Painting a Portrait of Paul
How do you feel about Paul? Do you trust his epistles? Does his arrogance bother you at all?
Paul is a complicated character, given his multi-layered persona: A former Pharisee schooled under Gamaliel, a Roman citizen, and travelling Apostle of Christ. This personality has even more depth to it, as studies of the New Perspective on Paul and Paul’s relationship with the Stoic philosophers have shown that there is much more going on with Paul by exploring his theological, philosophical, and rhetorical assumptions. Paul is also known to use some pretty profane language: From comparing his former identity as skubula (literally, s—t) in Philippians 3:8 to wishing that his opponents emasculate themselves in Galatians 5:12, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of Paul’s conservative friends would be praying for his salvation! This would lead some people to ask, can such a person be an apostle?