was that he was conscientious (Ac 26:9) and that he did it ignorantly in unbelief (1Ti 1:13). He was not willfully sinning against the full light as he saw it. It will not do to say with Holsten that Saul was half convinced to join the disciples, and only needed a jolt to turn him over. He was "yet breathing threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord" (Ac 9:1), and went to the high priest and asked for letters to Damascus demanding the arrest of the disciples there. His temper on the whole is distinctly hostile to Christ, and the struggle against his course was in the subconscious mind. There a volcano had gathered ready to burst out.
It is proper to ask whether Paul had known Jesus in the flesh, but it is not easy to give a categorical reply. It is possible, though hardly likely, that Paul had come to Jerusalem to study when Jesus as a boy of 12 visited the temple, and so heard Jesus and the doctors. That could be true only in case Paul was born 5 or 6 BC, which is quite unlikely. It is possible again that Paul may have remained in Jerusalem after his graduation the school of Gamaliel and so was present in Jerusalem at the trial and death of Jesus. Some of the ablest of modern scholars hold that Paul knew Jesus in the flesh. It will at once seem strange that we have no express statement to this effect in the letters of Paul, when he shows undoubted knowledge of various events in the life of Christ (compare Wynne, Fragmentary Records of Jesus of Nazareth, 1887). It is almost certain, as J. Weiss admits (Paul and Jesus, 41), that in 1Co 9:1 Paul refers to the Risen Jesus. The passage in 2Co 5:16 is argued both ways: "Wherefore we henceforth know no man after the flesh: even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more." J. Weiss (ibid., 41-55) argues strongly for the view that he knew Jesus in the flesh. But in the first clause of the sentence above Paul means by "after the flesh," not acquaintance, but standpoint. It is natural to take it in the same way as applied to Christ. He has changed his viewpoint of Christ and so of all men. Weiss pleads (ibid., p. 40), at any rate, that we have no word saying that "Paul had not seen Jesus in person." It may be said in reply that the fact that Jesus has to tell Paul who He is (Ac 9:5) shows that Paul did not have personal acquaintance with Him. But the question may be left in abeyance as not vitally important. He certainly had not understood Jesus, if he knew Him.
(3) Effect on Paul.
There was evidently a tumult in Paul’s soul. He had undergone a revolution, both intellectual and spiritual. Before he proceeded farther it was wise to think through the most important implications of the new standpoint. Luke gives no account of this personal phase of Paul’s career, but he allows room for it between Ac 9:21 and 22. It is Paul who tells of his retirement to Arabia (Ga 1:17 f) to prove his independence of the apostles in Jerusalem. He did not go to them for instruction or for ecclesiastical authority. He did not adopt the merely traditional view of Jesus as the Messiah. He knew, of course, the Christian contention well enough, for he had answered it often enough. But now his old arguments were gone an4t he must work his way round to the other side, and be able to put his new gospel with clearness and force. He was done with calling Jesus anathema (1Co 12:3). Henceforth to him Jesus is Lord. We know nothing of Paul’s life in Arabia nor in what part of Arabia he was. He may have gone to Mt. Sinai and thought out grace in the atmosphere of law, but that is not necessary. But it is clear that Paul grew in apprehension of the things of Christ during these years, as indeed he grew to the very end. But he did not grow away from the first clear vision of Christ. He claimed that God had revealed His Son in him that he might preach to the Gentiles (Ga 1:16). He claimed that from the first and to the very last. The undoubted development in Paul’s Epistles (see Matheson, Spiritual Development of Paul, and Sabatier, The Apostle Paul) is, however, not a changing view of Christ that nullifies Paul’s "original Christian inheritance" (Kohler, Zum Verstandnis des Apostels Paulus, 13). Pfieiderer (Influence of the Apostle Paul on the Development of Christianity, 3rd edition, 1897, 217) rejects Colossians because of the advanced Christology here found. But the Christology of Col is implicit in Paul’s first sermon at Damascus. "It is impossible to escape the conclusion that the significance and value of the Cross became clear to him almost simultaneously with the certainty of the resurrection and of the Messiahship of Jesus" (Garvie, Studies, etc., 57). The narrow Jew has surrendered to Christ who died for the sins of the world. The universal gospel has taken hold of his mind and heart, and it will work out its logical consequences in Paul. The time in Arabia is not wasted. When he reappears in Damascus (Ac 9:22) he has "developed faith" (Findlay, HDB) and energy that bear instant fruit. He is now the slave of Christ. For him henceforth to live is Christ. He is crucified with Christ. He is in Christ. The union of Paul with Christ is the real key to his life. It is far more than a doctrine about Christ. It is real fellowship with Christ (Deissmann, Paul, 123). Thus it is that the man who probably never saw Christ in the flesh understands him best (Wernle, Beginnings of Christianity, I, 159).
They "sent him forth to Tarsus" (Ac 9:30). Who would welcome him there? At Jerusalem he apparently avoided Gamaliel and the Sanhedrin. He was with the Christians and preached to the Hellenistic Jews. The Jews regarded him as a turncoat, a renegade Jew. There were apparently no Christians in Tarsus, unless some of the disciples driven from Jerusalem by Saul himself went that far, as they did go to Antioch (Ac 11:19 f). But Saul was not idle, for he speaks himself of his activity in the regions of Syria and Cilicia during this "period of obscurity" (Denney, Standard Bible Dict.) as a thing known to the churches of Judea (Ga 1:21 f). He was not idle then. The way was not yet opened for formal entrance upon the missionary enterprise, but Saul was not the man to do nothing at home because of that. If they would not hear him at Damascus and Jerusalem, they would in the regions of Syria and Cilicia, his home province. We are left in doubt at first whether Paul preached only to Jews or to Gentiles also. He had the specific call to preach to the Gentiles, and there is no reason why he should not have done so in this province, preaching to the Jews first as he did afterward. He did not have the scruples of Simon Peter to overcome. When he appears at Antioch with Barnabas, he seems to take hold like an old hand at the business. It is quite probable, therefore, that this obscure ministry of some 8 or 10 years may have had more results than we know. Paul apparently felt that he had done his work in that region, for outside of Antioch he gives no time to it except that in starting out on the second tour from Antioch "he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches" (Ac 15:41), churches probably the fruit of this early ministry and apparently containing Gentiles also. The letter from the Jerusalem conference was addressed to "the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia" (Ac 15:23). Cilicia was now part of the Roman province of Syria. So then we conclude that Saul had a Gentileministry in this region. "Independently, under no human master, he learned his business as a missionary to the heathen" (Findlay, HDB). One can but wonder whether Saul was kindly received at home by his father and mother. They had looked upon him with pride as the possible successor of Gamaliel, and now he is a follower of the despised Nazarene and a preacher of the Cross. It is possible that his own exhortations to fathers not to provoke their children to wrath (Eph 6:4) may imply that his own father had cast him out at this time. Findlay (HDB) argues that Saul would not have remained in this region so long if his home relations had been altogether hostile. It is a severe test of character when the doors close against one. But Saul turned defeat to glorious gain.
5. The First Great Mission Campaign:
Ac 13 and 14, 47 and 48 AD:
6. The Conflict at Jerusalem:
Ac 15; Ga 2, 49 AD:
7. The Second Mission Campaign:
Ac 15:36-18:22; 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 49-51 (or 52) AD:
The impulse to go out again came from Paul. Despite the difference in Ga 2:13, he wished to go again with Barnabas (Ac 15:36), but Barnabas insisted on taking along John Mark, which Paul was not willing to do because of his failure to stick to the work at Perga. So they agreed to disagree after "sharp contention" (Ac 15:39 f). Barnabas went with Mark to Cyprus, while Paul took Silas, "being commended by the brethren to the grace of the Lord." Luke follows the career of Paul, and so Barnabas drops out of view (compare later 1Co 9:6). Paul and Silas go "through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches" (Ac 15:41). They pass through the Cilician gates to Derbe, the end of the first tour, and go to Lystra. Here they pick up Timothy, who more than takes Mark’s place in Paul’s life. Timothy’s mother was a Jewess and his father a Greek. Paul decided therefore to have him circumcised since, as a half-Jew, he would be especially obnoxious to the Jews. This case differed wholly from that of Titus, a Greek, where principle was involved. Here it was a matter merely of expediency. Paul had taken the precaution to bring along the decrees of the Conference at Jerusalem in case there was need of them. He delivered them to the churches. It has to be noted that in 1Co 8-10 and in Ro 14 and 15, when discussing the question of eating meats offered to idols, Paul does not refer to these decrees, but argues the matter purely from the standpoint of the principles involved. The Judaizers anyhow had not lived up to the agreement, but Paul is here doing his part by the decision. The result of the work was good for the churches (Ac 16:4).
When we come to Ac 16:6, we touch a crucial passage in the South-Galatian controversy. Ramsay (Christianity in the Roman Empire, chapters iii through vi; History and Geography of Asia Minor; Paul the Traveler, chapters v, vi, viii, ix; The Expositor, IV, viii, ix, "replies to Chase"; "Galatia," HDB; Commentary on Gal; The Cities of Paul; The Expositor T, 1912, 1913) has become by his able advocacy the chief champion of the view that Paul never went to Galatia proper or North Galatia, and that he addressed his epistle to South Galatia, the churches visited in the first tour. For a careful history of the whole controversy in detail, see Moffatt, Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament, 90-106, who strongly supports the view of Lightfoot, H.J. Holtzmann, Blass, Schurer, Denney, Chase, Mommsen, Steinmann, etc. There are powerful names with Ramsay, like Hausrath, Zahn, Barrlet, Garvie, Weizsacker, etc. The arguments are too varied and minute for complete presentation here. The present writer sees some very attractive features in the South-Galatian hypothesis, but as a student of language finds himself unable to overcome the syntax of Ac 16:6. The minor difficulty is the dropping of kai, between "Phrygia" and "Galatic region" by Ramsay. It is by no means certain that this is the idea of Luke. It is more natural to take the terms as distinct and coordinated by kai. In Paul the Traveler, 212, Ramsay pleads for the aorist of subsequent time, but Moulton (Prolegomena, 133) will have none of it. With that I agree. The aorist participle must give something synchronous with or antecedent to the principal verb. In Expository Times for February, 1913, 220 f, Ramsay comes back to the "construction of Ac 16:6." He admits that the weight of authority is against the Textus Receptus of the New Testament and in favor of dielthon .... koluthentes. He now interprets the language thus: "Paul, having in mind at Lystra his plan of going on to Asia from Galatia, was ordered by the Spirit not to preach in Asia. He therefore made a tour through the Phrygio-Galatic region, which he had already influenced so profoundly from end to end (13:49)." But there is grave difficulty in accepting this interpretation as a solution of the problem. Ramsay here makes the narrative in 16:6 resumptive and takes us back to the standpoint of 16:1 at Lystra. The proper place for such a forecast was in 16:1, or at most before 16:4, which already seems to mark an advance beyond Lystra to Iconium and Antioch in Pisidia: "and as they went on their way through the cities."
Besides, "the Phrygio-Galatic region" lay between Lystra and Asia, and, according to Ramsay, after the prohibition in Lystra, he went straight on toward Asia. This is certainly very artificial and unlike the usual procedure. According to the other view, Paul had already visited the churches in Lycaonia and Pisidia on his former visit. He wished to go on west into Asia, probably to Ephesus, but was forbidden by the Holy Spirit, and as a result turned northward through Phrygia and the regions of Galatia, using both terms in the ethnographic sense. Paul was already in the province of Galatia at Derbe and Lystra. The matter has many "ins and outs" and cannot be argued further here. It is still in debate, but the present interpretation is in harmony with the narrative in Acts.
See also GALATIA; GALATIANS, EPISTLE TO THE.
8. The Third Mission Campaign:
Ac 18:23-21:14; 1 and 2 Corinthians; Galatians; Romans, 52 (or 53)-57 (or 58) AD:
The stay of Paul at Antioch is described as "sometime" (Ac 18:23). Denney (Standard Bible Dictionary) conjectures that Paul’s brief stay at Jerusalem (see above) was due to the fact that he found that the Judaizers had organized opposition there against him in the absence of the apostles, and it was so unpleasant that he did not stay. He Suggests also that the Judaizers had secured letters of commendation from the church for their emissaries (2Co 3:1) to Corinth and Galatia, who were preaching "another Jesus" of nationalism and narrowness, whom Paul did not preach (Ga 1:6; 2Co 11:4). Both Denney and Findlay follow Neander, Wieseler, and Sabatier in placing here, before Paul starts out again from Antioch, the visit of certain "from James" (Ga 2:12), who overpowered Peter for the moment. But I have put this incident as more probably before the disagreement with Barnabas over Mark, and as probably contributing to that breach at the beginning of the second tour. It is not necessary to suppose that the Judaizers remained acquiescent so long.
We have placed Galatians in the early part of this stay in Corinth, though it could have been written while at Ephesus. Romans was certainly written while here, and they both treat the same general theme of justification by faith. Ramsay (Expos, February, 1913, 127-45) has at last come to the conclusion that Ga belongs to the date of Ac 15:1 f. He bases this conclusion chiefly on the "absolute independence" of his apostleship claimed in Ga 1 and 2, which, he holds, he would not have done after the conference in Ac 15, which was "a sacrifice of complete independence." This is a curious interpretation, for in Ga 2:1-10 Paul himself tells of his recognition on terms of equality by Peter, John and James, and of his going to Jerusalem by "revelation," which was just as much "a sacrifice of complete independence" as we find in Ac 15. Besides, in 2Co 11:5 and 12:11 Paul expressly asserts his equality (with all humility) with the very chiefest apostles, and in 1Co 15:10 he claims in so many words to have wrought more than all the apostles. Perhaps messengers from Galatia with the contributions from that region report the havoc wrought there by the Judaizers. Ga is a tremendous plea for the spiritual nature of Christianity as opposed to Jewish ceremonial legalism.
9. Five Years a Prisoner:
Ac 21:17-28:31; Philippians; Philemon; Colossians; Ephesians, 57-62 (or 63) AD:
10. Further Travels:
11. Last Imprisonment and Death:
68 (or 67) AD:
Out of the vast Pauline literature the following selections may be mentioned:
(1) General Works:
Addis, Christianity and the Roman Empire, 1893; Bartlet, The Apostolic Age, 1899; Bohlig, Die Geisteskultur yon Tarsos, 1913; Clemen, Primitive Christianity and Its Non-Jewish Sources, 1912; Cumont, Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism, 1911; Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, 1910; Dewick, Primitive Christian Eschatology, 1912; Dollinger, Gentile and Jew in the Courts of the Temple of Christ, translation, 1862; Farrar, Early Days of Christianity, 1882, Darkness and Dawn, 1893; Ferrero, Greatness and Decline of Rome, 1908; Friedlander, Roman Life and Manners under the Early Empire; Glover, Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire, 1910; Gunkel, Zum religionsgeschichtlichen Verst. d. New Testament, 1903; Hausrath, Time of the Apostles, translation; Neander, Planting and Training of the Christian Church, translation; McGiffert, A History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age, 1897; Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire, 1893, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, 1895, The First Christian Century, 1911; Reitzenstein, Die hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen, 1910; Ropes, The Apostolic Age, 1906; Schurer, HJP; Weizsacker, The Apostolic Age in the Christian Church, 1894-95.
E. Burton, Chronicle of Paul’s Epistles; Clemen, Die Chron der Paulinischen Briefe, 1893, Die Einheitlichkeit der Paulinischen Briefe, 1894; Findlay, Epistles of Paul the Apostle, 1893; Gloag, Introduction to the Pauline Epistles, 1876; Gregory, Canon and Text of the New Testament, 1900; Herr, Prolegomena to Romans and Ephesians, 1895; Harnack, The Ac of the Apostles, 1909, Date of the Ac and the Synoptic Gospels, 1911, History of Early Christian Literature until Eusebius, 1897; Holtzmann, Einleitung3, 1892; James, Genuineness and Authorship of the Pastoral Epistles, 1906; Julicher, Introduction to the New Testament, 1903; Lake, Earlier Epistles of Paul, 1911; Moffatt, Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament, 1911; Peake, Critical Introduction to the New Testament, 1909; Salmon, Introduction to the New Testament, 1892; R. Scott, Epistles of Paul, 1909; Shaw, The Pauline Epistles, 1903; von Soden, History of Early Christian Literature, 1906; B. Weiss, Present State of the Inquiry Concerning the Genuineness of Paul’s Epistles, 1897; Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, 1909.
For exegetical commentaries on special epistles see special articles For the ancients see Chrysostom for the Greeks, and Pelagius for the Latins. For the Middle Ages see Thomas Aquinas. For the later time see Beza, Calvin, Colet, Estius, Grotius, Cornelius a Lapide, Wettstein, Bengel. Among the moderns note Alford, Beet (Romans-Colossians), Boise, Bible for Home and School, Cambridge Bible for Schools, Cambridge Greek Testament, New Century Bible; Drummond, Epistles of Paul, Ellicott (all but Romans and 2 Corinthians), Expositor’s Bible, Expositor’s Greek Testament; Holtzmann, Hand-Comm. zum New Testament; Jewett (1 and 2 Thessalonians, Romans, Galatians), Lightfoot (Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon and Notes), Lietzmann, Handbuch zum New Testament; Meyer (translation, revised German editions), Zahn, Kommentar zum New Testament.
(4) Lives and Monographs:
Albrecht, Paulus der Apestel Jesu Christi, 1903; Bacon, The Story of Paul, 1904; Bartlet, article in Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition; Baring-Gould, A Study of Paul, 1897; Baur, The Apostle Paul(2), 1845; Bevan, Paul in the Light of Today, 1912; Bird, Paul of Tarsus, 1900; Campbell, Paul the Mystic, 1907; Chrysostom, Homiliae in Laude S. Pauli, Opera, volume II, edition Montf. (more critically in Field’s edition); Clemen, Paulus, 1904; Cone, Paul the Man, the Missionary, 1898; Cohu, Paul in the Light of Recent Research, 1910; Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of Paul (many editions); Deissmann, Paul, 1912; Drescher, Das Leben Jesu bei Paulus, 1900; Drury, The Prison Ministry of Paul, 1910; Eadie, Paul the Preacher, 1859; Farrar, Life and Work of Paul (various editions); Erbes, Die Todestage der Apostel Paulus und Petrus, 1899; Fletcher, A Study of the Conversion of Paul, 1911; Forbes, Footsteps of Paul in Rome, 1899; Fouard, Paul and His Mission, 1894, Last Years of Paul, 1897; Gardner, Religious Experience of Paul, 1911; Garvie, Life and Teaching of Paul, 1909, Studies of Paul and His Gospel, 1911; Gilbert, Student’s Life of Paul, 1899; Heim, Paulus, 1905; Honnicke, Chronologie des Lebens Pauli, 1904; Iverach, Paul, His Life and Time, 1890; Johnston, The Mission of Paul to the Roman Empire, 1909; M. Jones, Paul the Orator, 1910; Kennedy, Paul and the Mystery-Religions, 1913; Kohler, Zum Verstandnis d. Apostels Paulus, 1908; Lewin, Life and Epistles of Paul, 1875; Lock, Paul the Master Builder, 1905; Lyttleton, Observations on Saul’s Conversion, 1774; Myers, Saint Paul (various editions); Matheson, Spiritual Development of Paul, 1891; Means, Paul and the Ante-Nicene Church, 1903; Noesgen, Paulus der Apostel der Heiden, 1908; Paley, Horae Paulinae, 1790; Ramsay, Paul the Traveler, 1896, Pauline and Other Studies, 1906, Cities of Paul, 1908, Luke the Physician and Other Studies, 1908, Pictures of the Apostolic Church, 1910; Renan, Paul, 1869; A. T. Robertson, Epochs in the Life of Paul, 1909, The Glory of the Ministry or Paul’s Exultation in Preaching, 1911; Sabatier, The Apostle Paul, 1896; Selden, In the Time of Paul, 1900; Schweitzer, Paul and His Interpreters, 1912; Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of Paul4, 1880; Speer, The Man Paul, 1900; Stalker, Life of Paul, 1889; Taylor, Paul the Missionary, 1882; Underhill, Divine Legation of Paul, 1889; Weinel, Paul (translation, 1906); Whyte, The Apostle Paul, 1903; Wilkinson, Epic of Saul, 1891, Epic of Paul, 1897; Wrede, Paulus(2), 1907 (translation); Wright, Cities of Paul, 1907; Wynne, Fragmentary Records of Jesus of Nazareth by a Contemporary, 1887.
A.B.D. Alexander, The Ethics of Paul, 1910; S.A. Alexander, Christianity of Paul, 1899; Anonymous, The Fifth Gospel, 1906; R. Allen, Christelegy of Paul, 1912; M. Arnold, Paul and Protestantism, 1897; Ball, Paul and the Roman Law, 1901; Breitenstein, Jesus et Paul, 1908; Bruce, Paul’s Conception of Christianity, 1898; Bruckner, Die Entstehung der Paulinischen Christologie, 1903; Bultmann, Der Stil der Paulin. Predigt und die kyn. Diatribe, 1910; Chadwick, Social Teaching of Paul, 1907, Pastoral Teaching of Paul, 1907; M. Dibelius, Die Geisterwelt im Glauben des Paulus, 1909; Dickie, Culture of the Spiritual Life, 1905; Dickson, Paul’s Use of the Terms Flesh and Spirit, 1883; Du Bose, Gospel according to Paul, 1907; Dykes, Gospel according to Paul, 1888; Everett, Gospel of Paul, 1893; Feine, Paul as Theologian (translation, 1908); Greenough, Mind of Christ in Paul; Goguel, L’Apotre Paul et Jesus Christ, 1904; Harford, The Gospel according to Paul, 1912; Hicks, "St. Paul and Hellenism," Stud. Bibl., IV; Holsten, Das Evangelium des Paulus, 1898; Julicher, Paulus und Jesus, 1907; Kaftan, Jesus und Paulus, 1906; Kennedy, Paul’s Conceptions of Last Things, 1904; Knowling, Testimony of Paul to Christ (3rd edition, 1911); A. Meyer, Jesus or Paul? 1909; Moffatt, Paul and Paulinism, 1910; Montet, Essai sur la christologie de Saint Paul, 1906; Nageli, Der Wortschatz des Apostels Paulus, 1905; Oehler, Paulus und Jesus, 1908; Paterson, The Pauline Theology, 1903; Pfleidercr, Paulinismus, 1873, Influence of the Apostle Paul on the Development of Christianity, 1885; Prat, La theologie de Saint Paul, 1907; Ramsay, The Teaching of Paul in Terms of the Present Day, 1913; Resch, Paulinismus und die Logia Jesu, 1904; Rostron, The Christology of Paul, 1912; Simon, Die Psychologie des Apostels Paulus, 1897; Somerville, Paul’s Conception of Christ, 1897; Stevens, The Pauline Theology, 1894; Thackeray, Relation of Paul to Contemporary Jewish Thought, 1900; J. Weiss, Paul and Jesus, 1909; Paul and Justification, 1913; Williams, A Plea for a Reconstruction of Paul’s Doctrine of Justification, 1912; Wustmann, Jesus und Paulus, 1907; Zahn, Das Gesetz Gottes nach der Lehre des Apostels Paulus(2), 1892.