They are the center of migrations of people and he sees this world, from a Roman point of view, which is an urban point of view, that the surrounding country is centered in that city and the spread of Christianity depends upon getting it to those major centers.... Mike, take us back in time to Corinth early fifties and describe the scene. The tensions that arose over time. This “messenger of Satan,” perhaps a demonic angel, was sent directly from Satan himself to buffet Paul and to restrict the progress of his ministry. For example we know that Paul wrote at least four or more letters to Corinth, only two of which seem to be preserved in the New Testament, and there are probably maybe as many as ten different letters that go back and forth between Corinth and Paul during the time that he's living in Ephesus. We also shouldn't minimize the level of expectation that was going through their minds at that time because ... with the passing of this first generation, the expectation that all of those coming events must be closer to hand probably was a concern for a lot of people. Are there practical problems that he has to kind of worry about? He was himself a Pharisee and trained as a Pharisee so he would have been conversant with the tradition of interpretation of the scriptures and indeed of the prophets themselves. This journey is described in the Bible's book of Acts, chapters 13 and 14. CONTROVERSY: DO YOU HAVE TO BECOME A JEW TO FOLLOW JESUS? ...[H]e does want to deal with theological issues, but Paul isn't writing theological treatises as much as he's giving advice and instruction and encouragement for living. There are only a handful of Christians in each of several major cities in the Eastern Empire. It's the Greek translation of the Hebrew word Messioc and they mean exactly the same thing. One of the stops on this journey was the city of Lystra where Paul healed a man who had not ever been able to walk. Paul’s preaching wasn’t focused on himself, his humor, or his ability entertain. Mission. How soon? We also know from the letters that there are at least five or six different congregations of Christians in Corinth, each one located in someone's home in some different suburb of the city. For example in Galatians, when Paul tells us about his early career, he explicitly says he has little or nothing to do with Jerusalem early on. teachers' guide . The city of Corinth in about the year 50 would have been the burgeoning capital of a Roman province in the Greek East. They agree that it's okay for Paul to convert these gentiles and yet not to force them to be circumcised. Is he writing scripture? Now Ephesus up until this time had really not been the major city of Asia. Paul maintained that his. He's taking it to a non-Jewish audience. It must not have been intelligible to a lot of them until some sort of explanation could be given. W here did Paul go exactly in all of his missionary journeys?. From Antioch to Selucia, a Aeaport Town 16 Miles Away. We have now worked our way through a marvelous section of the book of Romans chapters 12 through 15 in which Paul spells out something of the Christian way of life. Paul believed that his vision proved that Jesus lived in heaven, that Jesus was the Messiah and God's Son, and that he would soon return. So the ritual of circumcision as a process of conversion to Judaism is one of those major hurdles that people would have thought about from the Greek world background in which Paul was living. They're not completely parallel in the way they describe certain events in Paul's career. d. The travelers were: 1. There are differences of opinion on what the message means. Antioch itself has one of the largest Jewish communities outside of the Jewish homeland in the Roman period. There are differences of behavior and ethical patterns that these converts will naturally incline toward in their attempt to live the Christian life. In the first place, although he by no means neglected his Jewish countrymen, his … Secondly, he talks about the wrath to come, a kind of apocalyptic image of a coming judgment on all who worship idols and don't serve that living God, and thirdly he talks about Jesus the Messiah as the one who will deliver from that wrath. Some place over in, say, Colossae or maybe up toward the interior in Galatia. The primary impact he has left on Christianity after him is through his letters, but in his own time, he sees himself primarily as a prophet to the non-Jews, to bring to them the message of the crucified Messiah, and he does this in an extraordinary way. So expect Paul to be preaching about a Messiah. His family may have owned the business back in Tarsus. So part of Paul's missionary activity for the rest of his career is raising funds to bring back to Jerusalem. So when Paul quotes scripture he's quoting from the Hebrew Bible in its Greek form. Now when we say that Paul writes letters we have to realize that Paul really doesn't think of himself as writing scripture. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Saul was a Pharisee and a murderer who persecuted the church... but a remarkable transformation took place and he became Paul, a significant and influential spiritual leader in the Christian faith. Saint Paul is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in the history of the Western world. Our latest episode for parents features the topic of empathy. But that language of being called from the womb is prophetic language drawn directly from the prophet Isaiah and the prophet Jeremiah, so Paul sees himself in direct continuity with this Jewish legacy of the prophetic tradition as someone called to have a special purpose. That’s why Plummer’s book Paul’s Understanding of the Church’s Mission is such an important book. The blow up in Antioch over eating with gentiles probably is the turning point in Paul's career. viewers' guide . Is he envisioning something? Paul and Barnabas are ordained by the church as apostles (Acts 13:1 - 3). So he lives in a Greek city, itself, in fact, an interesting kind of crossroads on the frontier of the What was his logic? The Hebrew prophets, he wrote, had predicted that in “days to come” God would restore the tribes of Israel and that the Gentiles would then turn to worship the one true God. We know who was carrying the letter. Eastern side of the Aegean in Turkey his base is the major city of Ephesus which precisely at the time that Paul is arriving there is about to become the most important metropolis of all Asia. Now it's true that one could within a standard Jewish tradition think of the Messiah dying. Now while this term Christian of course becomes the standard terminology for all later Christian traditions, and we think of it in much more lofty and positive terms, at the time that it was coined it was probably a slur. Answer: The apostle Paul went on three pioneering missionary journeys, followed by a trip to Rome. People who follow a Messiah or just talk about the Messiah an awful lot and we're not actually sure who coined the term. It had two ports. That is the region bounded by the Eastern coast of Greece and the Western coast of Turkey and the island in-between. When Paul goes to see them he takes with him Titus and some of others of the Antioch community who are his supporters in the beginning..., and they go down to ask the question of "how do we deal with these gentile converts?" This would be the first of Paul's Missionary Journey's. We know that later on... by the middle fifties... around 55 to 58, other Christians are starting to move in to Paul's territories and starting to argue with his congregations over proper forms of Christian practice and belief. Up until that point Paul has worked predominantly within Diaspora Jewish communities, where he moves out of the Jewish context to deal with gentiles, but after the blow up with Peter, Paul leaves Antioch and probably never returned again. He hasn't yet thought of a New Testament. This was after the great fire, and the emperor Nero seemed to have wanted to blame the fire on a variety of groups in Rome such as Jews and Christians. In fact the inscriptions and the statues and the art work and the buildings all tell us that this is really a crossroads of culture and religious life throughout the Mediterranean world. It is well to take note of his missionary strategy, for it was designed to reach the greatest number with the highest efficiency. The one other thing to say, though, is that conversion to Judaism was actually much easier for women, and it may actually be the simple fact that more women could easily be attracted to Judaism...we know that later on when we see Paul's churches in the Greek world... in those Greek cities there are far more women in them, and it may be that this is where he had an early following precisely because it was already a hurdle that was easier to jump. The return of the Lord and the resurrection of the dead. The word “messenger” is the Greek word angelos, a word that can describe an angel; one who is sent on a special mission; or a messenger who is dispatched to perform a specific assignment. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. What could he possibly mean? symposium . Does it change? But we look at those places and we see [that] each of them is on a major Roman road or it is at a major seaport. Paul was there just at the beginning of that process, and so we have to imagine Paul coming in to Ephesus from the harbor, down the main street to the Greek theater and encountering what was at that stage still a smallish city but one that was just about ready to take off. What does he mean, that he has filled up all of the Eastern Empire with the gospel? About the same time Josephus tells us that James, the brother of Jesus at Jerusalem, has also been killed. It's his house church patroness Phoebe who has gone ahead to Rome to prepare the way.... Paul is going to Rome to get the Christian communities at Rome to support him in a new endeavor to go to Spain...to start a new gentile mission in an area that had never before heard the preaching of Jesus. 4. Now when Paul gets to the end of his Aegean phase of ministry he seems also to be facing some problems. It's clear that one of the concerns that keep showing up throughout this period of Paul's ministry is when is this kingdom going to arrive. All of whom have congregations that gather in their homes, and so it's this mixed and varied small cell group kind of organization that probably establishes some of the important social context for Paul's letters, precisely because there are disagreements that crop up. Paul has to say it's really the fellowship of the community, the ability to come together that's the important hallmark of the Christian message, and he has to try to show them the way to get back to that ideal. web site copyright 1995-2014 Can you describe to me the difference in the tension between Jerusalem and Antioch? Middle East, and yet he also had a very traditional Jewish education. Now as part of this agreement that was reached in Jerusalem, Paul also decides that it would be important to raise funds in support of the poor in Jerusalem. For example, in modern scholarship, we have tended to divide various categories. Like Corinth, Ephesus was a cosmopolitan environment. Paul and Barnabas escort food and relief supplies to Jerusalem, after which they return to Antioch (Acts 12:25).. 44 to 46 Apostle Paul's First Missionary Journey. Rightly understood, mission provides the fulcrum of Paul’s theology in these letters, integrating other pivotal themes such as God the Father, Christ the Son, and the salvation that God pro… Paul's Mission and Letters Carrying the 'good news' of Jesus Christ to non-Jews, Paul's letters to his fledgling congregations reveal their internal tension and conflict. And it's very important to keep that in mind. We also know that there was a very large Jewish community in Antioch, and apparently when Paul went there it was because he understood it to offer a very important opportunity for him to preach this new message that he had come to understand as a result of his own revelatory experience about Jesus. The brethren sent them forth on their mission. And it's around this issue of how one lives in anticipation of the end time that's just around the corner for Paul. Paul’s group now includes Paul, Silas and Timothy. He will go through his entire life thinking the kingdom will come soon but the Messiah had already died. One of the difficulties is precisely over social differentiation among the members of the community. You see it's Paul who starts the writing of the New Testament by writing letters to these fledgling congregations in the cities of the Greek East. In addition, Paul also thought that the purpose of this revelation was his own appointment to preach among the Gentiles (Galatians 1:16). He travels to them on several different occasions. Paul adapted some of the standard stylistic features of letter writing to the particular needs of his own theological concerns and his needs of instruction for these Christian communities. By the time of his last extant letter, Romans, he could clearly describe his own place in God’s plan. For these ten years that he's been in the Aegean he's had his congregations collecting monies together to take back to Jerusalem. 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