Consider Paul

W. Terry Varner
June 15, 2014

It is most difficult to understand the New Testament and Christianity unless we unite the teaching and work of Jesus with writing (and interpretation thereof) supplied by the apostle Paul. If we have difficulty understanding Christianity, then Paul’s interpretation and application as set froth in his writings should help us.

Consider that the New Testament contains twenty-seven books, at least thirteen are written by Paul Fourteen if we credit, as does this writer, Paul as the author Hebrews. Consider three reasons for the importance of Paul’s writings in the study of the Christian faith.

The Earliest Major Writings of the New Testament Are from Paul. Twenty years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, the of the beginning of Christianity, and the establishment of the church (AD 30), Paul begins to write his Epistles. He wrote fourteen Epistles in a seventeen year period—AD 50-67. All of Paul’s Epistles were written within a thirty-seven year period after the death of Jesus. This makes Paul one of the best known men in both Christianity and history.

The Epistles were written and read by the early Christians before the writing of the four Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It is possible that all of Paul’s Epistles were written before Acts of Apostles. Most of Paul’s Epistles were written earlier than the remaining New Testament books. Consequently, in the writings of Paul we are reading the earliest discussion of Christianity.

The Epistles of Paul Are Genuine. While it is true that some “scholars” are doubtful of Paul authoring some of his writings, a serious study of the internal and external evidences acknowledge Paul as author. There have been and continues to be many attempts to reconstruct Christianity rather than allowing the New Testament to stand on its own. The twenty-seven books of the New Testament reveals that Christianity began in Jerusalem (AD 30) and spread throughout the Roman Empire (Matt. 28:19; Acts 1:8). Christianity “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

Most Epistles of Paul Were Sent to Churches. Ten of Paul’s fourteen Epistles were sent to churches and were circular in nature (Col. 4:16). Four of his Epistles, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon were sent to individuals. Paul’s Epistles help tell the early story of the spread of the early church throughout the Roman Empire. This is why his Epistles serve as major documentation of the meaning of the Christian faith.

Paul’s epistles are very personal and filled with the deepest capacity of love and tenderness. He reveals his deepest thoughts to his readers. As we read Paul’s epistles, we often wrestle and study to grasp the richness of his writings. His Epistles possess a deep realization of his responsibility to God; thereby, encouraging the reader even in this twenty-first century to imitate his dedication (1 Cor. 11:1).

Originally, Paul, known earlier as Saul of Tarsus, was convinced that he “must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 26:9). However, when Paul was converted to Jesus, he spent the remainder of his life in service to Him. He was the last apostle to be selected being “bom out of due time” (1 Cor. 15:8). Being an apostle, Paul was baptized with the Holy Spirit which empowered him to write of the Christian faith inerrantly, authoritatively, and trustworthily. Consider Paul.