18 February 2012
Saint Paul, the Courageous Apostle
(Jewish name: Saul; Roman name: Paul)
Paul was born in Tarsus in Cilicia and brought up in Jerusalem. He was being well trained as a Pharisee in all Jewish Law and taught by Gamaliel, a Pharisee and celebrated doctor of Law (i.e. an authorized teacher of the Sanhedrin (The supreme council and court of justice among the Jews)). See the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 22: 3.
Paul is not one of the 12 Apostles originally selected by Jesus Christ (see the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 3: 13-19), he was called by Jesus Christ after He ascended into heaven (after His resurrection). The Calling itself was most unexpected and perhaps many would considered as most dramatic, as Jesus appeared to Paul when he was on the way from Jerusalem to Damascus to arrest the disciples. In this apparition, Paul was being blinded by a bright light and fell from his horse; Jesus said to him, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But get up and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” (the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 9: 5)
Paul was blind for 3 days and he was being led by others to enter the city, he refused to eat and drink during those days. A disciple Ananias was instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ to lay his hands on Paul to give back his sight. The Lord told Ananias with the aforesaid instructions, “Go, for he is an instrument whom I have chosen to bring My name before Gentiles and kings and before the people of Israel; I Myself will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of My name.” (the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 9: 15-16)
The Lord’s special calling is a turning point in the life of Paul. He cooperated actively with Grace and let himself be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ… Paul suffered greatly in bringing the Good News to his own people and especially to the Gentiles (the non-Jewish people).
He is also one of the Apostles who earned his own living besides doing the evangelization works as instructed by the Lord Jesus Christ. His perseverance and his hard work had given us a perfect example on living Christian Life in the commercial world. In the name of Jesus Christ, Paul had healed the sick and raised the dead... All these are recorded in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapters 9-28.
To know further, you can read the aforesaid. We are quite sure he would lead you. Don’t you know he is a great teacher ? 8-)
Paul had written many letters and they are filled with fatherly affection and encouragements, he is “the Number 13 Apostle” who had written the most letters as compared to the rest of the Twelve (12). They are as follows:
a) The Letter to the Romans;
b) The 1st & 2nd Letters to the Corinthians;
c) The Letter to the Galatians;
d) The Letter to the Ephesians;
e) The Letter to the Philippians;
f) The Letter to the Colossians;
g) The 1st & 2nd Letters to the Thessalonians;
h) The 1st & 2nd Letters to Timothy;
i) The Letter to Titus;
j) The Letter to Philemon;
k) The Letter to the Hebrews (??)-According to various findings, it is likely to be the Sermon given by Apollos (an Associate of Paul), to the Jews, not just the Hebrews.
Do you believe that in reading the letters and writings of a person, we would be able to read his mind, his dreams and his aspirations? I believe so.
That is why many of us know Saint Paul better than any of the other Apostles, as we have been hearing his Letters being read out in the Churches since we were young, and now we want to share our favorites with you. As a gentle reminder, many of them have been presented in the previous webpages. 8-)
Fatherly affection: I made myself all things to all men in order to save some at any cost
-Extracted from the 1st Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 9:
16 In fact, preaching the gospel gives me nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion and I should be in trouble if I failed to do it.
17 If I did it on my own initiative I would deserve a reward; but if I do it under compulsion I am simply accepting a task entrusted to me.
18 What reward do I have, then? That in my preaching I offer the gospel free of charge to avoid using the rights which the gospel allows me.
19 So though I was not a slave to any human being, I put myself in slavery to all people, to win as many as I could.
20 To the Jews I made myself as a Jew, to win the Jews; to those under the Law as one under the Law (though I am not), in order to win those under the Law;
21 to those outside the Law as one outside the Law, though I am not outside the Law but under Christ's law, to win those outside the Law.
22 To the weak, I made myself weak, to win the weak. I accommodated myself to people in all kinds of different situations, so that by all possible means I might bring some to salvation.
23 All this I do for the sake of the gospel, that I may share its benefits with others.
24 Do you not realize that, though all the runners in the stadium take part in the race, only one of them gets the prize? Run like that - to win.
25 Every athlete concentrates completely on training, and this is to win a wreath that will wither, whereas ours will never wither.
26 So that is how I run, not without a clear goal; and how I box, not wasting blows on air.
27 I punish my body and bring it under control, to avoid any risk that, having acted as herald for others, I myself may be disqualified.
Fatherly advice: Take me as your model, as I take Christ
- Extracted from the 1st Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, Chapters 10-11:
31 Whatever you eat, then, or drink, and whatever else you do, do it all for the glory of God.
32 Never be a cause of offence, either to Jews or to Greeks or to the Church of God,
33 just as I try to accommodate everybody in everything, not looking for my own advantage, but for the advantage of everybody else, so that they may be saved.
1 Take me as your model, just as I take Christ for mine.
18 February 2012
7 April 2012
Paul’s Visions and Revelations
- Extracted from the 2nd Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, Chapter 12:
1 I am boasting because I have to. Not that it does any good, but I will move on to visions and revelations from the Lord.
2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago - still in the body? I do not know; or out of the body? I do not know: God knows - was caught up right into the third heaven.
3 And I know that this man - still in the body? or outside the body? I do not know, God knows-
4 was caught up into Paradise and heard words said that cannot and may not be spoken by any human being.
5 On behalf of someone like that I am willing to boast, but I am not going to boast on my own behalf except of my weaknesses;
6 and then, if I do choose to boast I shall not be talking like a fool because I shall be speaking the truth. But I will not go on in case anybody should rate me higher than he sees and hears me to be, because of the exceptional greatness of the revelations.
7 Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, I was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger from Satan to batter me and prevent me from being too elated.
8 About this, I have three times pleaded with the Lord that it might leave me;
9 but he has answered me, 'My grace is sufficient for you: for My power is made perfect in weakness.' It is, then, about my weaknesses that I am happiest of all to boast, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me;
10 and that is why I am glad of weaknesses, insults, constraints, persecutions and distress for Christ's sake. For it is when I am weak that I am strong.
Sharing: Listen to “ You Raise Me Up” @ http://www.youtube.com . 8-)
7 April 2012