Paul: Missionary of Jesus

Paul: Missionary of Jesus

Paul: Missionary of Jesus

Paul: Missionary of Jesus

Synopsis

Was Paul the "second founder" of Christianity, striking off in directions Jesus never envisaged and teaching lessons Christ never endorsed? In this study Paul Barnett sets out to establish that, current theories aside, the apostle was a true missionary of Jesus, authentically extending the Lord's mission.

Arguing that Paul's own writings are uniquely supplemented by Luke's contemporaneously written narrative of the Acts of the Apostles, Barnett follows Paul on a decade of travels, examining him in his historical context and as revealed by his writings. Including maps of Paul's travels and five helpful appendixes, Paul: Missionary of Jesus is ideal for anyone interested in seeking out the historical truth of Christianity.

Excerpt

Historians of Christian origins are fortunate that Paul was such a major force in the early stages of the movement begun by Jesus of Nazareth. Thirteen of Paul’s letters have survived, and these provide a series of windows into his mind as well as the circumstances of the churches that belonged to his mission. As well, his friend Luke gives us a contemporary external narrative of the most critical part of Paul’s missionary thrust into the GrecoRoman world. Few figures of antiquity are as accessible to inquiry as Paul of Tarsus.

So powerful a figure is Paul that some authorities regard him as the true founder of what Christianity was to become. Those who make this assessment, however, tend to do so not to praise Paul. On the contrary, they complain that he hijacked the religion of Jesus and made it into something that was never intended or envisaged.

When I began this book, I did not expect to discover too much that was new about Paul. How wrong this proved to be. the discipline involved in tracking Paul’s career chronologically has been quite eye-opening. It has been a revelation to reflect on the number of years Paul lived in Jerusalem before he became a persecutor, on the number of years he passed in relative obscurity, and on the astonishing brevity of his missionary career. Furthermore, curiosity about aspects of Paul’s life has produced interesting hypotheses for questions like: Why did Paul persecute the disciples when

1. Some scholars question the authenticity of Ephesians, Colossians, and the Pastoral Epistles, while also acknowledging significant Pauline influence in their authorship.

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