Apostle Paul

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First and Last Writings

The apostle Paul wrote his first epistle included in the Bible, his letter to the church in Thessalonica, in 50 A.D. His last writing, to his dear friend Timothy just before his martyrdom (known as the book of 2Timothy), was penned in 67 A.D.

The Most Prolific Writer

Paul wrote fourteen books that were included in the Bible, the most of any person. His writings comprise more than half of the New Testament! The next two biggest contributors to Holy writ are Moses and the Apostle John, who each wrote five books.

The Apostle Paul also holds the record as the most prolific Biblical writer in the shortest time. Moses wrote the first five books of Scripture over the forty years Israel wandered in the wilderness (1445 to 1405 B.C.). The apostle John's first writing (his gospel) was completed in 42 A.D. His last book, Revelation, was penned in 95.

Amazingly, seven out of the fourteen Biblical books the apostle wrote were produced in less than three years (early spring of 61 to 63 A.D.)! In this period, he composed the books of Hebrews, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, 1Timothy and Titus. This staggering output, in such a short time, contributed 26% of all New Testament books.

Paul's Identities

The Apostle Paul is an amazing individual! His zeal to preach the gospel despite hardships, rejection and physical abuse (beaten three times and whipped severely five times, 2Corinthians 11:23 - 28) is both astonishing and inspiring. What few people realize, however, is how willing he was to use a variety of identities in order to advance his goals.

In order to further the spread of the gospel he presented himself as a Jew (which he was) to those who were Jewish. He changed his tactics toward those who were Gentiles (heathens) by coming across as someone who did not believe salvation could be earned by obedience (1Corinthians 9:20 - 21).

To the Roman army captain who arrested the apostle at Jerusalem's temple because he thought he caused a riot, he identified himself as "a Jew, a citizen of Cilicia from Tarsus, which is no insignificant city" (Acts 21:39, HBFV). This identity as a man from an important Roman city, along with His ability to speak Greek (verse 37), enabled him to receive permission to address the temple crowd (verse 40).

After Paul addresses the temple crowd another riot breaks out (Acts 22:22 - 23). The Romans, who do not understand why the Jews are so upset, want to interrogate him through scourging. Knowing what the Romans want to do, he tells a Centurion, "Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman . . ." (verse 25). The apostle avoids a severe beating by identifying as a Roman citizen (verse 29).

The next day Paul is brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin to answer questions regarding his conduct (Acts 23:1). Knowing the council is composed of those who have strong doctrinal disagreements, he identifies himself as a Pharisee who is being harassed for his belief in the resurrection (verse 6). His statement quickly causes the council to descend into chaos! For safety sake he is quickly escorted away. His identification as a Pharisee saves him from being condemned by the Jewish religious authority (verses 7 - 10).

Miscellaneous Trivia

Paul uses more Old Testament quotations in the book of Romans than in all his other writings combined. In the book of Hebrews, he references the Old Testament 102 times. His most personal book, 2Timothy, mentions twenty-three different people, twelve of which are not mentioned anywhere else.

The apostle, during his five missionary journeys, visited many islands (Cyprus, Crete, Malta, Rhodes, Lesbos, Sicilia and possibly others). He also likely visited the island of Britannia (also known as Britain).

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