The Great Apostle Paul and The Law
Who is this Apostle Paul and why is he so important in the way we refer to the Law? The discovery of who Paul is seems to strike most new believers as surprising and refreshing. Giving them the ability to dig into part of the Bible’s past. Conclusions to these findings make the words of God comprehendible. Thus, the problem is not that there is something wrong with the Law; rather, what Paul criticizes is the wrong attitude toward the Law. (Koperski) Paul’s past is full of dark, sorrowful moments that evolve into a story of light, hope, and structure. The presence of the Lord helps Paul become one of the most known writers in the New Testament, the Holy Bible. His greatest contribution consists of the books Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians and Romans. Throughout we will discover and pull apart each of these books and learn how Paul speaks of the Law and how to apply it to current times. To fully understand and manipulate these books, we need to first understand Paul and who he used to be.
Life of Paul began as an immoral boy named Saul. Born in 2 A.D., Saul of Tarsus was born a Jew but also a Roman citizen. Thanks to the historical Augustus Caesar, Tarsus was a free city. Regardless of one’s belief, they were able to be a Roman citizen. The foundation of Saul is most apparent in the book of Acts. As a young child, Saul attended a Pharisaic Rabbinical school in Jerusalem. Due the nature of the school, Saul became “separated” from Jesus. Consequently, he began to become restrictive of the Law and live in a sinful way.
After the death of Stephen, Saul went on a rampage of destruction, particularly at the church and its disciples. “Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1-2) During the journey to Damascus, Saul had an amazing encounter with the one person whom he sought to destroy, Jesus. “Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’” (Acts 9:3-4) For three days, Saul was blind. The Lord called on Ananias to proceed to Saul’s location and restore his sight. Regardless of Ananias reluctance, he does what Jesus said. Saul had an unfortunate reputation for being vile towards the believers of God and his son Jesus. Ananias placed his hands on Saul. At this moment, Saul’s sight was rapidly restored. Ananias had baptized him and he stood with the Holy Spirit. Saul’s baptism comes as a surprise to most in Damascus. Most want to kill him. Mercifully, some believed in this man’s change of heart and helped him escape Damascus. The miracle of this is, even though Saul set out to destroy the church and harm all those who followed Jesus, he ended up becoming one of the chosen to teach Gods word. Under the guidance of other Apostles, fellow Christians accepted Saul, now known as Paul.
What do you think of the Law means? In relations to the Old Testament, the Law is very detailed. Stated on bibleheadquarters.org, a few are, The Ten Commandments, The Religious Ceremonial Laws, The Health Laws and The Civil Laws. This becomes somewhat confusing in the New Testament (time of Paul) because, Law is not referred to just the Law. Paul refers to it also as ordnances and covenants. What is hard to understand is that when Paul refers to the Law throughout the New Testament, he does not necessarily refer to a particular set of Laws. While the generalization of this might be easy to figure out, it is hard to apprehend which one he is specifically referring to. In modern day, we as Christians are expected to adhere to all of the written Laws. In some scripture, the Law appears to be more relaxed. For centuries,...
Bibliography: Drane, John W. Paul: Libertine or Legalist? London: SPCK, 1975.
Koperski, Veronica. Paul and the Law. Mahwah: Paulist Press, 2001.
Kruse, Colin G. Paul, The Law and Justification. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1996.
Kuula, Kari. The Law, The Covenant and God 's Plan. Vammalan: Finnish Exegetical Society, 1999.
Oxford. Oxford Illustrated American Dictonary. New York: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, Inc., 1998.
The Holy Bible NIV. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996.
Thielman, Frank. Paul & the Law. Downers Grove: InterVarsit Press, 1994.
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