Do we understand the significance that the apostle Paul has on our spiritual lives? Much of our biblical understanding comes from the pastors of the churches that we attend. Yet their messages are based upon their understanding of scriptures and how they were taught. In most teaching situations they are biblically correct. However, when it comes to understanding the gospel writers, there are significant differences in the various pastor’s teachings. In this article we will specifically focus on the apostle Paul, who is the apostle to the Gentiles (you and me).
For I (Paul), speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:
1 Timothy 2:7
Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
This passage speaks directly to Paul being the apostle and the teacher of the gentiles. A gentile then, is nothing more than a non-Jew. On the other hand the apostle Peter was given to be the apostle to the Jews.
But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision (Gentiles), was committed unto me (Paul), as the gospel of the circumcision (Jew), was unto Peter;
Let’s look at scriptures that are associated with the apostle Paul and his relationship to you and me as our teacher.
1 Corinthians 4:15
For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I (Paul) have begotten you through the gospel (1 Corinthians 15: 1-4).
1 Corinthians 4:16
Wherefore I (Paul), beseech you, be ye followers of me.
1 Corinthians 4:17
For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church.
Here, Paul is saying that even though he may leave them, that Timothy will remain and teach them about the apostle Paul and his ways in Christ. We need to remember that Paul was personally trained in the teachings of Christ by Jesus himself. This was done for three years in the Arabian Desert by Jesus after Pauls’ Damascus road experience and subsequent conversion.
1 Corinthians 11:1
Be ye followers of me (Paul), even as I also am of Christ.
Paul follows Jesus Christ, but not the Jesus of Nazareth to the Jews, and the dusty roads of Palestine, but rather the "Crucified, Risen, Lord of glory.”
That I (Paul) may know him, and the power of his resurrection . . .
Paul is our example. He was willing to suffer and die for the sake of the Cross of Christ. Paul emphasizes that he is the example for us to follow as he follows Christ.
Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
We follow Paul because the Holy Spirit has declared that we should do so. We do this because we are promised that the “God of Peace” shall be with us.
In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
This is a profound statement. Please look at this verse carefully. Paul is saying that “God shall Judge” according to Pauls’ gospel. What then is the gospel that Paul has given us as a servant of Christ? That gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. This is the gospel by which you and I are saved!
1 Corinthians 15:1
Moreover, brethren, I (Paul), declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1 Corinthians 15:2
By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:3
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1 Corinthians 15:4
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
We must believe that Jesus died for our sins, that he was buried, and that he rose from the grave. Paul then goes on to declare the following.
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Here we find that we should not only believe the gospel with all our heart, but that we will confess this truth with our mouth, that God has raised Jesus from the dead, then we shall be forgiven. You have probably never heard of these scriptures, or that they were even in your Bible. That in itself is the problem with some churches today. They mix the salvation of the Jew with that of the Gentile. Let’s move on.
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my (Paul’s) gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began (Deuteronomy 29:29),
1 Timothy 1:11
According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my (Paul’s),trust.
What does someone (Paul) that died almost 2,000 years ago have to do with me today is a question that we may often ask. The answer is: Everything.
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward . . .
How that by revelation (3 years in the desert), he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words . . .
Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ . . .
1 Corinthians 9:17
Dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.
1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
2 Timothy 2:8
Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my (Paul’s) gospel:
Paul was in a Roman prison when he wrote the following.
But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen (Gentiles); immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood . . .
How can we possibly deny the fact that we should follow Paul as our spiritual father? God chose to reveal the newness of Christ through the apostle Paul. All of the mysteries of Christ were shared and revealed to Paul for our benefit. Paul knew that the completeness in Christ is salvation.
Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
It would have done no good for Paul to go to the apostles because they had no understanding of the gospel of Christ. Paul never conferred with the other apostles on the matter of salvation. He immediately began to preach Christ crucified (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
To reveal his Son in me (Paul), that I might preach him among the heathen (Gentiles); immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
For the believing of the gospel of Christ is salvation for the Jew. The 12 apostles followed Christ and his message that you must be “Born Again.” That the Jews salvation could only be found in understanding and believing that Christ is their Messiah, the Christ, and the Son of the Living God. That someday, when Christ returned that they would be at home in the Kingdom prepared for them, with Christ as King.
That he (Paul), which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.
And they glorified God in me (Paul).
1 Timothy 1:16
Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
This study may be a surprise to you or even a little troubling. But that doesn’t negate the fact that if you have read this far you are seeking the truth. You want to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus. That no matter what a man says, scripture is the sufficiency we need found in the Bible. I encourage you to explore other articles on this site to strengthen your biblical understanding.
Your questions and comments are always appreciated.
2015 – 2016