Final thoughts on the three faces of Paul


 Final thoughts on  the three faces of Paul the Apostle

Gentle Reader,

We have tried as it were to get inside the head of the 1st century Apostle Saul of Tarsus called Paul to perhaps give you some idea of what happened on that Damascus road that changed his. Some might have called Paul a visionary, Defined broadly, a visionary, is one who can envision the future. A vision can be political, religious, environmental, social, or technological in nature. By extension, a visionary can also be a person with a clear, distinctive, and specific (in some details) vision of the future, usually connected with advances in technology or social/political arrangements. Paul saw something or someone (he said he saw Jesus) and understood beyond what the average individual might pass over as being too inconsequential to even bother with, a waste of their too valuable time. In his Theology of the New Testament Rudolf Bultmann saw the matter, Paul was seeking to give expression to the kergma [Greek- Christianity the essential news of Jesus, as preached by the early Christians to elicit faith rather than to educate or instruct] through mythological language and symbols. Much of the Pauline passages were considered to be an instance of midrashic interpretation of Scripture. I might point that Many New Testament scholars had hopes that midrash might give them the missing key to understanding the formal structure of Paul’s argumentation. The message that Paul found in the Hebrew Scriptures was that the gospel of Jesus Christ proleptically figured, a gospel, proclaiming the inclusion of the Gentiles among the people of God; his exegesis of Hebrew Scriptures hammers relentlessly on this theme, a theme hardly central in rabbinic hermeneutics. Yes, Gentle Reader, Paul was in the truest sense of the word a visionary. Paul was permitted to see what others had only hoped to see, the outworking of the plan of the God, the end from the beginning.

I have been called at times a visionary, a prophet a seer "Anointed by God" and a lot of other head turning statements . But Gentle reader I confess to you I am not any of those people I’m am as you are a searcher of truth. Perhaps a peripatetic philosopher. A Historian, Linguist, Theologian, a polymath with a deep interest in all things physical, psychological, spiritual. A wanderer in the universe of the human mind and a seeker after God.

Like Paul who saw beyond his time or understanding to something greater than himself and tried to tell others, to teach, to inform that gentle reader, we are not alone, you are not alone in this universe. We are perhaps mere children of yet to be discovered family in a galaxy of stars.

 The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books - a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.

Like Paul and all of the Mystics who have followed him we are still, despite what many may believe and insist that you believe them as well, evolving into what yet is to be seen. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.(Col 3:4 KJV)




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  • Brother Denis your final post on "Final Thoughts On The Three Faces Of Paul" is so rich and filled with much "Spiritual Insight"  not specifically  concerning what one's understanding or interpretation is of "Pauline Literature or The Pauline Corpus" I perceive a somewhat similarity in the inward working of "The Holy Spirit"  in both yours and Paul's life. I consider myself as someone who likes to express themselves succinctly so I will try to do so. What stood out to me more then anything else that you expressed in this post was your reluctancy to embrace your "Prophetic History" (i.e. prophetic gifting)

    When prophetic history begins it is usally a indicator or sign that God is preparing us or about to do a shift in our lives, ministry and also our way of thinking! It will be a "Paradigm Shift"  It's a indicator that you will be entering a new season and will have to let Go of some old things, and move forward with the new. It is often not a comfortable thing, but sometimes in order for God to get us where He wants us to be "He will move us out of our comfort zone"

    I agree with you that Saul of Tarsus (i.e. a pharisees) and Paul (i.e. the apostle to the gentiles) were visionaries. However in their respective places whose vision where they trying to implement, Theirs or the Lord's?

    Although Saul of Tarsus was a educated and religious man, the biblical text gives us insight that he didn't really have a relationship with the one in whom He thought he knew. So in essence he was truly endeavoring to accomplish something (i.e.envision) that the Lord had not either sanctioned or approved).

    Example of Paul's endeavors: He was constantly trying to preach the gospel to the jewish people when that was clearly not his assignment from the Lord. His assignment from the Lord was to clearly go to "The Gentiles" The word of God's says "Obedience is better then sacrifice"

    Then the Damascus Road Encounter and Transformation!  (Encounter Changes Us!)

    After Saul encounters Jesus and He becomes Paul, Now he begins to align his thinking (i.e. vision) with the will of the Lord and things change and start happening. Now he not only has head knowledge, but now through encounter he has moved into relationship.

    Last thought: Gazers become Seers!

  • Thank you Eleanor,

    But I am afraid you and your kind heart give me way too much credit <grin> Although it's nice to read your lovely thoughts. Remember dear sister we do what the Holy Spirit has us to do with the wee talents that He Gives. I am just one beggar showing another where to find bread.  

  • Paul truly is a multifaceted personality. Aside from his religious complexities, he is a rich source of insight into the Jewish mindset, the education system, and of course the rich and diverse background he shares with us.  I'm sure sociology and psychology students could write numerous pages on this man - just on his character alone.  Add the dimensions of truly diverse upbringing, education, and experiences, and you have a extraordinary person for that era.  It is also fascinating to me how his theology, lifestyle, and works grow and become more refined as he matures as a Christian.  There is little doubt that much of the changes in Saul and the resultant evolution of Paul are a template for the new as well as the old Christian.  However, as complex as he is, his straitforward manner and acceptance of responsibility shine through as his least redeeming qualities until they are polished and honed by the love of Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit within him.  He was, as Saul and as Paul, a diamond in the rough.  There is so much more i would like to write but I think it better to reserve it for another time or discussion. It has been a most gallant effort by Doc Denis and an effort that cleaned my lenses as well as emptied out some cobwebs. Thanks Doc...

  • Thank you Ley,

     You are much comfort to me as we wade through scripture together. Please…read more slowly and more carefully and with more questions in mind…Ponder, [and] examine every word, every scriptural gem…Hold it up to the light, and turn it, look and see what’s reflected and refracted there…such an examination may unearth a treasure hidden in a field: a pearl of great price; a pearl beyond price

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