The Apostle Paul Essay

The Apostle Paul Essay

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Harris calls Paul “the most influential apostle and missionary of the mid-first-century CE church and author of seven to nine New Testament letters” (H G-33). It would be quite an accolade to receive such recognition, but what makes it even more remarkable is that Paul, or Saul, (Saul was his Judean name and Paul was his Roman name (footnotes B 1943)) originally persecuted the ekklesia or “church”. Paul went from persecuting the ekklesia or “church” to being its “most influential apostle and missionary”. Why and how did Paul make such a drastic change? The answer to the question can be found in various books of the New Testament including some of the letters that Paul wrote. This answer also aids in the explanation of how and why Paul argue with the Ioudaioi.
Ioudaioi was the name given to the people of Judah after Alexander the Great conquered Judah in 333 BCE. Judah was originally one of the twelve tribes of Israel, and was the name for the southern kingdom after Israel split in 922 BCE after the death of King Solomon. The term Ioudaioi is often mistranslated from Greek as Jews. In contrast, it should be properly translated as Judeans. The Ioudaioi came from or lived in the land of Judea (Ioudaia). Paul never claimed to be Judean (or an Ioudaios in Greek), but rather identified himself as an Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin and as a former Pharisee (Philippians 3:5).
The Pharisees were one of the four major political parties that came into to being after the Hasmoneans claimed the position of High Priest, around 150 BCE. They were the largest party and had great influence over the Ioudaioi on issues of religion; they accepted the Tanakh and oral Torah as necessities to be followed (H 301). In addition to being a Pharisee...


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...rdance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures”.
On the road to Damascus, Paul received a calling to become “an instrument whom [YHWH] chose to bring my name before Gentiles [ethne or “nations”] and kings and before the people of Israel” (Acts 9:15). The Ioudaioi or Judeans would be considered as part of the people of Israel. Therefore, Paul had the responsibility to persuade the Ioudaioi that justice and salvation come about through Jesus Christ alone (Romans 5:12-21). A lot of the Ioudaioi believed that justice is obtained through following nomos or “law or custom”. Paul debated with the Ioudaioi in order to successfully persuade them to believe his viewpoint. This was done by means of his three missionary trips (H G-33) and by him writing letters to the ekklesia in various cities.

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