Author: Ron Graham
—And the gospel’s global outreach
Time ~ 11. Dawning of New Israel
Span ~ 70 years
Books ~ Acts, the Epistles, Revelation
Figures ~ Peter Paul
Begins with ~ Death of Jesus
Another of the great preachers during the dawning of New Israel was the apostle Paul. In this lesson we will look at Paul just as last lesson we looked at Peter.
1 Jesus Recruits His Enemies
Jesus did not choose only from among the faithful and obedient to find those he needed to help establish his kingdom. He also chose from among his enemies. Paul is the notable example. However it must be said that all of us were really enemies of Jesus at one time, and he also called us unto himself.
2 Paul’s Equality with the Twelve
The twelve apostles were a special group in many ways, special enough that it was necessary to replace Judas after he betrayed Christ and committed suicide (Acts 1:15-26). However, the twelve were not the only apostles. Others too had a special mission from God.
Paul, and some of his partners in the gospel, were also apostles (Romans 16:7 Acts 14:14). Paul regarded himself, as far as authority was concerned, an apostle "not one whit behind the very chiefest" (2Corinthians 11:5, 12:11).
Christ used the twelve apostles, including Peter, to establish the kingdom of Heaven (his church) in Jerusalem. He also used them to spread the kingdom throughout the world in widening circles (Acts 1:8). However twelve men alone would be too limited to accomplish that task. The dawning of New Israel was, like the dawning of a new day, to sweep around the globe. So the Lord appointed other apostles and preachers to help with this task. Among these Paul was notable, not only for the work he did, but also for the manner in which he was called.
3 A few facts about Paul
- An apostle of Christ (not one of the twelve).
- Had a special visitation from Christ (1Corinthians 15:7-8).
- He was baptized by a disciple called Ananias.
- Originally named Saul. Jesus named him Paul.
- He was a dedicated Pharisee before becoming a Christian (Philippians 3:4-7).
- His home town was the city of Tarsus in Cilicia.
- He was highly educated under Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).
- He was able to competently address assemblies and enter into debate in Jewish synagogues, before courts and kings, in philosophers' forums, among idolatrous mobs.
- A great part of the book of Acts is about Paul.
- He wrote most of the letters in the New Testament, namely Romans to Philemon, and probably Hebrews.
- His letter to the Romans is widely regarded as a classic in religious literature.
- He was a persecutor of the church before he became a Christian and an apostle.
- He had a vision of Christ on the road to Damascus, and this completely changed his life.
- He suffered many hardships (2Corinthians 11:23-28).
- He spent a lot of time in unjust imprisonment and house arrest.
- He made a number of missionary journeys.
4 Bible Summary (Acts)
- Saul participates in Stephen's death (Acts 7:58, 8:1)
- Saul persecutes the church (Acts 8:2-3)
- Jesus confronts him on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-17) [re-told in Acts chapters 22 and 26]
- Ananias baptizes him (Acts 9:18)
- Paul preaches Jesus (Acts 9:19-22)
- Paul is now himself persecuted. He escapes (Acts 9:23-25)
- Paul goes away quietly into Arabia for up to 3 yrs (Galatians 1:14-24)
- Barnabas befriends Paul (Acts 9:26-30)
- Paul helps Barnabas deliver alms to Jerusalem (Acts 11:19-30)
- Paul and Barnabas sent from Antioch to preach (Acts 13)
- Paul confronts Elymas the magician (Acts 13)
- Preaching in Iconium -Paul heals a man lame from birth (Acts 14)
- Idolators mistake Paul and Barnabas for gods (Acts 14)
- Paul and Barnabas strengthen the churches (Acts 14)
- Judaisers are confronted (Acts 15)
- A council held in Jerusalem (Acts 15)
- Paul disagrees with Barnabas, now works with Silas (Acts 15)
- Timothy is also enlisted (Acts 16)
- Churches continue to be visited by Paul and companions (Acts 16)
- Lydia and a jailor converted at Philippi (Acts 16)
- Paul preaches in Athens (Acts 17)
- More cities, more converts, more troubles (Acts 18)
- Paul in Ephesus -trouble with a silversmith (Acts 19)
- More travels, Paul farewells the elders of Ephesus (Acts 20)
- Troubles in Jerusalem and Paul's defense there (Acts 21-23)
- Paul sent to Caesarea, his defense before Felix (Acts 23-24)
- Paul before Festus and Agrippa (Acts 25-26)
- Paul transported to Rome -but shipwrecked on way (Acts 27-28)
- Under house arrest in Rome but able to preach (Acts 28)
- The rest of Paul's story remains untold, but he probably made further journeys, including Spain, before being arrested again and finally executed.