The contrast between Paul, on the one hand, and Jesus, Peter, and the other Galileans, on the other could hardly have been greater. Jesus was from a very small village; . . . he seems never to have traveled enough to have had the opportunity to compare different cultures and experience different societies and their values. Paul, on the other hand, was an urbanite and a cosmopolitan, moving easily throughout the Graeco-Roman world.
E. P. Sanders, Paul: A Very Short Introduction
Yes, it's already the third week of our study, so let's spend some time this lesson on Paul, the man. What clues does Paul give us about himself? Both in preparation and the textual study, look for evidence from Paul's own hand about his life and how it shaped his mission.
Look up the following passages and compile a resume on Paul. Use any other passages about Paul that you find helpful to the assignment. Think about being on a church Search Committee. What information would you present to the congregation about this prospective new minister? Here is another electronic bible research tool to help, the Bible Gateway.
- Galatians 1:12-24
- 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
- 1 Corinthians 14:18-19
- 2 Corinthians 10:9-11
- 2 Corinthians 11:22-33
- 2 Corinthians 12:1-10
Here are the next two sections for our study.
Enemies and Autobiography - Philippians 3:1-11
1. What autobiographical information does Paul share in this passage?
2. Who are the “dogs” and who are they contrasted with?
3. What was the personal cost to Paul of wanting to know Christ?
4. What do you think Paul meant by “knowing Christ”?
5. What are two views on righteousness that Paul identifies?
The Prize - Philippians 3:12 - 4:1
6. What is the “prize” that Paul strives to achieve?
7. What constitutes good citizenship according to Paul? How could this understanding cause problems for the Philippians in their community?
8. Why would Paul suggest they imitate him? Shouldn't he have suggested they imitate Christ?
9. Paul eagerly awaited the return of Jesus from heaven. What does he believe will happen at the return of Christ?
10. Based on the belief in the return of Christ, imperative does Paul give the Philippians?
Don't be bashful. Share a comment. Here's the discussion question for this week: What aspects of Paul's personality served him well in his mission work? What characteristics might have limited his success?
The PBS site from Jesus to Christ is much more that a site that looks at the historical Jesus. It is also a great resource on Paul and early Christan origins. Explore the sections on The First Christians by clicking here. While you're there, take a look at the online video resources and watch #9, Paul's Mission in the Aegean.