Reflections and Snippets

The Apostle Paul: Unfit for Missionary Work?



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Paul: Not a Full-Time Minister


Acts 18:2-3 (NRS) ...Paul went to see them, and, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them, and they worked together--by trade they were tentmakers.

Acts 20:34 (Wey) [Paul:] You yourselves know that these hands of mine have provided for my own necessities and for the people with me.

1 Cor 4:12 (NAS) We toil, working with our own hands...

1 Thes 2:9 (NIV) Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.

2 Thes 3:7-8 (Wey) For you yourselves know that it is your duty to follow our example. There was no disorder in our lives among you, nor did we eat any one's bread without paying for it, but we laboured and toiled, working hard night and day in order not to be a burden to any of you.

Paul Rebukes Saint Peter

Gal 2:11-14 (NIV) When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray. When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all, "You are a Jew, yet you live like a Gentile and not like a Jew. How is it, then, that you force Gentiles to follow Jewish customs?"

The Jerusalem Council Dispute

Acts 15:1-2 (NIV) Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved." This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.

Was Paul a People Pleaser?

1Th 2:4-6c (NIV) On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed--God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else.

Gal 1:10 (NIV) Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Paul Takes a Strong Line against the Circumcisers

Gal 5:2-12 (NRS) Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law... You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth?... Whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty.... I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!

Gal 5:12 (NIV) As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

The Seminary of Direct Revelation...

Gal 1:1,12-20 (NIV) Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father...) For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ... I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia, and returned once more to Damascus. Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother...

Paul Deficient in Public Speaking Skills

2 Cor 10:10 (NIV) For some say, "His letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing."

2 Cor 11:6 (NIV) I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way.

1 Cor 2:1-5 (NIV) When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God... I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words...

Paul Does Secular Work and Ministers in Small-Time House Churches

Acts 18:3 (Phi) ...[Paul] went to see them in their house... They all worked together, for their trade was tent-making.

Phm 1:2 (NIV) To Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home.

Col 4:15 (NIV) Give my greetings... to Nympha and the church in her house.

Rom 16:5 (NIV) Greet also the church that meets at their house...

1Cor 16:19 (NIV) ...Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.

Acts 20:20 (NIV) You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.

The Power of God vs. Human Eloquence; Various Spiritual Gifts

1 Cor 2:4-5 (KJV) My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

2 Cor 12:9 (NIV) But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

Eph 3:7 (NIV) I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God's grace given me through the working of his power.

Rom 12:6 (NIV) We have different gifts, according to the grace given us...

1 Cor 12:1-7,11,30-31 (NIV) Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant... There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good... All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines... Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? But eagerly desire the greater gifts...

1 Cor 14:1,12 (NIV) Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy... Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church.

Paul has the Gift of Speaking in Tongues

1 Cor 14:18 (NRS) I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.

Paul: Crazy for Christ

Acts 26:24 (NRS) ...Festus exclaimed, "You are out of your mind, Paul! Too much learning is driving you insane!"

1 Cor 3:18 (NIV) Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise.

1 Cor 4:9-16 (NIV) ...We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. We are fools for Christ, but you are so wise in Christ! We are weak, but you are strong! You are honoured, we are dishonoured!... We work hard with our own hands... Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world... I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children... Therefore I urge you to imitate me.

Paul Sent Out by Peer Prophets

Acts 13:1-3 (NIV) In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Paul Habitually Ends Up in Jail

Acts 16:22-23 (NIV) The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.

2 Cor 6:4 (NIV) As servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work...

2 Cor 11:23-27 (NIV) Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have laboured and toiled...

Paul Destroys a Business and Gets Arrested

Acts 16:16-22 (NIV) Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned round and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her. When the owners of the slave girl realised that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market-place to face the authorities. They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men... are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice." The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.

An Escape Lacking in Dignity for a Man of God

Acts 9:23-25 (NIV) ...The Jews conspired to kill him, but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him. But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.

2 Cor 11:30-33 (NIV) If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised for ever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

The Lystra Incident: Paul Insists that Persecution is "Normal"

Acts 14:19 (NAS) But Jews came [to Lystra] from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.

Acts 14:22 (Jer) ... "We all have to experience many hardships," they said, "before we enter the kingdom of God."

2 Tim 3:10-12 (NIV) You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings--what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

1 Thes 3:3 (TEB) ...None of you should turn back because of these persecutions. You yourselves know that such persecutions are part of God's will for us.

Saul, AKA Paul, in Acrimony with Dr. Elymas

Acts 13:4-11 (NIV) ...to Cyprus... There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, "You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun." Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.

The Spirit Instructs Paul Not to Preach the Gospel in Bithynia

Acts 16:6-10 (NIV) Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia... They tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

John 3:8 (NIV) [Jesus:] "The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

Paul Trusts the Lord and Leaves Town, Sets up Elders Later

Acts 17:2-10 (NIV) As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures... Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. But the Jews were jealous... "These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here..." As soon as it was night, the brothers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea...

Acts 20:2-3 (NAS) ...He came to Greece. And there he spent three months...

Titus 1:5 (NIV) The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.

Eutychus Nods Off During Paul's Long Sermon

Acts 20:7-12 (NIV) ...Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. "Don't be alarmed," he said. "He's alive!" Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.

Paul Abandoned Over and Again; Sharply Disagrees with Barnabas

2 Tim 1:15(NIV) You know that everyone in the province of Asia has deserted me, including Phygelus and Hermogenes...

2 Tim 4:16 (NAS) At my first defense no one supported me, but all deserted me...

Acts 15:36-40 (NIV) Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us go back and visit the brothers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing." Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left...

Acts 15:39 (KJV) The contention was so sharp between them...

Paul & John Name Names: Diotrephes, Demas, Hymenaeus, Alexander, and Philetus

3 John 1:9-10 (NAS) I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds... he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.

2 Tim 4:10 (NIV) Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted me and has gone to Thessalonica.

1 Tim 1:20 (NIV) Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.

2 Tim 4:14-15 (NIV) Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.

2 Tim 2:16-17 (Phi) But steer clear of unchristian babblings, which in practice lead further and further away from Christian living. For their teachings are as dangerous as blood-poisoning to the body, and spread like sepsis from a wound. Hymenaeus and Philetus are responsible for this sort of thing, and they are palpable traitors to the truth...

Paul Reveals Mysteries

Rom 11:25 (NIV) I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited...

Eph 3:3-4 (NIV)...That is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ.

Col 4:3 (NIV) And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.

The Twelfth Apostle?

Acts 1:26 (NIV) Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

Paul Claims to be an Apostle... Warns Against Exploiters

2Co 1:1, Eph 1:1, Col 1:1, 2Ti 1:1 (NIV) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God...

1 Thes 2:4-6 (Wey) ...In what we say we are seeking not to please men but to please God, who tests and approves our motives. For, as you are well aware, we have never used the language of flattery nor have we found pretexts for enriching ourselves--God is our witness; nor did we seek glory either from you or from any other mere men, although we might have stood on our dignity as Christ's Apostles.

2 Cor 11:5-20 (NIV) But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles". I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. Was it a sin for me to lower myself in order to elevate you by preaching the gospel of God to you free of charge?... I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so. As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine... And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face...

2 Cor 12:11-19 (NIV) I have made a fool of myself, but you drove me to it. I ought to have been commended by you, for I am not in the least inferior to the "super-apostles", even though I am nothing. The things that mark an apostle--signs, wonders and miracles--were done among you with great perseverance... except that I was never a burden to you? Forgive me this wrong! Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you... So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.... I have not been a burden to you. Yet, crafty fellow that I am, I caught you by trickery! Did I exploit you through any of the men I sent you?.. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not act in the same spirit and follow the same course? Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.

2 Cor 2:17 (TCN) Unlike many, we are not in the habit of making profit out of God's Message...

2 Cor 2:17 (NIV) Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

1 Cor 4:16 (NAS) Therefore I exhort you, be imitators of me.

Phil 3:17 (NRS) Brothers and sisters, join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us.


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