The Apostle Paul

A man named Sha’ul was born in Tarsus (Acts 22:3) as a son of a Parush (=Pharisee, Acts 23:6, 26:5), a Roman citizen (Acts 22:25-29, 23:27) and circumcised on the eights day (Phil 3:5). He was a descendant of Abraham (2 Cor. 11:22-33), a Hebrew of Hebrews (Phil 3:5), from the tribe of Benyamin (Ro 11:1), of the people of Yisrael (Phil 3:5). He learned to be a tent maker (Acts 18:3), to speak Hebrew (Acts 21:40) and Greek (21:37). He became a Parush (Acts 23:6, 26:5), which required him to memorize the Tanakh (Old Testament) verbatim from childhood on and to follow the pharisaic traditions (Gal 1:14). Being a Parush also makes him a Jew (Acts 21:39). As a man knowing the Torah (Acts 23:3, 26:24), he also believed the Torah and the Prophets (Acts 24:14, 26:24), kept the Torah (Acts 21:4, 25:8, 26:24) faultlessly (Phil 3:6) and believed in the resurrection (Acts 24:21). He practiced the Torah by offering sacrifices (Acts 24:17), perform ceremonial purification (Acts 24:18) and keeping the feasts of the Lord (Acts 20:16). He went on to study the Scriptures under the renown Rabbi Gamli’el (Acts 22:3). Then he began to blaspheme, be arrogant and persecute the followers of Yeshua (1 Tim 1:13, Phil 3:6).

On the road to Damascus he saw in a vision (Acts 18:9) Yeshua (Acts 22:18, 23:11) and heard His voice (Acts 22:8, 26:15). There as the #1 sinner (1 Tim 1:15) he got saved and received mercy while in unbelief and not understanding (1 Tim 1:13-15). He was immersed (baptized, Acts 22:16). From Damascus Sha’ul went to Arabia for 3 years (Gal 1:17) to be commissioned by Yeshua Himself (Gal 1:1, Eph 1:1) and be taught by revelation (Gal 1:12, Eph 3:3). He became obedient to the revelation (Gal 2:2), a servant of Good News (Col 1:25), a slave to Messiah (Phil 1:1) and gave up the pharisaical status (Phil 3:10) and everything connected to it. He was taken into the third heaven (2 Cor 12:2), saw Yeshua (1 Cor 15:8) and received instruction from HIM (1 Cor 11:23).

Sha’ul returns to Yerushalayim (Gal 1:17) and begins preaching Yeshua from the Torah (Acts 26:23, 17:11, 28:23). He is given a thorn in the flesh as a messenger from Satan to remain humble (2 Cor 12:7). He becomes an emissary to the Gentiles (Gal 2:8), God’s slave entrusted to proclaim the Word (Titus 1). Sha’ul became a prisoner of Messiah (Eph 3:1). So he was put in prison because of the gospel (Philemon 13) and laid in chains (Phil 1:13, 2 Tim 2:9). He learned to be content in all situations (Phil 3:12) but wasn’t there yet (Phil 3:13). He was often rescued from persecution (2 Tim 3:11) and always supported by the Spirit of Yeshua (Phil 1:19) to where he considered death as gain (Phil 1:22). While he bore the marks of Yeshua on his body (Gal 6:17) and was sick at times (Gal 4:14-15), he worshiped with a clean conscience (2 Tim 1:3) and kneels to pray (Acts 20:36, Eph 3:14). In between he rebukes Kefa (Gal 2:11-15). After 14 years he returns to Yerushalayim again (Gal 2:1). There also he was accused of teaching against the Torah (Acts 21:21).

Sha’ul worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times he received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times he was beaten with rods, once he was pelted with stones, three times he was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, has been constantly on the move. He has been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. He has labored and toiled and has often gone without sleep; he has known hunger and thirst and has often gone without food; he has been cold and naked. Besides everything else, he faces daily the pressure of his concern for all the congregations. (2 Cor 11:22-33). He also worked for a living to not be a burden to anyone (1Thes 2:9) and preached the gospel free of charge (1 Cor 9:18).
Sha’ul did lots of miracles (2 Cor 12:12). He was often deserted but the Lord stood with him (2 Tim 4:16). When writing himself he uses large letters (Gal 6:11) maybe because of eye troubles.
He wrote his letters all in the same way with the wisdom that God gave. Therefore his letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort as they do other Scriptures to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:15-16)

As an old man (Philemon 9) he finds himself poured out at the end of life, having fought the good fight, finished the race, kept the faith and awaiting the crown (2 Tim 4:6).

Sha’ul did not do away with the law (Torah) and neither did Yeshua, because by obeying the law (Torah) we will be declared righteous – Ro 2:13.

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