1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Paul, the Apostle
PAUL, “the Apostle of the Gentiles,” the first great Christian missionary and theologian. He holds a place in the history of Christianity second only to that of the Founder himself. It was no accident that one who has been styled “the second founder of Christianity” was born and bred a Pharisee. Rather it was through personal proof of the limitations of legal Judaism that he came to distinguish so clearly between it and the Gospel of Christ, and thereby to present Christianity as the universal religion for man as man, not merely a sect of Judaism with proselytes of its own. For this, and nothing less, was the issue involved in the problem of the relation of Christianity to the Jewish Law; and it was Paul who settled it once and for all.
A modern Jew has said, “Jesus seems to expand and spiritualize Judaism; Paul in some senses turns it upside down.” The reason of this contrast is their respective attitudes to the Law as the heart of Judaism. Jesus seems never to have breathed the atmosphere of Rabbinic religion. Hence his was a purely positive reinterpretation of the spirit of Old Testament religion as a whole. His attitude to the Law was one of habitual dutifulness to its ordinances, combined with sovereign freedom towards its letter when the interests of its spirit so required (cf. F. J. A. Hort, Judaistic Christianity, chap. ii.). To this the primitive apostles and their converts in the main adhered, without seeing far into their Master’s principle in the matter; nor did they feel any great straitening of the spirit by the letter of the Mosaic, rather than the Rabbinic Law. But with Paul it was otherwise. As Saul the Pharisee he had taken the Mosaic Thorah as divine Law in the strictest sense, demanding perfect inner and outer obedience; and he had relied on it utterly for the righteousness it was held able to confer. Hence when it gave way beneath him as means of salvation—nay, plunged him ever more deeply into the Slough of Despond by bringing home his inability to be righteous by doing righteousness—he was driven to a revolutionary attitude to the Law as method of justification. “Through (the) Law” he “died unto (the) Law,” that he “might live unto God” (Gal. ii. 19). By this experience not only Pharisaic Judaism, but the legal principle in religion altogether, was turned “upside down” within his own soul; and of this fact his teaching and career as an apostle were the outcome.
But Paul had in him other elements besides the Jewish, though these lay latent till after his conversion. As a native and citizen of Tarsus, he had points of contact with Greek culture and sentiment which help to explain the sympathy and tact with which he adapted his message to the Greek. As a Roman citizen likewise, conscious of membership in a world-wide system of law and order which overrode local and racial differences, he could realize the idea of a universal religious franchise, with a law and order of its own. Both these factors in his training contributed to the moulding of Paul the missionary statesman. In his mind the conception of the Church as something catholic as the Roman Empire first took shape; and through his wonderful labours the foundations of its actual realization were firmly laid. In giving some account of this man and of his teaching, we shall expound the latter mainly as it emerges in the course of his personal career.
Method.—Paul’s own letters are our critical basis, as F. C. Baur and the Tübingen school made clear once for all. The book of Acts and other sources of information are to be used only so far as they are compatible with the letters, as our only strictly contemporary documents. If our results to-day are far more positive than those of the Tübingen critics, this is due partly to the larger number of letters now generally acknowledged as Paul’s (some eight or ten), and partly to a fuller knowledge both of Judaism and the Graeco-Roman world. These are seen to have embraced more varieties of religious thought and feeling than used to be assumed. The “particularist” tendency in Judaism was more limited than Baur supposed; while there was even a pre-Christian gnosticism, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Albrecht Ritschl in his Altkath. Kirche (2nd ed., 1857) did much to break through the hard-and-fast categories of the school in which he was trained, and in particular showed that Gentile Christians generally were far from Pauline in their modes of conceiving either Law or Gospel.
Chronology.—This has been discussed by Sir W. M. Ramsay in Pauline and Other Studies (1907), and by C. H. Turner in Hastings’s Dict. of the Bible (article “Chronology of New Test.”). Their results agree in the main for the period when precision first becomes possible, viz. between Paul’s first missionary journey and his arrival in Rome. Here Turner antedates Ramsay by a year throughout. C. Clemen, in his Paulus i. 349–410, reaches rather different results. The pivot of the whole is Festus’s succession to Felix as procurator, which Turner places in 58 and Ramsay in 59, while they agree in excluding 56 (Blass and Harnack), 57 (Bacon), 60 (Lightfoot, Zahn), as well as yet earlier and later extremes (Clemen argues for 61). On the chronology from Paul’s conversion down to the Relief visit (Acts xi. 30), c. 45–47, hardly two scholars agree; but on the whole the tendency is to put his conversion rather earlier than was formerly usual.
I. Paul’s Life.—“Saul, who is also Paul,” was “a Hebrew, of Hebrews” born, i.e. of strict Jewish origin, and of the tribe of Benjamin (Phil. iii. 5; cf. 2 Cor. xi. 22). Yet, as his double name suggests, he was not reared on Jewish soil but amid the Dispersion, at Tarsus in Cilicia, the son of a Roman citizen (Acts xxii. 28; cf. xvi. 37, xxiii. 27). “Saul,” his Jewish name, was a natural one for a Benjamite to bear, in memory of Israel’s first king. “Paul” was his name for the non-Jewish world, according to a usage seen also in John Mark, Simeon Niger, &c. Paulus was not an uncommon name in Syria and eastern Asia Minor (see the Index nominum in Boeckh’s Corp. inscr. graec.), and was a natural one for the son of a Roman citizen. Ramsey develops this point suggestively (Pauline and Other Studies, p. 65). “It is as certain that he had a Roman name and spoke the Latin language as it is that he was a Roman citizen. If, for example’s sake, we could think of him sometimes as Gaius Julius Paulus—to give him a possible and even not improbable name—how completely would our view of him be transformed. Much of what has been written about him [as a narrow, one-sided Jew] would never have been written In Tarsus. if Luke had mentioned his full name.” Nor would much of the same sort have been written, if the influences due to his Tarsian citizenship (xxi. 39), viewed in the light of the habits of Jewish life in Asian cities, had been kept in mind. Tarsus, it seems, was peculiarly successful “in producing an amalgamated society in which the Oriental and Occidental spirit in unison attained in some degree to a higher plane of thought and action” (id., The Cities of St. Paul, 89). Accordingly it is natural that Paul’s letters should bear traces of Hellenic culture up to the level of a man of liberal education. Whether he went beyond this to a first-hand study of philosophy, particularly of the Stoic type for which Tarsus as a university was famous, is open to question. In any case Paul had learnt, when he wrote his epistles, to value Greek “wisdom” at its true worth—the suggestiveness and sanity of its best thoughts, but at the same time its inadequacy to meet the deeper longings of the human spirit. Above all he felt the mental and moral shallowness of the verbal “show of wisdom” which marked current philosophical rhetoric.
Thanks to his letters, we can form some idea of the character and strength of the element in Paul’s early life due to Judaism. Looking back, he says (Phil. iii. 4–7), “If any other man thinketh to have confidence in the flesh, I yet more. Circumcised the eighth day, . . . a Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the Law, a Pharisee; as touching Jewish Training. the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. Howbeit what things were gain to me, these have I counted loss for Christ.” He came indeed to regard such inherited advantages as in themselves things of “the flesh,” natural rather than spiritual (vv. 4, 9). Yet as advantages, tending to awaken the spirit’s thirst for God, he did esteem them, seeing in them part of the preparation vouchsafed by divine providence to himself (Gal. 1, 15). Upon the “advantage of the Jew,” as “entrusted with the oracles of God” (Rom. iii. 1 seq.), he dwells in Rom. ii. 17 in a way suggestive of his own youthful attitude to “the name of a Jew.” Thus we may imagine the eager boy in Tarsus, as developing, under the instructions of a father strictly loyal to the Law, and under the teaching of the synagogue, a typical Jewish consciousness of the more serious and sensitive order.
A good deal depends on the age at which the young Saul passed from Tarsus to Jerusalem and the school of Gamaliel. If he felt his vocation as teacher of the Law at the earliest possible age, this great change may have come soon after his fifteenth year, when Rabbinic studies might begin. This would well accord with the likelihood In Jerusalem. that he never married. But in any case we must not exaggerate the contrast involved, since he came from a Pharisaic home and passed to sit at the feet of the leader of the more liberal Palestinian Rabbinism. The transition would simply accentuate the legal element in his religious life and outlook. Nor was it mere personal acceptance with God that floated before his soul as the prize of such earnestness. The end of ends was a righteous nation, worthy the fulfilment of the divine promises. But this too could come only by obedience to the Law. Thus all that the young Pharisee cared for most hung upon the Law of his fathers.
Outwardly he obtained the goal of legal blamelessness as few attained it; and for a time he may have felt a measure of self-satisfaction. But if so, a day came when the inner meaning of the Law, as extending to the sphere of desire and motive, came home to him in stern power, and his peace fled (Rom. vii. 9). For sin in his inner, real life was unsubdued; nay, it seemed to grow ever stronger, standing out more clearly and defiantly as insight into the moral life grew by means of the Law. To the Law he had been taught to look for righteousness. In his experience it proved but the means to “knowledge of sin,” without a corresponding impulse towards obedience. Not only did it make him realize the latent possibilities of evil desire (“the evil heart,” Yetzer hara), it also made him aware of a subtler evil, the reaction of self-will against the demands of the Law. While one element was in abiding harmony with the will of God, the other was in equal sympathy with “the law of sin.” Could the Law achieve the separation, making the moral person “die” to “the flesh” and so escape its sway? No, answered Saul’s experience: the Law rather adds power to sin as self-will (1 Cor. xv. 56; Rom. vii. 11, 13). Whence then is deliverance to come? It can only come with the Messianic age and through Messiah. The Law would reign inwardly as outwardly, being “written on the heart” as promised in prophecy.
So may we conceive the position reached by Saul, though
not with full consciousness, before he came into contact with
Christianity. But as yet he did not realize that
“through the Law he had died to the Law” (Gal.
ii. 19), much less the logical bearing of this fact upon
the nature and function of the Law. How then
as to Jesus. would the message, “Jesus is the Messiah,” strike such a man? It would seem a blasphemous caricature of things most sacred. It is doubtful whether he had heard Jesus Himself (2 Cor. v. 16 has perhaps another meaning). He may even have been absent from Jerusalem in the first days of apostolic preaching, possibly as a rabbi in Tarsus. But if so, his ardent nature soon brought him on the scene, in time at least to hear Stephen and take part against him (Acts vii. 58, 60). If the simple message of the first witnesses, that one whose life and preaching were largely out of harmony with the Law as Saul understood it, had in fact been raised from the dead by Israel’s God and so vindicated—to the condemnation of that generation of God’s people—if this seemed to Saul mere madness, what was he to say to Stephen’s views as to the Law and the people of the Law, both past and present? (see Stephen). Stephen could not be right in the views which still divided them. Perish the thought! Perish too all those who upheld the crucified Nazarene, the accursed of the Law! For His death could mean but one of two things. Either He was accursed of God also, or—awful alternative, yet inevitable to Saul’s logical mind—the Law relative to which He was accursed was itself set aside. Saul turned from the suggestion as too shocking to his pride alike in his people and in its divine Law, for him seriously to consider its alleged credentials—the Resurrection, and the supernatural power and goodness of Him whose claims it was held to confirm. Why stay to weigh the evidence of Galilean common folk (Am-ha-aretz), themselves lax in their observance of Thorah, when over against it stood the whole weight of immemorial prescription, and the deliberate judgment of the custodians of the Law as to this man as “a deceiver”? No doubt they were self-deceived fanatics. But the logic of the movement had at length declared itself through the mouth of Stephen, and weak toleration must be abandoned.
So Saul was driven to persecute, driven by his acute sense of the radical issue involved, and perhaps hoping to find relief from his own bitter experience in such zeal for the Law. Yet the goading of unsatisfied intuitions did not cease. We may even suspect that Stephen’s philosophy of Israel’s history had made an impression on him, Saul the Persecutor. and was undermining his confidence in the infallibility of his nation’s religious authorities. If mistaken before, why not again? This granted possible, all turned on the evidence as to the Resurrection of the crucified Prophet of Nazareth. Yet though the joyous mien of His followers, even when confronted with death, seemed to betoken a good conscience before God which could hardly fail to impress him, Saul felt the status of the Law to be too grave an issue to depend on the probabilities of human testimony. So he plunged on, in devotion to what still seemed the cause of God against impugners of His Thorah, but not without his own doubts. He was, in fact, finding it “hard to kick against the goad” (Acts xxvi. 14) plied in his deeper consciousness, as he followed his inherited and less personal beliefs. He was, in language which he later applied to his compatriots, loth to “submit himself to the righteousness of God” (Rom. x. 3), when it came in a manner humbling to his feelings. Still he was in the main honest (1 Tim. i. 13), and the hindrances to his belief were exceptional. Direct personal experience on the point on which all hinged, the alleged divine vindication of Jesus as Messiah following on the legal condemnation by the national authorities, was needful to open up a clear exit from his religious impasse.
It was at this critical point in his inner history that, as he neared Damascus on a mission of persecution, there was granted him—as he believed ever after in the face of all challenge—a vision of Jesus, in risen and glorified humanity, as objective as those to the original witnesses with which in 1 Cor. xv. he classesThe Vision at Damascus. it.
As to the sense in which this vision, so momentous in its issues, may be regarded as “objective,” the following points deserve notice. On the one hand it is generally agreed (1) that Paul distinguished this appearance of the risen Jesus from his other “visions and revelations of the Lord,” such as he refers to in 2 Cor. xii. 1 sqq., and classed it with those to the Twelve and others which first created the belief that Jesus had been “raised from the dead”; (2) that this belief included for Paul a transformed or spiritualized body (cf. the note of time, “on the third day,” and the argument in 1 Cor. xv. 12 sqq., 35 sqq.), his own vision of which seems to colour his conception of the Resurrection body generally (Phil. iii. 21, though he had certain traditional notions on the subject to start with; cf. 2 Cor. v. 1 sqq. with Apoc. Baruch, xlix.–li., representing Jewish belief about A.D. 70–100, and see Dr R. H. Charles’s ed.). On the other hand, analogies furnished by religious psychology, including a sudden vision amid light and the hearing of a voice as accompaniments of religious crisis in certain cases, affect our ability to take Saul’s consciousness in the matter as a simple transcript of objective facts. There is indeed reason to believe that the dazzling light was such a fact, if it blinded Saul temporarily (Acts ix. 8–19; and affected his companions (xxii. 9, xxvi. 14). But beyond this physical prelude to his vision we cannot go critically. Thus the nature of the connexion between the light as an objective antecedent, and the vision subjective to Saul himself, remains doubtful on the plane of history. It is possible to penetrate further only by the aid of faith, with or without speculations based on certain psychical facts more and more establishing themselves to scientific minds. Religious faith, dwelling on the unique issues of the vision in the history of Christianity and arguing from effects to a cause as real as themselves, tends to postulate the objectivity which Saul himself asserts. Some do so in an absolute sense, in spite of the differences between Saul’s experience and that of his companions (Acts ix. 7, xxii. 9). Others confine the objectivity to a divine act, producing by special action on Saul’s brain a vision not due simply to the antecedents in himself. Thus it was not merely subjective, a mere vision in the sense of hallucination, but an objective vision or genuine revelation of the real, as Paul claimed. Such an objective-subjective revelation, being in this but a special form of what is involved in any real divine revelation, accords in general with modern research as to telepathy and phantasms of distant or deceased persons. But, after all, the main point for Paul’s religious history—as well as the basis of all theories of the vision—is the question as to the degree of discontinuity between his thought before and after the event. On this Paul is clear and emphatic; nor can we here go behind the evidence of one whose writings prove him a master in introspective reflection. “There was no possibility that he should by any process of mere thinking come to realize the truth” as to Jesus, so rooted were the prejudices touching things divine which barred the way (see Ramsay, Pauline and Other Studies, p. 18).
Important as is the question as to the nature of the vision which changed Saul’s career, it is its spiritual content which bears most upon the story of his life. Jesus was, in spite of all, God’s Messiah, His Righteous One, His Son, the type and ideal of righteousness in man, through spiritual union with whom like righteousness Its Spiritual Content. was to be attained, if at all. In a flash Saul’s personal problem as to acceptance with God and victory over sin was changed. It became simply a question how spiritual union with the Messiah was to come about. He had vanquished and “condemned sin in the flesh” by His perfect obedience (Rom. viii. 3, v. 19), of which the Cross was now seen to be the crowning act. As for the Law as means of justification, it was superseded by the very fact that Messiah had realized His righteousness on another principle altogether than that of “works of the Law,” and had in consequence been crucified by its action, as one already dead to it as a dispensational principle. This meant that those united to Him by faith were themselves sharers in His death to the Law as dispensational master and judge, and so were quit of its claims in that new moral world into which they were raised as sharers also in His Resurrection (Rom. vi. 1–vii. 6). Henceforth they “lived unto God” in and through Messiah, by the self-same Spirit by which He had lived the sinless life (viii. 9).
Here we have at once Paul’s mysticism and his distinctive
gospel in germ, though the full working out in various
directions came only gradually under the stimulus
of circumstances. But already the old régime
had dissolved. His first act was to make explicit,
through confession and baptism, his submission and adhesion
“All Things New.”
to Jesus as Messiah implicit in his cry from the ground, “What
shall I do, Lord?” Thereby he formally “washed away his
sins” (Acts xxii. 16; cf. Rom. x. 9). Then with new-born
enthusiasm he began boldly to proclaim in the synagogues
of Damascus that Jesus, whose followers he had come to root
out, was verily the Messianic Son of God (ix. 20; cf. Matt. xvi. 16).
Yet ere long he himself felt the need for quiet in which to think
out the theory of his new position. He withdrew to some
secluded spot in the region south of Damascus, then vaguely
called Arabia (Gal. i. 17). Chief among the problems pressing
The New Theory
of the Law. for reinterpretation in the light of his recent experience was the place of the Law in God’s counsels. While the Law could condemn, warn and in some degrees restrain the sinner from overt sins, it could not redeem or save him from the love of sin. In a word, it could not “give life” (Gal. iii. 21). Hence its direct remedial action was quite secondary. Its primary effect, and therefore divine purpose, was to drive men humbly to seek God’s grace. It “shut up all unto (realized) disobedience, that God might have mercy upon all” (Rom. xi. 32; Gal. iii. 22). Thus the place of the Law in God’s counsels was episodic. The radical egoism of the natural man could be transcended, and self-glorying excluded, not by the law, with its “law (principle) of works,” but by the “law of faith” (Rom. iii. 27). In fine, the function of the Law was secondary, preparatory, temporary. The reign of the Law closed when its work in shutting up men to faith in Christ—the perfect form of faith, that of conscious sonship—was accomplished. It had a high place of honour as a dispensation for a limited end and time; but its day was over when Jesus accepted crucifixion at its hands, and so passed on as the inaugurator of a new dispensation marked by a final relation between man and God, the filial, the Spirit of which was already in the hearts of all Christian believers (Gal. iii. 23–iv. 7). Thus the Cross of Jesus was the satisfaction of the claims of Law as a dispensation or divinely sanctioned method, which had to be honoured even in the act of being transcended, “that God might be just (i.e. dispensationally consistent), while justifying the believer in Jesus” on a fresh basis (Rom. iii. 26). Such a view did but “establish the Law” (v. 31) within its own proper sphere, while pointing beyond it to one in which its final aim found fulfilment.
Here lay the revolutionary element in Paul’s thought in relation to Judaism, turning the latter “upside down” and marking his gospel off from the form in which Judaeo-Christians had hitherto apprehended the salvation in Jesus the Christ. It was the result of profound insight, and, historically, it saved Christianity from being a Its Universal Value. mere Jewish sect. But as it was conditioned by recoil from an overdriven use of the Law in the circles in which Saul was trained, so there was something one-sided in its emphasis on the pathological workings of the Law upon human nature in virtue of sinful egoism. Saul was the pioneer who secured mankind for ever against bondage to religious legalism. He it was who first detected that specific virus generated by Law in the “natural man,” and also discovered the sovereign antidote provided in Christ. Nor is it as though Paul, even in those apologetic writings which present his antitheses to Law in the sharpest form, had the Jewish Thorah exclusively in view. He deals with it rather as the classic type of law in religion: it is really law qua law, even the unwritten law in conscience, as determining man’s relations to God, that he has in mind in his psychological criticism of its tendencies in the human soul (see Sanday and Headlam, on Rom. ii. 12 seq.): “Nitimur in vetitum cupimusque negata.” This is too often overlooked by his Jewish critics. Paul felt nothing but reverence for the Thorah in what he took to be its proper place, as secondary to faith and subordinate to Christ. In short, Paul first perceived and set forth the principle of inspiration to God-likeness by a personal ideal in place of obedience to an impersonal Law, as condition of salvation. The former includes the latter, while safeguarding the filial quality of religious obedience.
The above seems to meet part of the criticism directed by modern Jews against Paul’s theory of the Law. Other criticisms (cf. C. G. Montefiore, Jewish Quarterly Review, vi. 428–474, xiii. 161–217) may just be noted. If Paul supports his theory by bad Scripture exegesis, that is a common Rabbinic failing. If it be said that it is monstrous to hold that God gave the Law mainly for another end than the ostensible one, viz. to lead to life by obedience, this holds so far; but one cannot exclude from the divine purpose the negative effect, viz. promotion of self-knowledge in sinful man and the breaking down of his self-confidence, conditions essential to a mature filial relation between man and God. Nor did Paul deny the positive or directly beneficent, though limited, function of the Law, so far as it was viewed in the light of the grace of God, as by prophets, psalmists, and others who “walked humbly with God,” not as meriting His approval as of right by “works of law.” But, objects the modern Jew, the notion of Rabbinic Judaism as generally tainted by “legalism” in any such sense, is a mere figment of Paul’s. Nevertheless it is unproven and improbable that Paul unfairly represents the prevailing tendency in the Pharisaic Judaism of his own day as “legalistic” in the bad sense. He is really the one extant witness upon the point, as just defined, if we except certain apocalyptic writings (whose evidence modern Jews are anxious to discount), like the Apocalypse of Baruch and 4 Ezra, the latter of which suggests that already the humbling effect of the capture of Jerusalem was being felt. Finally the same liberal Jew who complains that Paul turns Judaism “upside down” by his doctrine of the Law, cites with approval his words, “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek,” and adds, “Not till St Paul had written did the prophetic universalism attain its goal.” Surely there is a vital connexion between these two things. “Universalism” was the true issue of the higher tendency in Hebraism, as seen in certain of Israel’s prophets. But it was attained only through Jesus of Nazareth; and historically the main link between His supra-legal universalism and its actual outcome in the Christian Church was the ex-Pharisee Saul, with his anti-legal gospel.
Saul’s conversion left Jesus the Christ as central to his new world as the Law had been to his old. All was summed up in Christ, and Him crucified. This was to him the essence of Christianity as distinct from Judaism. As, to the Jew, life was lived under the Law or in it as native element, so the Christian life was “in Christ” as The Christ of Paul. element and law of being. Christ simply replaced the Law as form and medium of relations between God and man. In this Paul went far beyond the older apostles, whose simpler attitude to the Law had never suggested the problem of its dispensational relation to Messiah, though in fact they relied on Messiah alone for justification before God. The logic of this, as Paul later urged it on Peter of Antioch (Gal. ii. 15 sqq.), they did not yet perceive. To him it was clear from the first. But the contrast goes farther. The very form in which Jesus was known to Saul by direct experience, namely, as a spiritual being, in a body already glorified in virtue of a regnant “spirit of holiness”—revealed by the Resurrection as the essence of His personality (Rom. i. 4)—determined all his thought about Him. To this even Jesus’ earthly life, real as it was, was subordinate. Paul was not indifferent to Jesus’ words and deeds, as helping to bring home in detail the spirit of Him who by resurrection was revealed as the Son of God; but apart from insight into His redemptive work, knowledge of these things was of little religious moment. The extent of Paul’s knowledge of the historical Jesus has been much debated. Few think that he had seen Jesus in the flesh; some even deny that he knew or cared for more than the bare facts to which he alludes in his epistles—the Davidic birth, the institution of the Supper, the Death and Resurrection. But beyond his express appeals to precepts of “the Lord” in 1 Cor. vii. 10, ix. 14 (cf. Rom. xii. 14), he “shows a marked insight into the character of Jesus as it is described in the Gospels” (see 2 Cor. x. 1; cf. Phil. ii. 5–8). The sources of such knowledge were no doubt oral, e.g. Peter (Gal. i. 18), Barnabas, Mark, as well as collections of Jesus’ words, along with connected incidents in His life, used in catechesis. Thus Saul’s attitude to Jesus was fixed by his own experience. The His Theology Rooted in Experience. varied theoretic expressions found in his writings as to Christ’s relations to God, to mankind, and even to the universe, were to him but corollaries of this. The most persistent element in his conception of Christ’s person, viz. as a heavenly being, who, though God’s Son, voluntarily humbled Himself and suffered in fulfilment of God’s will, and had in consequence been exalted to fresh glory, took its start from his own personal experience, although it included the speculative postulate of pre-existence in terms of some current Messianic form of thought. Paul’s theory expressed the deeper sense of the all-inclusive significance of Christ, in keeping with his own experience. Hence, too, all his distinctive thoughts on religion, sometimes called “Paulinism” (see below), were both experimental in origin and capable of statement in terms of his Christ. To him the Death and Resurrection of Christ were not isolated facts, nor yet abstractions. To this man of faith the crucial fact of Christ’s Resurrection, in full spiritual humanity, had been brought within his own experience; so that here, and not in any second-hand facts touching Christ’s earthly career, lay the real and verified basis of the whole Christian life. This makes his gospel so individual, and at the same time so universal—for those at least who at all share his religious experience.
It is unlikely that Saul began straightway to preach all his ideas or even those most prominent in his epistles, which belong only to some ten years at the end of a ministry of some thirty. In particular his special mission to the Gentiles dawned on him only gradually. No doubt as he looked back in writing Gal. i. 15 seq., he felt His Early Apostolate. that the final purpose of God in “revealing His Son in him” had been that he “might preach Him among the Gentiles.” But this does not prove that he saw it all at once as involved in “the heavenly vision.” For one thing the contracted horizon afforded by the hope of a speedy second Advent (Parousia) would limit his outlook materially. Then too he was intensely Jewish in feeling; and the probability is that he would begin to declare salvation through Christ alone, apart from “works of the Law,” to his compatriots. Only bitter experience convinced him (Rom. ix. 1 sqq., x. 1 sqq.) that the Jews as a people did not share his experience as to the Law, and spurned their proffered birthright in Messiah.
Saul began his preaching in the synagogues of Damascus, and made a deep impression, especially, we may suppose, after his return from Arabia (Acts ix. 22; Gal. i. 17). But finally his Jewish opponents planned to do away with him, by the connivance of the ethnarch of King Aretas (cf. 2 Cor. xi. 32 seq.). Then came his first visit to Jerusalem since his conversion, in the third year from that event, for the purpose of making the personal acquaintance of Peter (Gal. i. 18), presumably to hear first-hand about Jesus’ earthly ministry and teaching, as well as to make the leading apostle directly acquainted with his own remarkable conversion and mission. It was natural that Barnabas should help to break through the suspicion with which the arch-persecutor was at first regarded; also that such preaching as Saul did in Jerusalem should be directed to the Hellenists, e.g. his Cilician compatriots (ix. 29; cf. vi. 9). This led to his having to leave suddenly, apparently after a vision in the Temple which brought him fresh light as to the scope of his future ministry. During the ten or eleven years at least “in the regions of Syria and Cilicia” which ensued, it was still primarily to the Jews that he preached; for the news of him which reached “the churches of Judaea” from time to time (ἀκούοντες ἦσαν) was such that they “kept glorifying God” in him (Gal. i. 21–23), as they certainly would not have done had he all along addressed himself largely to Gentiles. His preaching, that is, was for the most part confined to the synagogue and its adherents of non-Jewish origin, whether circumcised or not. Of Saul’s actual history, however, during these obscure years we gain only rare glimpses, the first and most important being in connexion with the foundation at Antioch of a mixed Church of Jews and Gentiles. Whatever may have been the first beginnings of this new departure (a question which depends on the alternative readings “Hellenists” and “Greeks” in Acts xi. 20), a situation soon arose which Barnabas, who had been sent from Jerusalem to supervise the work begun by certain Hellenist preachers, felt to call for Saul’s co-operation. He sought him out in Tarsus; and “for a whole year” the two enjoyed the hospitality of the Antiochene Church and instructed numerous converts—including not a few uncircumcised Gentiles. It is not clear how far Saul continued to reside in Antioch after his first “whole year” of continuous work as colleague of His Apostolate Expands. Barnabas. It no doubt remained his headquarters. But we may imagine him evangelizing also in the region between Antioch and Tarsus (Gal. i. 21; cf. Acts xv. 23, 41). Whilst so engaged, whether at Antioch or elsewhere, he seems to have attained quite a fresh sense of the degree to which Gentiles were destined to form an integral part of that “Israel of God” which was being gathered through faith in Jesus as the Christ (cf. the name “Christians,” Acts xi. 26). Writing about summer A.D. 56, he speaks of having had an overpowering revelation some thirteen years previously (2 Cor. xii. 2–4), that is, about 42–43, the very period now in question. He says nothing, it is true, as to its theme; but it can hardly have been unconnected with his central preoccupation, the scope of the Church, as set forth later in Eph. ii. 11, iii. 13.
Saul’s relations with the Jerusalem community between his coming to Antioch and his final relinquishing of it as his headquarters about A.D. 50 (a period of some ten years), form a crucial point in his missionary life. The extreme Tübingen theory that Saul was now, and even later, in sharp conflict with the leaders in Judaea, is a thing of the past. But many problems remain, and what follows is offered only on its own merits, as seeming best to unify the relevant data in the light of all we know of Paul as a man and a missionary. Points of divergence from current views will be indicated as far as possible.
Such a new revelation would naturally lead to more definite
efforts to win Gentiles as such, and this again to his second
visit to Jerusalem, some eleven years after his
former visit (or rather more than thirteen, if the
interval in Gal. ii. 1 be reckoned from that visit
and not from his conversion). He would come to
to Jerusalem. feel the need of a clear understanding with Jerusalem touching his gospel, “lest perchance he should run in vain or have already so run” (ii. 2). Saul was not the man to wait for a foreseen evil to develop. “In accordance with a revelation” he induced Barnabas to accompany him to a private conference with the leaders in Jerusalem, to lay before them his gospel (ii. 2). The date of this was c. 43–45. His aim was to confer solely with leaders (contrast Acts xv. 4, 12) like James and Cephas and John, the “pillars” of the Jerusalem community. But certain persons who showed such a spirit as to make him describe them as “pseudo-brethren,” managed to be present and demanded the circumcision of Titus, a Greek whom Saul had taken with him. In this demand he saw a blow at the heart of his gospel for Gentiles, and would not give way. The “pillars” themselves, too, felt that his distinctive mission was bound up with Gentile freedom from obligation to the Mosaic Law as such. They recognized Saul and Barnabas, as entrusted with a specific Gentile mission, parallel with their own to Jews. Only, as pledge that the two should not diverge but remain sister branches of Messiah’s Ecclesia, until He should return and remove all anomalies, they asked that the Gentile mission should prove the genuineness of its piety by making it a habit to “remember the poor.” Here was a proviso which Saul was as eager as they could be to get carried out; and this he was able to prove ere long in the special form of relief to the poor in Judaea, which he and Barnabas fitly administered in person (Acts xi. 30, xii. 25). This relief visit took place about 45–46. Having now reached an understanding with the leaders in Jerusalem as to his mission to the Gentiles Saul felt The Field Broadens. anxious to break fresh ground, and probably broached the subject to the local leaders. As they waited on God for guidance, the Spirit through one of the “prophets” directed that Barnabas and Saul be set apart for such an enterprise; and this was done in solemn form (xiii. 1–3). Naturally Barnabas thought of his native Cyprus; and thither they sailed, about spring A.D. 47, with Mark (q.v.) as their assistant. That they had at least one other companion is probable not only from the phrase “Paul and his company” (xiii. 13), but also from the traces of eyewitness in the narrative of Acts (see Luke). Their work lay at first in synagogues. But at Paphos an unparalleled event occurred, to which due prominence is given. The Roman proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man whose wide religious interest showed itself in having about his person a Jewish “prophet” with magical pretensions, sent for the new preachers. Barjesus, the magus or wizard (as his surname, Elymas, probably denotes), opposed the rivals to his patron’s attention; and this brought Saul decisively to the front. His fitness for his part, as no mere Jew but in a sense Roman facing Roman, is indicated by the pointed description, “Saul, who is also Paulus.” His intervention procured the confusion of the magus and the conversion of the proconsul. This incident—so significant of the future in many ways—marked the beginning of a new prominence of Paul in the conduct of the mission (cf. “Paul and his company”). Further, on leaving Cyprus the mission entered the region where Paul, not Barnabas, was most at home. At Perga in Pamphylia a fresh decision was reached as to the route now to be taken, and this led to Mark’s withdrawing altogether (see Mark).
It does not seem that the personal factor weighed most with Mark; rather it was the nature of “the work” itself (xv. 38). Perhaps it had been tacitly assumed that the mission would not cross the Taurus range to the different world beyond, but keep to the coast-lands south of that great natural barrier, which were in close relation with Antioch and Syria generally. Accordingly, when Paul at last outlined the larger scheme, which had perhaps lain in principle in his own mind all along, Mark recoiled from its boldness. The natural thing indeed was to evangelize in Pamphylia, a country in close relations with Cilicia and Syria. Why then did Paul insist on pushing inland straight for the Taurus range and the high table-land some 3600 ft. above sea-level? Not to evangelize Pisidian Antioch, and the other cities in the south of Roman Galatia lying to the east of it; for Paul himself says that his preaching there was due to sickness (Gal. iv. 13), seemingly when on his way to other fields. These would be in the first instance certain cities in the south-east of the Roman province of “Asia,” where Jews abounded and had a large Gentile following. Had the great cities of western Asia, and particularly Ephesus (cf. xvi. 6), been his primary aim, he would have taken the easier and more direct route running west-north-west through Laodicea. Sir W. M. Ramsay thinks that Paul sought the Galatian highlands on purpose to get rid of malarial fever, contracted in the lowlands of Pamphylia. But Mark would hardly have left under these conditions. It seems better to suppose that it was only on the arduous journey to Antioch, amid “perils of rivers, perils of robbers,” or even after his arrival there, that the malaria (if such it was) so developed as to reduce Paul to the pitiable state, as of one smitten by the wrath of some deity, in which he preached to the Galatians in the first instance (Gal. iv. 13 seq.).
It was in the late summer or autumn of A.D. 46 or 47 that Paul arrived in the Pisidian Antioch, a considerable Roman colony. Its population was typical of the Graeco-Oriental part of the empire. It included the native Anatolian, the Greek, and the Jewish elements, so frequently found together in Asia Minor since the days of the South Galatia. Seleucid kings of the Hellenistic period, who used Jews as colonists attached to their cause. The Anatolian ground-stock had marked affinity with the Semitic peoples, though it was Hellenized in speech and education. It is in this light that we must view the enthusiasm with which Paul’s gospel was received (xiii. 44 sqq.; Gal. iv. 14 seq.), and which marked an epoch in his ministry to the Gentiles. It was here and now that he uttered the memorable exclamation: “It was necessary that the word of God should first be spoken to you: seeing ye thrust it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles” (xiii. 46). Yet even so he did not here and now give up all hope that the Jews of the Dispersion with their more liberal conception of Judaism, might be won over to a spiritual rather than a national fulfilment of “the promise made to the fathers” by “the voices of the prophets” (xiii. 26–28, 32 seq., 38 seq.). Primarily this “turning to the Gentiles” had for Paul only a local meaning, as he continued to begin in each city with the synagogue. But the emphasis laid on the incident in Acts shows that to one looking back it had a more far-reaching meaning, since, henceforth Paul’s work was in fact to lie mainly among Gentiles.
Paul’s experiences were much the same at Iconium, whither he and Barnabas betook themselves when expelled from Antiochene territory (probably after being scourged by the lictors, 2 Cor. xi. 25). There, too, Jews were at the bottom of the tumult raised against the missionaries (“apostles,” xiv. 4, 14), which forced them to flee into the Lycaonian regio of the province. In this district, marked by the native pre-Greek village system, they made Lystra and Derbe successively their headquarters. In the former occurred the healing of the lame man at the word of Paul (cf. Rom. xv. 9; 2 Cor. xii. 12; Gal. iii. 5), with its sequel in the naive worship offered to the strangers as gods manifest in human form. The story, told in a few graphic touches, sets before us Paul as the tactful missionary, meeting the needs of the simple Lycaonians with an elementary natural theology. Again his work was disturbed by Jews, this time his old foes from Antioch and Iconium, and he barely escaped death—one of those “deaths oft” to which he refers in 2 Cor. xi. 23, a passage which shows how far Acts is from exhausting the tale of Paul’s hardships and dangers, either in Galatia or elsewhere (with xiv. 1 cf. 2 Tim. iii. 11). At Derbe, the frontier city of Galatia to the south-east, Paul was within easy reach of Tarsus, his old home. But the needs of his young converts drew him back to face fresh dangers in Lystra, Iconium and Antioch (where, however, new magistrates were now in office), in order to encourage “the disciples.” To give them the support of responsible oversight, the apostles procured the election of “elders” in each church, probably on the model of the synagogue: for Paul had a due sense of the corporate life of each local brotherhood (Rom. xii. 4 seq.), and of the value of recognized leaders and pastors (1 Thess. v. 12 seq.; 1 Cor. xvi. 15 seq.; cf. Acts xx. 17, 28). Then, passing through Pamphylia they returned to Antioch, and reported to a church meeting “all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith unto the Gentiles.”
So ended Paul’s first missionary journey known to us in detail, the very first wherein his vocation as apostle of the Gentiles took marked effect. So far Gentile believers had been a mere minority, not essentially affecting the Jewish character and atmosphere of the Messianic Ecclesia, any more than the presence of proselytes was thought The New Issue Raised. to affect Judaism even outside Palestine. But all this was menaced by the work accomplished, apparently under divine auspices, in Galatia. There uncircumcised Gentiles formed the majority of the heirs to Messianic salvation; and if expansion continued on these lines, the like would be true of the new Israel as a whole. Nay, a definite check to Jewish conversions would result from the prejudice created by a large influx of men not committed to the Law by their baptism into Christ. Now that the logic of facts was unfolding so as to jeopardize the Law in toto, it could not but appear to many Jewish Christians time to reconsider the situation, and boldly deny the reality of any Gentile’s portion in Messianic salvation apart from circumcision (as binding to observance of the Law). So argued the stricter section, those with Pharisaic antecedents, who boldly invaded the headquarters of the liberal mission at Antioch, and began to teach the Gentile converts that circumcision and the Law were matters of life and death to them. Paul and Barnabas took up the gage; and as the judaizers no doubt claimed that they had the Judaean Church at their back, the local church felt that the issue would have to be decided in Jerusalem itself. So they sent up Paul and Barnabas “and certain others of their number” (Acts xv. 2; contrast Gal. ii. 1 seq.) to confer with “the apostles and elders” there. The fact that Paul consented to go at all, to the seeming prejudice of his direct divine commission, is best explained by his prior understanding with “the Pillars” of the Judaean Church itself (Gal. ii. 1–10). His object was twofold: to secure in the centre of Judaeo-Christianity that public vindication of Gentile freedom from “the yoke of the Law” on which he felt he could count, and at the same time to save the Church of Christ from outward schism.
On the main issue there could be no compromise. It was conceded, largely through the influence of Peter and James, that the good pleasure of the Holy Spirit (xv. 28a), in possessing Gentile hearts, settled the question. But as to the need of considering age-long Jewish sentiment on points where divergent practice would tend to prevent Jewish Christians from recognizing Gentile believers as brethren, as well as place a needless stumbling-block between Jews and a Messianic society in which unlimited “uncleanness” was tolerated—on this compromise was possible. The compromise was proposed by James (xv. 20 seq.) and accepted by Paul. Indeed he had less to sacrifice than the other side in the concordat. For his Gentile converts had only to limit their freedom a little, in the cause of considerate love; but their Jewish brethren had to surrender a long-standing superiority conferred by divinely instituted national law. For while the law of Moses was still observed by Jewish Christians, in the case of Gentile proselytes to Messianic Judaism it was to be waived, and a minimum of proselyte rules, indispensable (xv. 28) to a type of piety essentially common to all “in Christ,” taken as sufficient. Of the “abstinences” in question only that touching blood (in its two forms) was really a ritual matter, and it was one on which there was a good deal of scruple outside Judaism. The other two were obvious deductions from fundamental Christian ideas, as well as elements of proselyte piety. On the other hand, security against Gentile liberty undermining Jewish-Christian observance of the Law was felt to exist in the firmly rooted tradition of the synagogues of the Diaspora (xv. 21).
The above is only one reading of the case, though the simplest. Not a few scholars dispute that Paul could have been a party to such a concordat at all, and suppose that the letter embodying it is a fiction, probably composed by the author of Acts. Others hold that, if any such letter were ever sent, it was by James and the Jerusalem Church at a later date, without consulting Paul. In fact it was their solution of the deadlock to which interference with Peter’s table-fellowship with Gentiles led in Antioch after the Jerusalem conference; but the author of Acts unhistorically fused it with the decision of that conference. Finally Harnack (Die Apostelgeschichte, 1908, pp. 188 sqq.) maintains that the reference to “things strangled” is an interpolation, not shared by early Western authorities for the text, and that “blood” meant originally homicide. Hence the rules had no reference to food apart from constructive idolatry. This theory—which does not remove the contradiction with Gal. ii. 10, on the assumption that Acts. xv.＝Gal. ii. 1–10—seems at once textually improbable (feeling in the East being too anti-Jewish in the sub-apostolic age to allow of such an interpolation) and historically needless.
At no point in his career does Paul’s greatness appear more strikingly than now in his relations with Judaeo-Christianity. Equally above the doctrinaire temper which cannot see its favourite principle practically limited by others, and a mere opportunism which snatches at any compromise as the line of least resistance, he acted as a true missionary statesman, Paul’s Conciliatory Spirit. with his eye both on the larger future and on the limiting present. As he himself obeyed the principle of loving concern for others’ good by conforming to certain Jewish forms of piety (1 Cor. ix. 19 seq., 22), as being a Jew by training; so he was ready to enjoin on Gentiles, short of the point of compulsion, abstinence from blood simply as a thing abhorrent to Jewish sentiment. His was the spirit of a strong man, who can afford and loves to be generous for the greater good of all. This is the key to his conduct all along, leading him to interrupt his work on two later occasions simply to keep in touch with Jerusalem by conciliatory visits, as prejudice against him recurred owing to rumours of his free conduct on his Gentile missions.
On the other hand, it was the opposite side of his character, viz. inflexible courage in defence of vital principle, that was called into action soon after, owing to Peter’s visit to Antioch (the abrupt reference to which in Gal. ii. 11 probably means that the judaizers were making capital of it in Galatia). There for a time Peter fell in Peter’s Visit to Antioch. readily with the local custom whereby Jewish and Gentile Christians ate together. But this was more than was understood even by James to be involved in alliance of the two missions. It was one thing not to force Judaism on Gentile Christians; it was another to sanction table-fellowship between Gentile and Jewish Christians, in consideration for the former as brethren. Let Peter, said James through his friends, remember Judaean feelings as well. Such a step was in advance of their convictions; and in any case it seemed wrong to break with the sentiment of the Mother Church in Judaea for the comfort of Gentile brethren on the spot, whom they had but recently regarded as by nature “unclean.”
One man, however, saw further into both the logic and the expediency of the case. Paul saw that by their very reliance on Christ rather than the Law for justification, Jewish Christians had in principle set aside the Law as the divinely appointed means of righteousness: that thereby they had virtually come down from their prerogative Paul’s Protest. standing on the Law and classed themselves with “sinners of the Gentiles”; and finally that they had been led into this by Jesus the Messiah Himself. If that attitude were sinful “then was Christ the minister of sin.” If righteousness depend after all on the Law, then why did Christ die? This penetrating analysis (Gal. ii. 14–21) of the implications of Christian faith was unanswerable as regards any legal observance as condition of justification. But was it not possible that the degree of sanctification to be hoped for depended, for Jews at least, upon adhering as closely as possible to the old law of holiness? This was probably the position of Peter and Barnabas and the rest, as it was certainly the theory with which the judaizers “bewitched” the Galatian converts for whose benefit Paul recounts the story (iii. 1–3). But for it too he had an answer, in his doctrine of an evangelical sanctification, homogeneous in nature and motives with the justification out of which it grows, as fruit from root (iii. 5, v. 16–26). But at Antioch he confined his protest to the vital matter of principle, the true relation of Christ and the Law, and the deadly danger of confusing their values and functions if both were to be treated as essential to Christian faith. Thus a higher expediency, for Jews in particular, told against the expediency alleged on the other side; while as for expediency in relation to the Gentiles, it was a matter not only of Antioch and the Jews and Gentiles there involved, but also of the Roman world and the relative numbers of potential converts from either class in it. This point is not made explicit in Gal. ii. 14 sqq.; but it was probably present to Paul’s mind and added to the intensity of his feeling touching the gravity of the issue.
The standpoint of the Epistle to the Galatians is of great moment in judging of its historical retrospect. What Paul had to establish in the first instance was his independence up to the date of his evangelization of the Galatians, which God had obviously blessed (iii. 2, 5). It is therefore natural to regard all related in chapters i.-ii., including his rebuke of Peter, as prior to that cardinal fact. Next the logic of the case, as well as his explicit words in i. 22 sqq., rules out any visit to Jerusalem, including the relief visit to Judaea of Acts xi. 30, xii. 25, between his first visit and that of Gal. ii. 1 sqq. (this tells against the common view that Gal. ii. 1 sqq. = Acts xv.). Finally the reason why no explicit reference is made to the visit of Acts xv. is that it was already familiar to his readers from his own account of it on his second and recent visit to them (Acts xvi. 4–6), and was in fact the starting-point of the judaizers’ case. As regards the “Galatians” addressed in this epistle, we assume with the majority of scholars, since Sir W. M. Ramsay’s writings on the subject, that they were those evangelized in Acts xiii., xiv., not in xvi. 6. According to the above reading of this epistle it was written in the winter of Paul’s first journey to Europe, c. 51–52, say in Corinth (so Rendall, Zahn, Bacon), which would explain not only the “so quickly” of i. 6., but also his inability to hasten to their side (iv. 20). This last condition seems to exclude as place of writing both Antioch on the eve of the second (McGiffert) or third (Ramsay) missionary journey, and Ephesus during Paul’s long sojourn there. The one seeming alternative, viz. Antioch on the eve of the conference in Acts xv. (so V. Weber), is preferable only on the assumption that the epistle excludes all knowledge of this event (as the present writer formerly held).
Not long after this episode Paul proposed to Barnabas a visitation of the churches they had jointly founded. But Barnabas, perhaps feeling more than before the difference in their attitudes to the Law, made the reinstatement of John Mark as their helper a condition of co-operation. To this Paul demurred Paul’s Second Great Mission Tour. on the ground that he could not be relied upon in all emergencies; and the feeling caused by this difference as to Mark’s fitness was sufficient to cause Paul and Barnabas to take separate lines. Each went to his own sphere of work, Barnabas to Cyprus and Paul towards Asia Minor, and we never again read of them as together, though Paul continued to refer to his old colleague in kindly terms (1 Cor. ix. 6 and Col. iv. 10). Paul found a colleague in Silas (Silvanus), a “leading” man in the Jerusalem church and a “prophet,” but like himself a Roman citizen (Acts xvi. 37, 39); and started, with the goodwill of the Antiochene Church, probably in summer A.D. 50. His way lay through churches of his own foundation, in one of which he found a helper to replace Mark, Timothy of Lystra, who was to be as a son to him up to the very end. Confident in the conciliatory spirit of both sides in the Concordat, and anxious to show how ready he was to consider Jewish feeling where Gentile freedom was not involved, he circumcised this young semi- Jew before taking him as his associate into regions where work would still lie largely among Jews. In a similar spirit he also commended “the resolutions” of the Concordat to the observance of his churches in Galatia, though the circular letter of the conference did not make it apply to more than those of the Syro-Cilician region.
But while the immediate result of this visit was good, the
secondary issues were among the bitterest in Paul’s life,
owing to the unscrupulous action of judaizers
who, taking advantage of his absence, soon began
a vigorous, but subtle, propaganda amongst his
converts in this region. They represented Paul as having
South Galatia. changed his policy in deference to the Jerusalem authorities, to the extent of allowing that the Law had some claim upon Gentile believers in the Jewish Messiah. Otherwise why were the “abstinences” enjoined? Nay, more: these had been put forward as a bare minimum of what was expedient, to judge from the practice of those same Judaean authorities. But if so, surely it must at least be necessary to full Christian piety (Gal. iii. 3; cf. Peter’s conduct at Antioch), though not perhaps to a bare place in the coming kingdom. Had not Paul himself confessed the value of circumcision (v. 11) in the case of Timothy, the son of a Gentile father? As for his earlier policy, it must have been due simply to a wish to humour his converts’ prejudices (i. 10), to begin with. At any rate the gospel they now brought was the authentic Apostolic Gospel, and if Paul’s did differ from it, so much the worse for his gospel, since it could in no case claim to be other than derived from theirs (i. 1–9, 11 seq.). How plausible must such a plea have seemed to inexperienced Gentile converts, “bewitching” their minds away from the central facts, Christ crucified and the free gift of the spirit through faith in Him. But how disingenuous as regards Paul’s real position! Can we wonder at his indignation as he wrote in reply, and that he was goaded on to pass, in his final peroration, a counter-judgment upon their motives too sweepingly severe (vi. 12 seq.)? In any case the gross abuse by the judaizers of Paul’s promulgation of the “abstinences” in Galatia fully explains his contrary practice elsewhere.
Paul left his Galatian converts about autumn A.D. 50, bound for the adjacent Asia. But not even yet was he to preach there, being diverted by something in which he saw the divine hand. Such as when, on his way northwards through the Phrygian region of Galatia, he tried to enter Bithynia (where also were cities with a large Jewish element), he was again turned aside by “the Spirit of Jesus” (? a vision in the form of Jesus, xvi. 7, cf. xviii. 9, xxii. 17). Thus his course seemed open only westwards through Mysia (northern “Asia”) to the coast, which was reached at Troas, the chief port in the north-west Aegean for intercourse between Asia and Macedonia. These were but sister provinces, united by the easy pathway of the sea. Yet in sentiment and in conditions of work it was a new departure to which Paul found himself summoned, when in a night-vision “a certain Macedonian” stood as if entreating him: “Come over into Macedonia and help us.” Here was the positive guidance to which two negative divine interventions had been leading up. Paul hesitated not a moment, though the idea was bolder than that of his own frustrated plan. “Straightway,” in the words of Luke, “we sought to go forth into 'Macedonia, concluding that God had called us for to preach the Gospel unto them” (xvi. 10). So, at this crucial point in Paul’s mission to the Gentiles, Luke seems to preserve the thrill of emotion which passed from the leader to his companions, by breaking out into the first person plural (see Acts, for the psychological rather than literary reason of this “we,” here and later).
The new mission began at Philippi, a Roman colonia. Here the Jewish settlement, in which as usual Paul sought first to gain a footing, was a small one, consisting in the main of women who enjoyed much freedom in Macedonian society. But the normal extension of his work was cut short by an incident characteristic both of the age and of the way in which the fortunes of the Gospel were affected by the vested interests around it. The story of Paul’s imprisonment, with the light it casts on his quiet mastery of any situation, is familiar in its vivid detail.
After being thus “shamefully treated” in Philippi (1 Thess. ii. 2), Paul passed on rapidly to Thessalonica, the real capital of the province and an admirable centre of influence (cf. 1 Thess. i. 8). In this great seaport there was at least one synagogue; and for three weeks he there discussed from the scriptures the cardinal points in his message (cf. 1 Cor. xv. 3 seq.), “that it behoved the Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead,” and that accordingly “this Jesus . . . is the Christ” (xvii. 2 seq.). Some Jews believed, “and of the Godfearing Greeks” (semi-proselytes) a large number, including not a few of the leading women. There was also successful work among those who turned directly “from idols, to serve a God living and real” (1 Thess. i. 9). This must have occupied several weeks beyond those specified above (cf. 1 Thess. i.-ii.; and the material help received more than once from Philippi, Phil. iv. 16).
But Jewish jealousy was aroused particularly by the loss of their converts; and at length in alliance with the rabble of the market place, it was able once more to cut short the preachers' work among the Gentiles. The charge made against them had a serious ring, since it involved not only danger to public order but treason against the emperor (laesa majestas). Thus at Thessalonica Paul had experience of the imperial system as Confronting the Imperial Cult. rival to his gospel of the sovereignty of God and of His Christ, the true king of humanity. Yet it is doubtful if he was thinking of this when he wrote to his converts touching “the mystery of lawlessness,” working towards its final conflict with the divine principle also at work in the world. He seems in the whole passage (2 Thess. ii. 3–12) to view the empire in its positive aspect as a system of law and order rather than in its idolatry of its official head, the incarnation of worldly success and power; and he alludes to both emperor and empire (6 seq.) as the force at present restraining “the mystery of lawlessness” (ἀνομία). This phrase itself suggests something more abnormal than the world-principle latent in paganism, such as “the apostasy” of God’s own people, the Jewish nation, as once before under Antiochus Epiphanes the prototype of “the man of lawlessness” seated in “the temple of God” (v. 4), of whom the late emperor Caligula might well seem a forerunner. Even so monstrous an issue of Jewish refusal of God’s truth, in His Messiah, would be but the climax of so unhallowed an alliance as that which existed at Thessalonica between Jewish unbelief and paganism, seeing that the former was using the very Messianic idea itself to stir up the latter against the followers of Jesus (Acts xvii. 7; cf. 1 Thess. ii. 15 seq.). Paul and Silas withdrew by night, and began work in Beroea, a small city of Thessaly, in the hope of returning when excitement had subsided. But Jewish intriguers from Thessalonica stirred up the populace with the old charges, and Paul, as the prime actor, was forced to retire, first to the coast (whence he may have thought of a secret visit to Thessalonica, 1 Thess. ii. 18; cf. iii. 5), and then by sea to Athens.
At Athens he was consumed with anxiety, and sent word to Silas and Timothy to join him with fresh news about his “orphans” in the faith. While waiting, however, he felt compelled by the signs of idolatry on every hand to preach his gospel. He began discussing in the synagogue with the Jews and their circle, and also in the Agora, after the Athens. manner of the place, in informal debate with casual listeners. The scope of his doctrine, the secret of right living, was such as to attract the notice of the Epicureans and Stoics. But its actual contents seemed to them a strange farrago of familiar Greek phrases and outlandish talk about a certain “Jesus” and some power associated with him styled “the Resurrection.” To clear up this, the latest intellectual novelty of the Athenian quidnuncs, they carry him off to “the Areopagus,” probably the council, so called after its original place of meeting on Mars' Hill. This body seems s<till to have had in some sense charge of religion and morals in Athens; and before it this itinerant “sophist” seemed most likely to make his exact position plain. A mark of authenticity is the very fruitlessness of his attempt to adapt the gospel of Jesus to Greek “wisdom.” One only of his audience, a member of the Areopagus, seems to have been seriously impressed. The real effect of the episode was upon Paul himself and his future ministry among typical Greeks.
Before Timothy’s return Paul had moved on to Corinth, where he was to win success and to find material for such experiences, both when present and absent, as developed the whole range of his powers of heart and mind, (see Corinthians, Epistles to the). Corinth was more typical of the Graeco-Roman world than any other city, certainly of Corinth. those visited by Paul. In addition to its large Jewish colony, it had Oriental elements of other kinds, especially mystic and ecstatic cults; and its worship of Venus under semi-oriental attributes added to the general sensuality of the moral atmosphere. Over all was a veneer of Greek intellect and polish; for in its way Corinth prided itself on its culture no less than did Athens. No wonder that Paul’s first feeling in this microcosm was one of utter impotence. It was “in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling,” though in dauntless faith, that he began a most fruitful ministry of a year and a half. His guiding principle was to trust solely to the moral majesty of the gospel of the Cross, declared in all simplicity as to its form (1 Cor. ii. 1 sqq.), not heeding its first impression upon the Jew of intolerable humiliation, and on the Greek of utter folly (i. 18 sqq.). Most gladly then would he preach in such a way that “faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (ii. 5); “that no flesh should glory before God” (i. 29). How central this was to his gospel, especially as it defined itself over against Greek self-sufficiency of intellect, may be seen from his whole conception of the “spiritual” man in his letters to Corinth (esp. 1 Cor. ii. i-iv. 7). Before his great work there began, Paul gained two fresh fellow-workers, whose share in parts at least of his later ministry was very great, Aquila, a Jew of Pontus, and his talented wife Priscilla. Probably they were already Christians, and as they too were tent-makers Paul shared their home and their work. That he was often in straitened circumstances is proved by his having to accept aid from Macedonia (2 Cor. xi. 9; cf. Phil. iv. 15). On the arrival of Silas and Timothy from that quarter, he began to preach with yet more intensity, especially to the Jews (xviii. 5). A breach with the synagogue soon followed. The definite turning to the Gentiles met with much success, and Paul was encouraged by a night vision to continue in Corinth for more than a year longer. An attempt of the Jews (cf. 1 Thess. ii. 15 seq; 2 Thess. iii. 1 seq.) to use Gallio, the new proconsul of Achaia, as a tool against him, not only failed but recoiled upon themselves.
It was during his first winter at Corinth, A.D. 51–52, that he wrote his earliest extant missionary letters (see above for Galatians). Paul wrote not as a theologian but as the prince of missionaries. His gospel was always in essence the same; but the form and perspective of its presentation varied with the training, mental and First Missionary Letters. moral, of his hearers or converts. It was no abstract, rigid system, presented uniformly to all. This warns us against hasty inferences from silence, in judging of Paul’s own thought at the time represented by any epistle, and so limits our attempt to trace progress in his theology. But it bears also on our estimate of him as a man and an apostle, full of sympathy for others and asking from them only such faith as could be real to them at the time.
His Thessalonian converts had met with much social persecution. The bulk belonged to the working class (iv. 11, 2 Thess. iii. 10–12); and Paul must have endeared himself to them by sharing their lot and plying his own manual industry (Acts xviii. 3). However hard his double toil of teacher and tent-maker might be, no sordid suspicions, such as his Jewish foes were ready to suggest (1 Thess. ii. 9; 2 Thess. iii. 8), should gain any colour from his conduct. He would be to his converts as a father, and an embodiment of the new Christian ethics which he pressed upon his spiritual children as the essential “fruit of the Spirit,” and also as a demonstration of the Gospel to “them that were without” (i. 7–12; cf. i. 6, iv. 1 seq.).
The special perspective of his first two epistles is affected by the brevity of his stay at Thessalonica and the severity of persecution there. Owing to the latter fact the Parousia, as a vindication of their cause, so near as reasonably to influence conduct (v. 11), had naturally been prominent in his teaching among them. So in these epistles he deals with it more fully than elsewhere (iv. 13 sqq.); and the moral fruits of the new life in the Spirit are here enjoined in a very direct manner (iv. 1–8).
We need not suppose that Paul himself or his assistants used a set of rules as elaborate as the “Two Ways” (of Life and Death) embodied, e.g. in the Teaching of the Apostles. But to judge from these epistles (1 Thess. iv. 1 seq., 6; 2 Thess. ii. 15; iii. 6), and his reference to the “type of teaching” (bearing on “sin, unto death,” and “obedience, unto righteousness”) unto which the Roman Christians had been “committed” (Rom. vi. 16 seq.), Paul gave to his converts a fairly full outline of moral instruction, similar at least to that of Judaeo-Christian missionaries (note too the rather uniform lists of vices in Rom. i. 24 seq.; 1 Cor. v. 10 seq.; Gal. v. 19 ; Col. iii. 5; cf. E. von Dobschütz, Christian Life in the Primitive Church, app. 6).
What was distinctive of Paul’s ethical teaching was not any lack of positive precepts, but the intimate way in which he, like his Master, infused them with the spirit in which and by which they were to be realized, as aspects of the ideal of love to God and man. He was supremely concerned with the dynamic of conduct, as to Paul as Ethical Teacher. which his own experience made him the most inspiring of teachers and the greatest interpreter of the mind of Christ. The master motive on which he relied for all, was the imitation of Christ in a peculiarly inward sense. To the believer Christ was no mere external example, but was already within him as the principle of his own new moral being, in virtue of the Holy Spirit indwelling as the Spirit of Christ. Here lay the secret of the new “power” so characteristic of the Gospel (Rom. i. 16), a power adequate to realize even the enhanced moral ideal revealed in Christ. The wonder of it was that this power annulled the moral past, giving the once vicious an equal freedom with the “virtuous.” To this sovereign, emancipating influence of God’s Holy Spirit, antagonizing “the flesh” and all its works, Paul confidently entrusted his converts for “sanctification” or progressive transformation (Gal. iii. 3, v. 16 sqq.) into “the image of Christ,” the full actuality of the type already latent in Christian faith. Such teaching is implicit in the Thessalonian letters; but it is explicit in the Epistle to the Galatians. Here he announces in the clearest accents the secret of Christian conduct. “Walk by (the) Spirit, and desire of the flesh ye shall not fulfil.” “If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.” “On the basis of freedom (from law as external to the conscience) were ye called; only turn not freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. Pauline Antinomianism. For the whole Law stands fulfilled in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (v. 13 sqq., 25). These are the watchwords of Paul’s antinomianism, which had grown out of the soil of his own strict moral discipline, where the ethical ideal had become an instinct and a passion. But how would they be taken by raw Gentiles, say in Corinth, untutored to self-denial whether in the things of sense or spirit? That their egoism often perverted Paul’s libertarianism into an apology for libertinism, in keeping with current habits, as well as for selfish individualism in the use of intellect or even “gifts of the Spirit,” may be gathered from his letters to Corinth (see Corinthians, Epistles to the). What here concerns us, however, is the splendidly positive way in which Paul met such abuses, not by falling back upon legalism as a “safeguard” against licence, but by reapplying the laws of spirituality, both in relation to God as source of spiritual gifts, and to God’s people as the appointed sphere of their exercise. He does not recede from his way of teaching; he insists that they shall understand it and abide by its real obligations. But while thinking of Paul’s work in Corinth, we must note certain special religious conditions affecting both the reception of his gospel and the way in which it was afterwards conceived. Side by side with the religion of the city and of the family, both of them polytheistic and utilitarian in the main, stood the “mysteries” or esoteric cults, which were sought out and participated in by the individual for the satisfaction of essentially personal religious needs. Clearly those trained by such Mysteries would be more drawn than ordinary polytheists to his gospel, with its doctrine of mystical yet real union with the divine in Christ, and would less than others find the Cross, with its message of life through death, to be folly. This being so, we shall not be surprised to find, especially at Corinth, traces of the reaction of conceptions proper to the Mysteries upon the ideas and practices of Paul’s converts (cf. 1 Cor. xv. 29), and even upon the language in which he set forth his meaning to them (see ii. 6 sqq.). Whether Paul himself was influenced by such ideas, e.g. in relation to the Sacraments, is a further question as to which opinions are divided.
After some eighteen months in Corinth, Paul felt the time had
come to break fresh ground now at last perhaps at Ephesus,
the key to the province of Asia. With this in view
he took with him his fellow-workers Priscilla and
Aquila, and left them at Ephesus while he himself
visited Syria for ends of his own. That these ends were of high
Visit to Jerusalem.
import we may be sure, else he would not have spent on them
a period of months when the door seemed already opening in
Asia (Acts xviii. 19–21). Acts gives no hint as to their nature,
save the statement that “he went up” from Caesarea to
Jerusalem, “and saluted the church,” before he “went down to
Antioch.” But Paul’s letters enable us to infer that he relied
largely on this visit for counteracting rumours which represented
him as an apostate from Judaism. After some stay in Antioch
Paul started before autumn A.D. 53 for his third great campaign,
the centre of which he had already chosen in Ephesus, where
Priscilla and Aquila were helping to prepare the ground.
Passing through south Galatia, where he further fortified his
converts (xviii. 23), he would reach Ephesus before winter closed in.
Already his circle of helpers had gained a fresh
member of great gifts, the Alexandrine Jew Apollos
(q.v.), who had been brought into fuller sympathy with the
Pauline gospel by Priscilla and Aquila, and who, learning from
them the situation in Corinth, volunteered to try to overcome
the prejudices of the Jews there (xviii. 24–28). At first Paul
taught in the synagogue, until growing hostility drove him to
“separate the disciples” and transfer his headquarters to “the
school of Tyrannus.” This was a lecture-room such as
“sophists” or rhetors were wont to hire for their “displays” The
change was not only one of place, but also of style of discourse,
his appeal now being directly to the Gentiles, who would at
first regard Paul as a new lecturer on morals and religion. The
influence which went forth from this centre radiated throughout
the whole province of Asia, partly through visitors to Ephesus
on business or for worship at its great temple, and partly through
Paul’s lieutenants, such as Timothy and Epaphras (Col. i. 7;
iv. 13). Witness to this extensive influence is afforded both
by the friendly conduct of certain “Asiarchs” at the time of
the riot (xix. 31), and by the fact that Paul later wrote a circular
letter to this region, the so-called Epistle to the Ephesians.
This result was due not only to Paul’s persuasive speech but
also to deeds of power, connected with the superhuman gifts
with which he felt himself to be endowed by the Spirit of God
(Acts xix. ii ; cf. Rom. xv. 18 seq.; 2 Cor. xii. 12). Nor can we
feel Paul’s full greatness unless we remember that he was tried
by the searching test of supernormal psychical and physical
powers operating through him, and that he came through all
with an enhanced sense of the superiority of rational and moral
gifts, and of love as the crown and touchstone of all, as well as
Weakness. with a deepened humility. That he suffered much before the final tumult, due to his success affecting trades dependent on the cult of the Ephesian Artemis is implied in his own words, “humanly speaking, I, fought the beasts at Ephesus” (1 Cor. xv. 32), which may mean that he was almost torn in pieces by mob fury. It was perhaps on this occasion that Aquila and his wife risked their lives for him (Rom. xvi. 3 seq.). Indeed he lived much of his time in Ephesus as one under daily sentence of death, so constant was his danger (1 Cor. xv. 30 seq.; cf. iv. 9; 2 Cor. i. 9; iv. 9–11). But this almost unbearable strain on his human frailty simply deepened his sense of dependent union with Jesus, both in His death and victorious life, and softened his strong nature into a wonderful gentleness and sympathy with suffering in others (2 Cor. i. 4 sqq.). It is no accident that it was from the midst of his Ephesian experiences that his Hymn of Love (1 Cor. xiii. esp. 6–8a, 13) sounded forth. His own spiritual life seems to have grown in Ephesus more than at any other period since the era of his conversion.
This brings us to the most tragic episode in Paul’s career, judged by his own feelings, a psychological crucifixion of which we have the vivid record in his correspondence with the Corinthian church. Reduced to its simplest terms the situation was as follows. The Corinthian church was suffering from the fermentation of ideas and The Corinthian Troubles. ideals too heterogeneous for their powers of Christian assimilation. Paul had laid the foundation, and others had built on it with materials of varied kind and value (see Corinthians). Specially dangerous was the intellectual and moral reaction of the typically Greek mind, starting from a deep-seated dualism between mind and matter, upon the facts and doctrines of the Gospel. Its issue was an exaggeration of Paul’s own religious antithesis between “the flesh” and “the mind” into a metaphysical dualism, so that the conduct of the body, crudely identified with “the flesh,” became a thing indifferent for the inner and higher life of the spirit illumined by the Spirit of God. There was not only divergent practice in morals and in religious usage; there was also a spirit of faction threatening to destroy the unity of church life, to which Paul attached the greatest importance. To lead them to realize their unity in Christ and in His spirit of love was the central aim of Paul’s first extant letter to this church. He rises sheer above every manifestation of the sectional element in man—whether Jewish, Greek, intellectual, ritual, or ascetic—into the sphere of pure religion, the devotion of the whole personality to God and His ends, as realized once for all in Christ, the second Adam, the archetype of divine sonship. It is his enforcement of this idea, along with firm yet flexible application to the various disorders and errors at Corinth of certain other of his fundamental principles, such as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the individual and the community, that makes this epistle so significant for Paul’s biography. Thus, while it gives a more complete picture of a Pauline church than all other sources of knowledge put together, it at the same time illustrates the rare balance of Paul’s mind. But neither this letter nor the influence of Timothy (iv. 17), already on his way to Corinth with Erastus via Macedonia, on collection business (Acts xix. 22; 1 Cor. xvi. 1 seq., 10 seq.)—nor even, as some think, of Paul himself in person (2 Cor. ii. i; xii. 14, 21; xiii. 1 seq.)—brought about an understanding on certain points involving Paul’s authority. In this connexion the presence of interloping Jewish “apostles” with their claims for themselves and their insinuations as to Paul’s motives (2 Cor. xii. 14–16), greatly complicated and embittered the situation on both sides.
When next the curtain rises, we gather that Paul had been forced to write a letter of protest in a tone of severity fitted to arouse his converts’ better selves. It was in fact an ultimatum that Titus carried to Corinth before Paul left Ephesus, his departure hastened by the great tumult. On leaving for Macedonia he “exhorted” Paul leaves for Macedonia. the assembled disciples, and perhaps left Timothy to check the tendencies to error which he perceived at work (xx. 1, 1 Tim. i. 3). Then starting from Miletus, the chief port in the vicinity (cf. xx. 15),—where he had to leave Trophimus owing to sickness (2 Tim. iv. 20, probably a fragment from a brief note to Timothy written soon after)—he reached Troas. Here he intended to evangelize pending the return of Titus (1 Cor. ii. 12 seq.). But though “a door” of opportunity at once opened to him, growing anxiety as to the reception of his severe letter drove him forward to meet Titus half-way in Macedonia. There “fightings without” were added to “fears within” (vii. 5), until at last his meeting with Titus brought unspeakable relief. The bulk of the Corinthian church, in deep remorse for the way in which they had wounded him who after all was their “father” in Christ (i Cor. iv. 15), had come out clearly as loyal to him, not only in word but also in discipline on the arch offender, whose contumacious conduct (now repudiated by the church) had so grieved him, but for whom Paul is now the first to bespeak loving treatment, “lest haply he be swallowed up of excessive grief” (ii. 5 sqq.; vii. 12). Accordingly in his next letter his heart overflows with gladness and affection, yet not so as to blind his clear eye to the roots of danger still remaining in the situation.
The interloping judaizing missionaries (xi. 4, seq., 13, 22; cf. x. 7) are still on the spot, glorifying themselves and glorying in their welcome on the field prepared by another’s toils (x. 12–18); while in the church itself there are moral abuses yet unredressed, even unacknowledged (xii. 20 seq.), on which Paul felt bound still to press for confession and penitence (xiii. 1 sqq.), in spite of what some might brazenly insinuate, in reliance on his not having acted summarily on his former visit, when the church as a whole was not heartily with him. Hence Paul felt himself bound to act boldly (x. 1–6), if and when on his arrival he found the obedience of the majority full and complete (xii. 6). It is to prepare the way for this (xiii. 10) that Paul, while recognizing in the main the church’s loyal affection, writes the second part of his letter (x.–xiii. 10) in so different a key, striving to complete the reaction against his foes, with their taunt as to his not daring openly to take an apostle’s support from his converts at Corinth (xi. 12 sqq., xii. 11–18).
The Second Epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi or Thessalonica (ix. 2); and Timothy joins in its opening salutation. He had, it seems, been summoned to Paul’s side from Ephesus by a hurried note, written after Titus’s return from Corinth, in which he is informed that Erastus had remained in Corinth (? as now city-treasurer, Rom. xvi. 13), while Paul had been deprived also of the help of Trophimus, so that Timothy was unexpectedly needed at his side (this is embedded in an alien context in 2 Tim. iv. 20, 21a, see below). One reason at least for Paul’s need of Timothy is suggested by the reference to Erastus (cf. Acts xix. 22), viz. the business of the great collection from his churches in Galatia, Asia, Macedonia and Achaia. This had been some time in progress and was to be carried by delegates to Jerusalem on Paul’s approaching visit, from which much was hoped in connexion with the unity of Jewish and Gentile Christianity. Another may have been the labour of inspecting the churches in those parts, which now reached at least as far as, if not into, Illyricum (Rom. xv. 19). In any case it was midwinter (56) before Paul became the guest of the hospitable Gaius in Corinth (Rom. xvi. 23).
Touching the resettlement of local church affairs during
Paul’s three months in Corinth, we know nothing. For us the
great event of this visit is the writing of that epistle
which shows that his mind was now bent on the to the
extension of his mission westwards to the metropolis
of the empire itself. To Rome his thoughts had been turned
The Epistle to
the Romans. for many a year, but he had time and again checked the impulse to visit it (Rom. xv. 22 seq.). For the city had long been occupied by the Gospel in one form or another; and it was a point of honour with him to preach “where Christ was not named,” not to build on others’ foundations (xv. 20). But his eye was now fixed on Spain, if not also on south Gaul. It was, then, largely as basis for his mission to the western Mediterranean that Paul viewed Rome. Yet after all Rome was not like other places: it was the focus of the world. Hence Paul could not simply pass by it (i. 11 seq.). Very tactfully does he now offer his preliminary contributions to them—“by way of reminder,” at least—emboldened thereto by the consciousness of a divine commission to the Gentiles, proved by what he had been enabled already to accomplish (xv. 15 sqq.).
But how could Paul write at length to a community he had never visited? Not to dwell on what he might have gathered from “Prisca and Aquila,” the wonderful list of salutations by name, often with brief characterizations, proves how constant was the flow of Christian life between the capital and provincial centres like Ephesus and Corinth. But, beyond all this, there is the nature of the epistle itself as a great “tract for the times,” applicable to the general situation at Rome, but typical also of the hour as reflected in Paul’s consciousness. It has therefore a profound biographical significance for Paul himself, summing up all his thought so far, on the basis of his conversion as unfolded by his experiences as an apostle. It is his philosophy of religion and of history, the first worthy of the name, because the first deep-based upon the conception of the unity of humanity, as related to God, its source and the determining factor in its destiny. As such it also includes in broadest outline (viii. 18 sqq.) a philosophy of nature, as related to humanity, its crown and key. Thus it is in effect a universal philosophy in terms of the moral order, which Paul, like every Hebrew, regarded as the most real and significant element in the universe. At the centre of this grand survey stands the Jewish race, the chosen vessel for bearing God’s treasure for mankind during the provisional period of human history; and at its spiritual heart, in turn, Jesus, Messiah of Israel, Saviour of mankind, in whom the distinction between the special and general spheres of revelation is transcended, while the law, “the middle wall of partition” between them, is broken down by the Cross.
Into the sweep of this high argument, as it is unfolded step by step, with an organic completeness or exposition peculiar to Romans among his writings (cf. Ephesians), there is wrought not only the problem of the Jew and Gentile (still the burning question of the time), but also the stubborn paradox of the actual rejection of Israel’s Messiah by the nation as a whole. This forms a great appendix (ix.–xi.) to the more theoretic part of the epistle, and lays bare Paul’s inmost heart, showing how truly a Jewish patriot he was. Even the categories in which he grapples, without formal success, with the problem of divine election and human responsibility, betray the Jew, to whom the final axioms are God’s sovereignty and God’s righteousness. Further into the contents of this most characteristic writing it is not ours to go (see Romans). Suffice it to say, he who apprehends it, as the issue of a real religious experience, already knows Paul as he knew himself and cared to be known. He who masters its thought knows the Pauline theology. Some indeed assume that Paul ceased really to progress beyond the point represented by Romans, and that certain of his later writings, if they be his at all, show a certain enfeeblement of grasp upon principle. But that is to confuse once more Paul’s personal theology with the forms of instruction which experience showed him were expedient for the strengthening and development of feeble or undeveloped moral types.
Yet while the horizon of the Roman epistle was so universal in one sense, it was restricted in another. Owing to the foreshortening influence of the parousia hope, even Paul’s programme of a world-mission meant simply seizing certain centres of influence, to serve as earnest of Messiah’s possession of all mankind on His return to take His great power and reign. Evangelization on the farther side of the parousia was the greater part of the whole. So we gather from this very epistle, as well as from 1 Cor. xv. 23–25 (and yet more clearly from Col. i. 23). In other ways, too, the Christianity of Paul and his age was relative to the parousia, both in theory and in practice (e.g. in its “ascetic” or “other worldly” attitude to life). This difference of perspective, and the ancient view of the world of spirits operating upon human life, are the chief things to be allowed for in reading his epistles.
Thus viewing things, how eagerly Paul must have looked
westwards at this time. Yet his heart turned also to Judaea,
where he felt his line of march still threatened by
the danger of disunion in the very Body of Christ.
At all cost this must be averted. The best hope
lay in a practical exhibition of Gentile sympathy with the Mother
for Unity. Church in Jerusalem, such as would be to it a token of the Holy Spirit as indwelling Paul’s churches. The means for such a thankoffering for benefits received ultimately from Jerusalem (Rom. xv. 27) had been collected with much patient labour, and the delegates to accompany Paul with it had already assembled at Corinth (xx. 4). Paul had intended to cross the Aegean from Corinth with his party, by the direct route to Syria. But a Jewish plot, probably to take effect on the voyage, caused him to start earlier by the Last Visit to Jerusalem. longer land-route, as far as Philippi, whence, after waiting to observe the Days of the Unleavened Bread, he sailed to join his fellow-almoners at Troas. There is no need to follow all the stages of what follows (see Ramsay, St Paul the Traveller). But every personal touch is meant to tell, even Paul’s walk from Troas to Assos, perhaps for solitary meditation, away from the crowded ship; and all serves to heighten the feeling that it was the path to death that Paul was already treading (xx. 23). This lies too at the heart of his impressive farewell to the Ephesian elders, a discourse which gives a vivid picture of his past ministry in Ephesus. Its burden, as Luke is at pains to emphasize by his comment upon the actual parting, is that “they should behold his face no more.” The scene was repeated at Tyre; while at Caesarea, the last stage of all, the climax was reached, in Agabus’s prophetic action and the ensuing dissuasion of all those about him. But Paul, though moved in his feelings, was not to be moved from his purpose. The party went forward, taking the precaution to secure Paul a trusty host on the road to Jerusalem in the person of Mnason, a Hellenist of Cyprus. He entered the holy city in good time to show his loyalty to the Jewish Feast of Pentecost. He was well received by James and the elders of the church. So far scholars are agreed, since the “we” form of narrative Jerusalem. which began again at Philippi (xx. 5), reaches to this point. But as to the historical value of what follows, before “we” reappears with the start for Rome from Caesarea there is large diversity of opinion. The present writer, holding that “we” is no exclusive mark of the eye-witness, sees no reason to doubt the substantial accuracy of the narrative in Acts xxi. 19–xxvi. touching the Jewish outbreak against Paul and its sequel. Its significance for Paul’s life is fairly clear, though we are not told what acceptance the Gentile offering of loyal love met with in the Jerusalem church as a whole. But that its general effect upon the comity of the two branches of the Messianic Ecclesia was good seems implied by the serene tone of Paul’s later references to the unity of the Body (Eph. ii. 19–22; iii. 5 seq.). What does stand out clearly in Acts is all that bears on Paul’s position as between the Jewish and the Roman authorities. Here we observe a gradual shifting of the charge against him, corresponding in part to the changes of venue. The more local elements recede, and those of interest to a Roman court emerge.
To the Jewish mob he is “the man that teacheth all men everywhere against the People, and the Law, and this place; and moreover he brought Greeks also into the Temple” (xxi. 28). Before Felix, Tertullus describes him as “a pestilent fellow, and a mover of tumults among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes, who also tried to profane the Temple” (xxiv. 5 seq.). Similarly among “the many and grievous” offences alleged before Festus (xxv. 7 seq.) we gather that one or more were “against Caesar,” i.e. treason of one sort or another. Though the others weighed with a procurator like Felix (anxious to humour the Jews cheaply) sufficiently to keep Paul (in the absence of bribes) in prison for two years, it was the last class of charge that was most dangerous, especially when once the case was transferred from the provincial court to the appeal court at Rome. The last words of Agrippa, “This man could have been set at liberty had he not appealed to Caesar,” are probably recorded with a touch of tragic irony.
But what of Paul himself during the two years at Caesarea? Though he must have been in correspondence with his churches at least through messengers, nothing from his pen has reached us. We can only infer from epistles written later how much this period contributed to his reflective life. The outlook was indeed stimulating to Paul at Caesarea. thought. Near at hand Judaea was sliding rapidly down the incline of lawlessness and fanatical resentment of Roman rule towards a catastrophe which to Paul’s eye, trained by Jewish Apocalyptic to regard certain things as signs of the days of Antichrist, would seem to betoken the prelude of the Parousia itself. Then, farther afield, the growing confederacy of Messiah’s churches was stepping into the place vacated by “Israel after the flesh,” as the people ready for God’s Messiah.
The journey to Rome calls for no detailed notice (see Ramsay, St Paul the Traveller). Its main interest for us is the impression of nobility, courage and power which Paul conveyed to the centurion Julius and his fellow-passengers generally; while the enthusiasm of the eyewitness himself visibly reaches its climax as dangers thicken and Paul rises above them all. At last Italy is reached, and Paul is met by detachments of “brethren” from Rome, who came as far as thirty and forty miles to welcome him; “whom when Paul saw, he thanked God and took courage.” Rome. From Paul’s letters, however, we gather that if he looked for sympathy from the Roman Christians, he looked largely in vain. Whilst some welcomed and most regarded him as indeed a champion of the Gospel whose fearless testimony even in bonds emboldened many, including the judaizing section who wished him no good, to preach Jesus more openly than before; few, if any, really showed him brotherly love or cared for the interests of Christ outside Rome that were still on his heart (Phil. i. 12–17, ii 21). Such absorption in their own local affairs struck Paul as strangely un-Christian in spirit, and added disappointment to his irksome confinement, chained as he was by one wrist to a praetorian soldier night and day. Yet he rose above it all. Only let “Christ be magnified” in his body, whether by life or death. Then should he not be ashamed, come what might.
The letter which makes us aware how things lay is Philippians, the most devotional of all his writings and the most Christlike. It is the perfect expression of personal “Paulinism” in his maturer and more positive manner. It flows from his heart as joyful thanks for tokens of continued mindfulness of him recently received from his old The Epistle to Philippians. Philippian friends through Epaphroditus, one of their number. Touched and filled with spiritual joy the more that, save for his own personal circle, love was so scant around him, he turns to comfort his friends in their sorrow for him, out of the stores of Divine consolation received through his own fresh sense of need (cf. 2 Cor. i. 3 sqq.). “Rejoice in the Lord” is its recurring note. Here we get the word of the hour, both for Paul and for his converts. The date of Philippians is an open question, English scholars tending to place it early, while most foreign scholars put it late in the “two years” of Acts. The present writer would place it last of those written during the first year, i.e. last of all save 2 Timothy.
Of the remaining imprisonment epistles, the beautiful little note to Philemon touching his slave Onesimus casts fresh light on Paul “the Christian gentleman,” by its humour and perfect considerateness of tone. The two larger ones do not seem at first sight to reflect his personality so much as his life as the father of churches, and the way in Letters to Asian Churches. which he extended the lines of his gospel so as to bear on problems raised by ever fresh reactions upon it of the old traditions amid which his Asian converts still lived. Both aspects really blend; for the epistles are addressed to churches which were feeling certain effects of the seeming calamity that had overtaken him whom they in some sense regarded as their founder, and aim at raising them to the writer’s own higher standpoint (Eph. iii. 13, vi. 19–22; Col. ii. 1 seq., iv. 8 seq.). It was just here that many of his Asian converts hesitated. They did not realize the all-sufficiency of Christ in the moral sphere; and they viewed their relations with the invisible world of ultimate or heavenly realities in keeping with this fact. They traced the hand of beings belonging to the supernal spheres in their earthly experiences of weal and woe. Hence they dreamed of supplementing what they derived from Christ by help from other spiritual beings. To judge from Colossians (see s.v.) it was largely along the lines of Jewish thought (cf. the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs), modified by Greek and other Pagan ideas, that this tendency operated. For at Colossae at least it issued in observance of ritual rules connected with the protection of good angels against evil ones, as taught by a sort of theosophy, probably basing itself on a legendary handling of pre-Mosaic Bible history in particular (cf. the Pastorals). Paul does not discuss how far “guardian angels” have any function left them in view of the all-sufficiency of Christ and His Spirit for believers. He obviously (Eph. vi. 11 sqq.) believed in the reality of angelic foes, because this hypothesis explained for him certain moral phenomena; but he had really stripped angelic helpers of all functions necessary to the Christian. Perhaps he was not sufficiently interested in the matter to think it out fully.
How does Paul deal with this situation of depressed faith and hope as to the power of Christ to confer all needful to the perfecting of the Christian’s life on earth, in spite of the hostile forces, visible and invisible? All they need, he says, is to hold fast the Gospel which has already done so much for them—annulling the special privileges of the Jew, and quickening them as Gentiles “dead in sins” and under the full sway of the powers of ill, into a life of filial access to God as Father. Of Christ’s ability to achieve God’s purpose in all things, the wonderful progress of His Church “in all the world” is already witness (Col. i. 8, 23). Looking then to these things, visible to Christian gnosis based on spiritual experience, there is no cause for depression at the sufferings endured for Christ’s sake by Christians, and least of all at his own. Both in Colossians and “Ephesians” (really a circular epistle to churches in Asia, including those of the Lycus valley and perhaps most of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse (see Ephesians), he lays stress on “love, which is the bond of perfectness,” and on “unity of the Spirit,” as the atmosphere of life worthy the vocation he describes in inspiring terms.
In this respect, as in nearly every other, these epistles exhibit marked affinity with the next group claiming to come from Paul’s pen, the so-called Pastoral Epistles, the supposed “moralism” of which is often urged against their authenticity. In both cases the development is quite natural in Paul the missionary, The Ethical Emphasis in Paul’s later Epistles. as it answers to growing defects among his churches in the sphere of conduct. Such errors, while twofold in effect, alike sprang from a defective sense for ethics as the essential form of piety (1 Tim. vi. 3–11; 2 Tim. iii. 5; cf. Jas. i. 27) flowing from Christian faith. A merely intellectual faith, instead of the genuinely Pauline type, involving enthusiastic moral devotion to Christ, tended in practice either to a negative and ritual piety, as at Colossae, or to moral laxity. The latter was sometimes defended on a dualistic theory of “flesh” and “spirit,” as two realms radically opposed and morally independent. Paul meets both errors by his doctrine of the “new man,” the new moral personality, God’s workmanship, “created in Christ Jesus for good works” (Eph. ii. 10), whose nature it is to be fruitful unto holiness and love (cf. Gal. v. 6, vi. 15).
In the so-called Pastoral Epistles the same subject is handled similarly, yet more summarily, as befits one writing instructions to friends familiar with the spirit behind the concrete precepts. Allowing for this, and for the special circumstances presupposed, there is no more “moralism” about the “wholesome instruction” in the The Pastoral Epistles. Christian walk given in these epistles (1 Tim. i. 10; cf. vi. 3; 2 Tim. iv. 3) than in the other group. “Moralism” is ethical precept divorced from the Christian motive of grateful love, or connected with the notion of salvation as “of works” rather than prevenient grace. But of this there is no real trace in the Pastorals, which are a type of letter by themselves, as regards their recipients and certain of the aspects of church life with which they deal. As dealing with methods of instruction and organization, which must have occupied increasingly the attention of those responsible for the daily course of church life, they contain nothing inappropriate to the last two years of Paul’s life, when he was considering how his churches might best be safeguarded from errors in thought and practice in his absence or after his decease.
The main difficulties as to their substance have been imported by anachronistic reading of them, and are falling to the ground with the progress of exegesis and knowledge of the conditions of early church life. Our real difficulties in conceiving the Pastorals as what they purport to be, relate to their form, and “lie in the field of language and of ideas as embodied in language” (Hort, Jud. Christ. p. 131). But these, even as regards style and syntax, are reduced to narrow limits, when once due weight is given to the fresh analogies furnished by the now admitted Imprisonment Epistles (see also Ramsay, Expositor, 1909). This is specially the case with the use of new words of religious import, like “Saviour” or “Deliverer” (Soter, of God and Christ: see Eph. v. 23; Phil. iii. 20)—the idea of which springs naturally from Paul’s own outward state, as well as from the trials of his readers; the “washing” or “laver” of baptism (Eph. v. 26; Tit. iii. 5); the Gospel as a revealed “mystery” (Eph. passim, esp. “the mystery” as “great,” Eph. v. 32; 1 Tim. iii. 16); and the future “appearing” of Christ (so already in 2 Thess. ii. 8; cf. Col. iii. 4). As to the use of the last term for the incarnation in 2 Tim. i. 10, it has a parallel in the “was manifested” of 1 Tim. iii. 16, itself a fragment of a Christian hymn of praise to Christ, such as is implied in Eph. v. 19, and especially Col. iii. 16. Not only is the fragment in question one in type with that in Eph. v. 14, but may even be part of the same hymn. Nothing could be more natural than for Paul to weave into his epistle to Timothy the religious phraseology actually current among Pauline Christians in Asia, as we see him doing in his repeated citations of the hortatory parts of their hymnology, with the formula “Faithful is the (familiar) saying” (i. 15, iii. 1, 16, iv. 10; cf. 2 Tim. ii. 11 seq.). All this borrowed language, and much more that is virtually the parlance of the Asian churches, helps to explain a comparative lack of the distinctively Pauline element even in letters which contain highly characteristic passages. Hence there seem no insuperable difficulties to the authenticity of all three epistles which most scholars recognize as at least partly from Paul’s pen, though they disagree as to the exact limits of the genuine fragments if only a natural historic setting can be found for them in Paul’s life. But there is a general assumption that this cannot be found within the limits allowed by Acts. Accordingly some reject the situations implied in them as on the whole unhistorical, while others postulate a period in Paul’s life of which Acts gives no hint, if it does not exclude it. This theory of a release after the “two whole years” with which Acts closes, and of a second imprisonment before the end really came, bases itself partly on the personal notices in the Pastorals themselves (for a suggested itinerary see e.g. Lightfoot, Biblical Essays), often full of verisimilitude, and partly on tradition. As regards the latter, the only evidence of real weight is the reference in a highly rhetorical passage of the Epistle of Clement (c. A.D. 96) to Paul as having come in his universal ministry, in East and West alike, “to the bound of the West.” But, granting that Spain be meant, there is no sign that Clement thought of this visit as following on an imprisonment in Rome, rather than as falling somewhere in his career, simply on the warrant of Rom. xv. 28: while nowhere do the Pastorals themselves point to any journey west of Rome. Further no early tradition is clear enough to override the almost certain implication of Acts (xx. 25 and 38, read in the light of the closing chapters, and especially of xxvi. 32, which suggests that the appeal to Caesar was a fatal step) that Paul never visited Asia after his farewell at Miletus. Accordingly room for the epistles must be found, if at all, before the spring of 62 in keeping with Acts. The following is an attempt to show how this may be done.
The pastoral epistles reveal certain special aspects of Paul’s life and work in Rome during the “two years” of Acts xxviii. fin. Addressed to intimate associates, they show him in the act of caring for his churches by deputy. In the case of Titus, indeed, the churches in question were apparently not of Paul’s own foundation, but those in Epistle to Titus. whose welfare he had become interested while sheltering on his voyage to Rome at Fair Havens in Crete (Acts xxvii. 8 seq.). This spot was nigh to a city named Lasea; and as they were detained “a considerable time,” for men eager to be gone, we may well imagine Paul coming into touch with the local Christians and leaving Titus (whose presence is never alluded to in Acts, even when proved by Paul’s letters) to set in order the defective conditions prevailing among them (Tit. i. 5). Now, about early summer 60, we seem to see him writing further instructions, on the basis of reports received from Titus. There is no talk of a journey to Spain, and to judge from Paul’s plan to winter at Nicopolis (iii. 12) he expects his case to come on too late in autumn to admit of the visit to Asia which he had in mind only shortly before, as it seems, when referring more indefinitely to his hopes in 1 Tim. iii. 14, iv. 13. Possibly his further reference in iii. 13 to Apollos and Zenas “the lawyer” (bearers of the letter), as on a journey of urgency, may mean that a date for his trial was fixed in the interval, and that he was sending to the East to collect counter-evidence to that of the Jews of Asia (Acts xxi. 27; cf. the later plaint in 2 Tim. i. 15, that “all in Asia” had “turned their backs on him”).
Paul’s appeal case was not a safe topic for correspondence (cf. Col. iv. 7 seq.), and we gather little directly on the point from his epistles. The long delay in its hearing would be due in part to the accusers’ desire to collect evidence sufficient to ensure success even before a tribunal thought to be less amenable to Jewish influence than a procurator’s; and, once the first summer was past, the wintry sea (mare clausum) would postpone things for another six months. The delay seems to have been unexpected by Paul, and to have led him to mistaken forecasts during his first half year in Rome, in 1 Tim., Titus and Philemon. Somewhat later he expressed himself more guardedly (Phil, ii. 23 seq.; cf. i. 25). As to the charges on which all came to turn, we are left to intrinsic probabilities. They were no doubt those serious from the Roman rather than Jewish standpoint, viz. endangering public law and order by exciting the Jews throughout the world on religious matters, and fostering treason against the imperial cult generally (cf. the charge at Thessalonica). In defence Paul would urge the privileged position of a Jewish monotheist, and the Jews would be at pains to differentiate Christianity from Judaism, and so deprive it of the status of a legally recognized religion (religio licita). If they succeeded here, Paul’s condemnation was only a matter of time. This is the most probable issue of the case (pace Sir W. M. Ramsay and others), both a priori and in the light of later phenomena, e.g. 1 Pet. (which in 62–63 seems to imply a recent impulse to persecution for the Name).
The rather earlier but vaguer situation implied in 1 Tim. is as follows. At the moment of Paul’s appeal from Caesarea to Rome Timothy was perhaps on duty in Ephesus. There he would receive a message from Paul, possibly through Aristarchus (Acts xxvii. 2, 5 seq.), in terms of good hope as to his appeal. Timothy would in turn send word as 1 Timothy. to the situation in Ephesus, and at the same time express his desire to hasten to Paul’s side. This would lead Paul, in sending him a letter of encouragement and specific instructions, to open with a sentence (characteristically wanting a grammatical conclusion) in which he recalls a parallel case, where he had exhorted Timothy to “stay on” in Ephesus (i.e. in A.D. 56). Nor was the need less urgent now, owing to Judaic “fables” touching the primitive period of biblical history (“genealogies”), meant to bear on certain parts of the Law (i. 4–7) as of universal religious validity. At Ephesus (as also in Crete) much the same type of Judaism as was re-emerging at Colossae was reacting on local Christianity; while here and there were traces of dualistic antinomian theory (see i. 19 seq.; cf. 2 Tim. ii. 17 seq.). The general need of the hour was wholesome Christian ethics applied all round, supported by firmer organization in church life, especially with a view to check irresponsible teaching (1 Tim. v. 17, vi. 3; Tit. i. 9–11; 2 Tim. ii. 2, iv. 3). To the special local problems Paul addresses himself in this letter, but above all to the bracing of Timothy’s somewhat sensitive nature to face the opposition which he must encounter as a Christian leader at such a time (note the similes of the soldier and athlete, both of whom face hardship readily, as part of their profession, i. 18, v. 8 sqq., vi. 12 seq., 20; 2 Tim. ii. 3 sqq., iv. 5). In this connexion occur also certain autobiographic passages, as well as solemn affirmations of his own divine commission (e.g. i. 1, 11 sqq., ii. 7), the aim of which is to reassure his disciple that his gospel will bear all the strain that is being put upon it, or can be in the future (cf. Eph. vi. 19 seq. for all this). Here Paul is answering challenges which he knows are being made in Timothy’s bearing on every side, especially now that the apostle seemed less likely to return to Asia. He himself does not flinch, because he knows he had not run save “at the command of God” (i. 1), after being wondrously changed from his former self (i. 12 sqq.). Thus as to the authority of the Gospel “committed to his charge,” however much it may be called in question (i. 10 seq., ii. 7), he has no shadow of doubt.
When the curtain rises for the last time, it is on the morrow of the long-expected hearing of Paul’s appeal. The case stands adjourned, but he is no longer under any illusion as to its final issue. His one comfort is that by the Lord’s support he had been delivered from the greatest danger, “the mouth of the lion” ready to “swallow up” 2 Timothy. (cf. 1 Pet. v. 8) his soul through craven fear, as he stood solitary before Caesar. From that the Lord had rescued him, and would yet rescue him from every “work of ill” (2 Tim. iv. 16–18). Yet his earthly work is done (iv. 6 seq.). So he writes to Timothy, his “beloved child,” whom now he longs to see once more. But lest this should not be granted him, he prefixes to the summons a last will and testament, which may help Timothy to rise above the dismay which his death at the hands of Roman law is bound to cause. Let Timothy take up the Gospel torch as it falls from his own dying hand, and “do the work of an Evangelist,” heeding not the hardship. Then after providing for the Gospel, he turns to more personal interests. “Hasten to me with all speed,” he says in effect, “for I am all alone, save for Luke. My other trusty friends are away on various missions, and Demas has deserted the sinking ship. Tychicus I had already sent to Ephesus; he will replace you. Pick up Mark and bring him with you—he is so helpful. Bring my cloak, papers and books [copies of the Scriptures], lying in Carpus’s hands at Troas”—perhaps since Acts xx. 6 sqq. “Alexander the bronze-worker [an old Jewish foe at Ephesus, Acts xix. 33] did me many a bad turn in my case (his case is in the Lord’s hands); be on thy guard against him.” Then follow allusions to Paul’s “first defence,” unsupported by such as might have appeared on his behalf (especially from Asia; cf. i. 15); and next salutations to Prisca and Aquila, and to the house of Onesiphorus—an Ephesian who had sought Paul out in Rome (i. 16–18).
So the curtain falls for the last time. But Paul’s fate is hardly obscure. He himself saw that the charge against him, unrebutted by independent evidence, must bring him to the executioner’s sword, the last penalty for a Roman citizen. With this late 2nd-century tradition agrees (Tertullian, De praescr. haer. 36), naming the very spot on the Ostian Way, marked by a martyr-memorial (tropaion, Caius ap. Euseb. ii. 25), probably at the modern Tre Fontane, some three miles from Rome. But the traditional date (June 29) reaches us only on far later authority. Acts simply suggests the first half of A.D. 62; and we may imagine Timothy reaching Rome in time to share Paul’s last days (cf. Heb. xiii. 23).
Early Tradition has little to say about Paul. Possibly the earliest reference outside the New Testament is a Christian addition to the Testament of Benjamin, xi., which describes a Benjamite as “enlightening with new knowledge the Gentiles.” The notice in Clement’s epistle (ch. v.) to Paul’s having borne bonds “seven times” may be mere rhetoric (perhaps based on 2 Cor. xi. 23). Ignatius refers with reference (cf. Rom. iv. 3) to Paul as his example in martyrdom (Ad Eph. xii. 2); similarly Polycarp (Ad Phil. iii. 2) deprecates the notion that he, or any other like him, could rival “the wisdom of the blessed and glorious Paul,” and refers to his letter(s) to the Philippians. The Acts of Paul, composed not long after A.D. 150 by an Asian presbyter, in order to glorify Paul by supplementing Luke’s story, is striking evidence of the regard felt for him in certain circles; but it contains (so far as extant in the Coptic, which also enables us to identify other documents as once parts of these Acts) no fresh data, unless the episode dealing with Paul and Thekla echoes an original tradition belonging to Iconium and Pisidian Antioch. Its description of Paul as “a man small in size, bald, bow-legged, sturdy, with eyebrows meeting and a slightly prominent nose, full of grace” in expression, may or may not be based on local memories (see 2 Cor. x. 10; cf. Dict. Christ. Antiq. ii., 1621, for early representations of him). The hostile conception of him lying behind the Simon of our Clementine literature (q.v.) has no historic value; and the same may be said of all traditions not to be traced earlier than the 3rd century (cf. R. A. Lipsius, Die apokr. Apostelgesch. u.s.w., and C. Clemen, Paulus, i. 331 sqq.).
Paul’s personality is one of the most striking in history. No character of the distant past is known to us more fully, both from within and from without, thanks largely to the self-revealing quality of his letters. His was a deep, complex, many-sided nature, varying widely in mood, yet all so concentrated by moral unity of purpose that the variety of gift and sensibility is apt to escape notice. During his career every faculty comes into play, and we realize how largely human he was. “Even though Paul was an apostle,” says Chrysostom, “still he was a man.” A true picture of him must preserve the vital unity in which these two aspects appear in our sources. To judge him save through that vocation which he himself felt to determine all his being, is to fall into unreality. To view him as a mere individual is vain. He cannot be judged entirely by common standards, whether religious or ethical; for owing to his vocation his personality had an universal import which must needs put him out of ordinary human perspective at certain points. Further, we must allow for his limited temporal horizon, shut in for practical purposes by a near Parousia, conceived as bringing ordinary history to an abrupt close, and the hope of which foreshortened all issues. Bearing this in mind, we shall wonder, not so much at any other-worldly spirit or peremptoriness of tone, which were positive duties under such conditions, but rather at the sanity of temper and moral judgment which mark the apostle amid his consuming zeal “by all means to save some” from “the wrath” soon to be revealed against sin and unrighteousness (1 Thess. i. 10; Rom. i. 18). We must remember too that he lived in an atmosphere of intense “enthusiasm,” in the most literal sense, among those who felt that “the powers of the coming age” (Heb. vi. A seq.) were already at work in “the saints,” men possessed by the divine afflatus and made as it were but organs of the Spirit of God. Viewed in such an environment, Paul is seen to have been a great steadying influence, insisting on character as the normal fruit of the Spirit and the real ground of human worth (1 Cor. xiii. 1–3); insisting also that possession by the Spirit did not supersede responsibility for self-control (xiv. 32 seq.), and that the element of conscious reason was superior to blind ecstasy (xiv. 1 sqq.). He spoke from full personal experience; for he exercised every gift on the list in 1 Cor. xii. 8. Yet with clear and ever-growing emphasis he defined spirituality in moral terms, those of the will informed by love like that of Christ. How great this service was, none can say. It was his balanced attitude to the operations of the Spirit—outwardly the most distinctive thing in Christianity, as compared with Judaism—an attitude at once reverent and reasonable, that saved the Church from fanaticism on the one hand or moralism on the other. It was his own experience as a passionate seeker after righteousness which gave him the key to that reinterpretation of Jesus the Christ as at once moral ideal, master motive and immanent principle of life at work in the soul by the Spirit which was peculiarly his own and may be styled his ethical mysticism. This was his main contribution to Christianity; and as depending on his personal experience, it was bound up closely with his personality—a fact which makes his direct influence, while intense, yet rather limited in its area of appeal.
At the root of Paul’s nature lay the Hebrew capacity for personal devotion to the Divine as moral perfection, to an unbounded degree. It found its object in a concrete form, stirring both imagination and affections, in Jesus the Christ, “the image of the invisible God” whose spiritual glory man was created to reflect. This instinct for ideal devotion seems never to have been diverted, even for a season, into a single human channel, in the love of woman. From his early youth his soul was preoccupied by a passion for God and His will in His people. This he came to regard as a special divine gift or vocation (1 Cor. vii. 7), imposing on its possessor, in the face of the world’s needs (cf. 29–31), a higher duty than could be fulfilled within the conditions of the closest of human relations (32–35). But the tenderness and chivalrous self-sacrifice which found no vent in the ordinary channel came to pour itself forth in an absorbing love for his churches, which were to him as his own spouse, though his aim was rather to “present them as a pure virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. xi. 2). This educated his human affections, and softened the outlines of a nature inflexibly loyal to principle and absorbed with the divine aspect of life. Thus it was through “the love of Christ” constraining him to look at all, as it were, through Christ’s eyes, that Paul came to love men even to the point of a self-forgetfulness that seemed to some hardly sane (2 Cor. v. 13–16a; cf. Mark iii. 21, “He is beside himself”). So too his proud, strong-willed spirit gradually put on “the meekness and conciliatoriness of Christ” to such a degree that during the Corinthian troubles his critics contrasted the vigour of his letters with the seeming feebleness of his outward bearing (2 Cor. x. 1, 10).
There is no good evidence that his presence was physically weak or unimpressive, even if his stature was small, as tradition has it (see above; cf. Acts xiv. 12). Nor is there any sign that he bore habitual traces of those periodic attacks of some nervous affection—allied to epilepsy, but apparently not involving loss of consciousness—to which, as dating from a certain overpowering trance about 42–43, he refers in 2 Cor. xii. 7 sqq. These were most humiliating while they lasted (cf. Gal. iv. 14). But they seem not to have drained his vigour even for great and constant labours of body and mind. His energy indeed was portentous, as he himself felt, when he traced it to the divine power “energizing mightily” in him (1 Cor. xv. 10, Col. i. 29), and that most effectively when he felt weakest in himself (2 Cor. xii. 9 seq.).
Not only had Paul a supernormal spiritual force, marked by a rare combination of religious inspiration and reasoning power, which made him impressive both as speaker and writer, he had also a genius for adaptation to varied mental conditions, due partly to his Hellenistic training, but also to the fact that his message was one not of the letter but of spirit and power (cf. 2 Cor. iii. 4 sqq.). This showed itself as tact in relation to individuals and special audiences, and as statesmanlike breadth of view in handling large problems of principle, such as were constantly emerging in relation to the Jewish and Gentile types of Christianity, and again as to the Christian attitude to the pagan state (Rom. xiii. 1 sqq.). He combined grasp with vital flexibility in a degree which made him the prince of missionaries. He was the prophet in the originality of his message; he was the theologian in the reflective interpretation which he gave to it, in terms derived mainly from a profound knowledge of Jewish thought, liberalized by contact with another world, the Graeco-Roman; but above all he was the missionary in the attitude in which he stood to his gospel and to men as its subjects. There was in him nothing doctrinaire: to that, along with the legal attitude, he had been crucified with Christ, for both belonged to “the rudiments of the world” of sense (1 Cor. xiii. 8 sqq.; 2 Cor. x. 4 seq.; Col. ii. 20 seq.; Phil. iv. 7). Accordingly he was great as an organizer of a new order among his Gentile churches, where much was left to local instinct informed by the one Spirit, while yet he jealously cared for such unity in usages as seemed needful to the embodiment of the one life of the Spirit in all, Jew and Gentile alike (1 Cor. iv. 17, xv. 33, 36). In particular he showed his Christian largeness in his exertions to keep in communion the two sections of Christ’s people, to the point of risking his life for this end.
In his more personal relations he had the power of feeling and inspiring friendship of the noblest order, a comradeship “in Christ” which fills his letters with delightful touches of loyal affection and trust, even of playfulness on occasion (Philem.). He was a man of heart, with rapid alternations of mood, with nothing of the Stoic in his self-mastery, which was an acquired grace, rooted in the “peace of God” (Phil. iv. 7, 10–13). Indeed it was in his impetuous, choleric temperament that there lurked “the last infirmity” of his soul, which at times betrayed him into vehemence of expression (Acts xxii. 4 seq.) and a sweeping harshness of judgment (cf. 2 Cor. vii. 8 seq.), especially where he had detected disingenuous conduct in those who were interfering with his work for Christ or imputing base motives to himself, like the judaizers in Galatia and Corinth (cf. Phil. iii. 2). As to the charge of egoism, based on the emphasis he lays on his own person as medium of Christ’s mind and will, it can hold only so far as Paul can be shown to do this gratuitously, and not really in the interests of his vocation. By this latter standard alone can an apostle be judged. Paul is careful, moreover, to distinguish his ordinary and his vocational self (2 Cor. xii. 5), as well as what he says as quoting Christ, as speaking qua apostle (1 Cor. vii. 10, 12), and again as simply one found “faithful” (ib. 25). Such is not the way of egoists or fanatics.
In his Epistles Paul found a fitting vehicle for his personality, whereby to speak not only to his own age but also to kindred souls all down the ages, so coming to spiritual life again and again, when buried under convention and tradition. For the letter is the most spontaneous form of writing, nearest in nature to conversation, and leaving personality most free. No doubt Paul’s letters followed current forms (cf. G. A. Deissmann, Bible Studies, 1901, ch. i.). But he transfigured what he used by the new fullness of meaning infused into address, salutation, final messages and benediction. His letters are indeed “the life-blood of a noble spirit,” poured forth to nourish its spiritual offspring (cf. 1 Thess. ii. 7 seq.). They are data for his Life and form incidentally an immovable critical basis for historical Christianity, on which the hypercriticism of Van Manen and others (see Ency. biblica, s.v. “Paul”) can make no real impression. On the other hand, as the sources of our knowledge of “Paulinism,” they impose by their very form certain limits to our effort to reduce his thought to system. Canon R. J. Knowling’s Witness of the Epistles (1892) and The Testimony of St Paul to Christ (1905) contain full summaries of all bearing on Paul’s epistles. The history of the collection of Paul’s letters into a corpus styled “The Apostle,” for reading in Christian worship, is very significant, so far as we can trace it. The reference in 2 Pet. iii. 15 seq. would be of high value, were the date of 2 Pet. itself not so doubtful. The first definite notice we possess of a canon of Pauline epistles is that of the ultra-Pauline Marcion, who used ten Pauline epistles (c. 140). Certain apocryphal Pauline epistles appeared in early times, beginning with one To the Alexandrines, forged in the interests of Marcionism (Canon Murat), and an exchange of letters between the Corinthians and Paul, originally part of the Acta Pauli (ed. C. Schmidt, pp. 145–160). For the forged correspondence between Paul and Seneca, see Lightfoot, Philippians, pp. 329–333.
II. Paulinism.—Of recent years the ambiguity lurking in this term, as used to describe Paul’s teaching as a whole, has been fully realized, and efforts have been made to distinguish what is distinctive and essential from what is traditional in form and relative in importance. For Paul, if “the first Christian theologian,” was no systematic theologian. His mind was fundamentally semitic. It seized on one truth at a time, penetrating to the underlying principle with extraordinary power and viewing it successively from various sides. But, unlike a Greek thinker, he did not labour to reduce the sum of his principles to formal harmony in a system. In the absence of such critical testing of his thought by Paul himself, we must observe his relative emphasis and the varying causes of this, whether personal conviction or external occasion. Even when this is done it still remains to ask how much represents direct spiritual vision, due to “revelation,” and how much traditional forms of thought or imagination, adopted by him as the most natural vehicle of expression occurring to his mind in a given mental environment. That Paul himself was conscious of the limitations here implied, is clear from what he says in 1 Cor. xiii. 9 sqq. as to the transience of the conceptions used by himself and others to body forth divine ideas and relations. After all, his was the theology of a prophet rather than a philosopher. Hence we have to distinguish what may be styled “personal Paulinism,” the generalization of his own religious experience, from his apologetic exposition of it over against current Pharisaic Judaism if largely in its terms and also from the speculative setting which it took on in his mind, as his experience enlarged and the thoughts of his converts suggested fresh points of view.
It is mainly in this last sphere that development is traceable in Paulinism. Some idea of its nature and extent has already been given in connexion with Paul’s life. If one must attempt to reproduce the Pauline “system” as a whole, it is best to take the form in which it appears in the Epistle to the Romans, and then supplement it with the fresh elements in the later epistles (so far as these seem really to be in terms of the writer’s thought, rather than his readers'), instead of constructing an amalgam from the whole range of his epistles taken promiscuously. Paulinism, in the widest sense, includes much that is not distinctively his at all; what can here be given is confined to Paul’s specific contribution to Christianity.
i. Paulinism proper springs from an absorbing passion for a righteousness real from the heart outwards, real before God. This could not be satisfied by “works of the Law,” i.e. deeds prompted by the categorical imperative of Law, itself viewed as the will of God and supported by sanctions of reward and penalty. Two things hindered; “the flesh,” the sensuous element in human nature, positively prone to sin since the first man’s trespass introduced an actual bias to evil (Rom. v. 12, 14, 19); and (the) Law itself, a form of divine claim which acted on man’s sinful nature as a challenge and irritant to his egoism, so breeding either positive rebellion or self-confident pride, but in neither case real righteousness before God. Thus the main effect of Law was negative; it brought to light the sin latent in “the flesh,” i.e. the personality as conditioned by the post-Adamic flesh. From this deliverance could come only by divine interposition or redemption, achieving at once reconciliation and regeneration by the removal of guilt and the creation of a new moral dynamic. Justification, then, or the placing of man in a state in which God could reckon him radically righteous, must be due to “grace” apart altogether from “works of law” and their desert. The medium of such grace was the Christ, in whom the claims of the dispensation of Law, in its typical form as the Jewish Thorah, were satisfied by death, while the Resurrection set the seal of God’s approval upon Christ’s fulfilment of righteousness (Rom. v. 17–19; 1 Cor. xv. 17) on the new and higher plane of filial obedience by love to God as Father.
Thus what the Law could not do, in its weakness in relation to the flesh, had been divinely achieved by God’s Son, the Messiah, in virtue of “the Spirit of life” in Him, which annulled “sin and death” in human nature (Rom. viii. 2–4), first in the flesh of Christ Himself as second Adam, and then in the humanity which should be united to Him as spiritual Head (1 Cor. xv. 45). This union was affected by faith, a profound receptivity whereby the personality of the Saviour became as it were the germ of the new moral personality of the believer. He was “in Christ” and Christ “in him” by a mutual spiritual interpenetration, begun on Christ’s side by vicarious self-sacrificing love, and consummated on the believer’s side by self-surrendering trust under the influence of the Spirit of God and Christ (Gal. ii. 26; Rom. viii. 9, 15 seq.).
Such mystic union by faith (cf. Eph. iii. 16–19) is the very nerve of Paulinism, having two main aspects. In its initial aspect, it is the real basis of justification (as radical sanctification) and regeneration; in its abiding aspect, it is the secret of progressive sanctification or assimilation to the image of Christ, Himself “the image of God.” To the one aspect corresponds the initial rite of baptism; to the other the recurring rite of communion in the Lord’s Supper. These have both an essentially corporate significance. It is as members of the mystical Body of Christ—or rather of the mystic Christ, consisting of Christ the Head and of His Body the Church—that believers, already united to the Head by faith, partake in these sacraments (1 Cor. xii. 12 seq., x. 16 seq.).
The keystone of all this is the Christ of God, the glorified Christ who appeared to Paul at his conversion, and in the rays of whose heavenly glory the earthly life of Jesus of Nazareth was ever seen. Here, as elsewhere, the mode of Paul’s conversion determined his whole perspective. It differentiated his emphasis from that of the older Judaeo-Christianity, which always started from the earthly manifestation, while it looked fixedly forward to the future manifestation in glory (of which the Resurrection appearances were the fore-gleams). To Paul the glorified Jesus or spirit-Christ (1 Cor. xv. 45; 2 Cor. iii. 18) of his vision became the Christ mystical of permanent, present Christian faith and experience. In union with Him the believer was already essentially “saved,” because possessed of Christ’s spirit of Sonship (Rom. viii. 9, 14–17, 30), although his redemption was not complete until the body was included, like the soul, in the penetrating “life” of the Spirit (viii. 23–25, 10 seq.). Accordingly he shifted the centre of gravity in Christian faith decisively from the future aspect of the Kingdom, to the present life of righteousness enjoyed by believers through “the first-fruits of the Spirit” in them. Here lay his great advance on Judaeo-Christianity, with its preponderant eschatological emphasis, along with a more external conception of Jesus, as Jewish Messiah, and of relation to Him. To this mode of thought Christ was not the very principle of the new filial righteousness. In a word, while Judaeo-Christianity only implicitly or unconsciously transcended legalism, Paulinism did so explicitly and consciously, thus safeguarding the future. For Paul’s religion was Christocentric in a sense unknown before. Compared with this, his distinctive attitude of soul to Christ, the exact metaphysical conception he formed of Christ’s pre-existence was secondary and conditioned by inherited modes of thought. His own specific contribution was his consciousness of Christ’s complete religious efficacy, which marked Him as essentially Divine, the Son of God in the highest sense conceivable under human conditions.
ii. Jesus and Paul.—In calling Paulinism “Christocentric,” one raises the question as to its relation to the Gospel proclaimed by Jesus. That Paul conceived himself as utterly dependent for his gospel upon Jesus the Christ, is not in doubt, but only how far he unconsciously modified the Gospel by making Christ its subject matter rather than its revealer. In one aspect this is but the question as to Paul’s attitude to the historic Jesus over again: yet it is more. Granting that Paul felt his gospel to be in essential agreement with the words and deeds of Jesus of Nazareth, as known to him, it remains to ask whether he did not put all into so fresh a perspective as to change the relative emphasis on points central to the teaching of Jesus, and so alter its spirit. A school of writers, by no means unappreciative of Paul as they understand him, of whom W. Wrede may be taken as example, answer that Paul so changed Christianity as to become its “second founder”—the real founder of ecclesiastical Christianity as distinct from the Christianity of Jesus. They say, “either Jesus or Paul: it cannot be both at once.” They urge not only that Paulinism is involved in certain “mythological” conceptions, by its view of sin, of redemption and of the pre-existent celestial person of the Redeemer; but also that, apart from the Rabbinic and anti-Rabbinic element in Paul, his whole mystical attitude towards Christ as the medium of redemption (an idea borrowed, they say, not from Jesus Himself but from the religion of the Mysteries) is alien to the sunny and sane teaching of Jesus as to God and man, and their true relations.
The essential issue here is this. Could Jesus the Messiah set forth the Gospel in the same perspective as a devoted disciple of His? Must not the personal embodiment of the life of the Messianic kingdom by Jesus Himself, and so His personality, become the prime medium through which this life in its essential features, and especially in its spirit of devoted love, attains and maintains its hold upon the souls of men? Surely the new life must appear most fully and movingly sub specie Christi; and the imitatio Christi, in an inner sense which finds in Him the very principle of the new Christian consciousness as to God and man, must be the most direct and morally potent means to the realization of the Christ-type. Thus to say that Paulinism is practically and proximately “Christocentric,” is not to deny that it is ultimately and theoretically “Theocentric,” if only Christ be regarded as the revealer of God the Father, and that in virtue of a special community of nature with Him as Son. It may be questioned whether Paul attained, or indeed had within his reach in that age, the best intellectual equivalent of his religious intuition of Christ as “mediator between God and man.” But it is another matter to question whether his intuition that the personality of the Christ Himself was the secret of the spiritual power latent in His Gospel, be a true interpretation of the Gospel as it appears even in the Synoptics. Thus the truth seems to lie rather with those who see in Paul “Jesus’s most genuine disciple” (H. Weinel), the one who best understood and reproduced His thought. True, Jesus’s Gospel is one seen through the sinless consciousness of the Saviour, while Paul’s is one seen through the eyes of a conscious sinner. But that is the perspective in which mankind generally has to view the Gospel; and apart from the special intensity of Paul’s personal experience of sin, the Gospel as it “found” him may surely be in principle the needful experimental complement to the Gospel as set forth in more ideal form by Jesus Himself. By restoring Jesus’s own stress upon “eternal life” as present rather than future, and that on lines other than those of obedience to a divine law, Paul saved Christianity from a judaizing of the universal and spiritual religion with which Jesus had in fact inspired His personal disciples, but which they had not been able to grasp.
No doubt there is another side to all this, the side of Paul’s idiosyncrasy, both religiously and as a thinker. The peculiar depth and form of Paul’s religious experience, especially as regards sin, have proved a limitation to his direct and full influence. While “numberless men have discovered themselves in reading Paul,” more have not been “found” by him; and of those who have felt the religious appeal of his writings, not a few have gravely misunderstood the theoretic setting of his message. Indeed misunderstanding, one way or another, was Paul’s usual lot in the ancient Church, as regards his most distinctive ideas, due partly to the difficult form in which some of those ideas were couched. But to say this is little more than saying that Paulinism is a less universal form of the Gospel than that given it by his Master Jesus Christ. To do full justice to Paulinism in this respect, we must compare it with other interpretations of Jesus and His Gospel in the age immediately ensuing. At the one extreme stands Judaeo-Christianity (so far as uninfluenced by Paul), with its ultra-conservatism and undeveloped spirituality; at the other Gnosticism, with its ultra-spiritualism, born of a rigid dualism and defective sense for historical continuity in revelation. Between these stands Paul, blending the positive ideas of both in a religious unity of immense ethical power and initiative; while the other and intermediate types represented in the New Testament—by 1 Peter, Hebrews and the Johannine writings—all testify to his pervasive influence.
Literature.—For this in anything like its immense range, reference may be made to the articles “Paul” in Hastings’s Dict. Bible, the Ency. Bib., A. Hauck’s Realencyklopädie (Zahn); to R. J. Knowling’s Witness of the Epistles (1892) and The Testimony of St Paul to Christ (1905), and C. Clemen, Paulus (1904), the footnotes of which are a mine of information on this subject. Besides these, the leading works on New Testament introduction or theology and on the apostolic age deal largely with Paul, and often contain bibliographies. The following works may be taken as fairly typical:—
1. For Paul’s Life: A. Neander, Gesch. der Pflanzung . . . der christl. Kirche, vol. i. (4th ed., 1847; Eng. trans, in Bohn’s Library), and Lives by F. C. Baur (1845, 1866); G. V. Lechler, Das apost. . . . Zeitalter (1851; 3rd ed., 1885; Eng. trans. 1886); E. Renan (1869); T. Lewin (1851, 1874, rich in archaeology); Conybeare and Howson (1852 and later); H. Ewald, History of Israel (vol. vi., 3rd ed., 1868); M. Krenkel (1869); A. Hausrath (2nd ed., 1872); F. W. Farrar (1879); A. Sabatier (2nd ed., 1881); K. Schmidt, Die Apostelgesch. (vol. i., 1882); C. Weizsäcker, Das apost. Zeitalter (1886; Eng. trans., 1894); W. M. Ramsay, St Paul the Traveller and Roman Citizen (1896); A. C. McGiffert, The Apostolic Age (1897); O. Cone (1898); C. Clemen (1904); B. W. Bacon (1905). Some of these deal largely with Paul’s teaching.
2. For Paul’s Teaching: L. Usteri, Die Entwickelung des paulinischen Lehrbegriffs (1824; 6th ed. 1851); Baur’s Paulus (1845, 1866); A. Ritschl, Die Entsteh. d. altkath. Kirche (2nd ed., 1857); E. Reuss, Hist. de la théol. chrét. au siècle apostolique, tome ii. (3rd ed., 1864; Eng. trans., 1872); B. Jowett, essays in his Epistles of St Paul to the Thess., &c. (2nd ed., 1859); C. Holsten, Zum Evang. d. Paulus u. Petrus (1868), &c.; J. B. Lightfoot, dissertations in his Commentaries; Matthew Arnold, St Paul and Protestantism (1870); O. Pfleiderer, Der Paulinismus (1873; Eng. trans. 1877), also Hibbert Lecture (1885) and Das Urchristentum, vol. i. (2nd ed., 1902; Eng. trans., 1907); A. Sabatier, L’Apôtre Paul (1881); E. Ménégoz, Le Péché et la rédemption d’après S. Paul (1882); J. F. Clarke, The Ideas of the Apostle Paul (1884); G. B. Stevens, The Pauline Theology (1892); A. B. Bruce, St Paul’s Conception of Christianity (1894); C. C. Everett, The Gospel of Paul; G. Matheson, The Spiritual Development of St Paul; P. Feine, Das gesetzfreie Evang. des Paulus (1899); brief sketches by W. Bousset, H. Weinel, W. Wrede, P. Wernle (also his Anfänge unserer Religion, 1901; Eng. trans., 1904), and A. Jülicher (in Die Kultur der Gegenwart, 1905, I. iv. i, 69–97); but especially W. Sanday, article “Paul” in Dict. of Christ and the Gospels (1908), where the literature bearing on “Jesus and Paul” will be found. For commentaries, see under the several epistles. (J. V. B.)
- This, since the full success of the Maccabaean reaction more than a century before, was determined by the Pharisaic notion of the Law, as a rigorous and technical method of attaining “righteousness” before God by correctness of religious conduct. But this ideal represented only one stream of the religion of the original Chasidim, or “pious ones” of the Psalms (see Assideans). The simpler form in which their piety lived on in less official circles, was that amidst which John the Baptist and Jesus himself were reared. It breathes in the more popular literature of edification represented by the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, as well as in Luke i., ii.
- The method which reverses this relation, using the “we” passages of Acts to discredit the epistles of Paul (as well as the rest of Acts), is a mere tour de force, which has received artificial vogue by incorporation in the Encyclopaedia Biblica, and to a less degree in the external and partial article “Saul of Tarsus” in the Jewish Encyclopaedia. The essential harmony of the epistles and Acts has been shown afresh by A. Harnack, Die Apostelgeschichte (1908).
- Probably as member of the Jewish “tribe” dating from the Seleucid colony planted there in 171 B.C. (Ramsay).
- The main difficulty in deciding on this, as on other points of contact between Paul and Hellenism, is the fact that he certainly got many of his Greek ideas through the medium of Judaeo-Greek or Hellenistic literature, like the Wisdom of Solomon (cf. Romans i. 18–ii. fin.). It is clear from the way in which he uses the Greek Bible, even where it diverges wrongly from the original, that he was reared on it rather than on the Hebrew text.
- Here Galatians (i. 18 sqq.) emphasizes its own special points of interest, in that Saul stayed only a fortnight and saw of the apostolic leaders none save Peter and James the Lord’s brother; whereas Acts, in its popular account of the more public side of his visit, conveys a rather different effect, yet one not incompatible with what he himself relates.
- It is likely that some at least of the five scourgings in synagogues referred to in 2 Cor. xi. 24, befell him during this period. Many Jews would resent not only the preaching of a crucified Messiah, but also the filching from them of their proselytes.
- The present writer now believes that “Hellenists,” the better supported reading (see Acts), is yet secondary, being due to assimilation to preceding usage in vi. 1, ix. 29, and possibly also to misinterpretation of the turning to the Gentiles in xiii. 46.
- How essential a mark of true piety such conduct was in the eyes of Jews at this time is well known. A synonym for almsgiving was “righteousness” (cf. Matt. vi. 1 seq.); it is specially praised, in the Pirke Aboth, along with Thorah and divine worship, as the “three things on which the world rests”; while in Baba Bathra 10 b. we read, “As sin-offering makes atonement for Israel, so alms for the Gentiles.” In the light of this, confirmed by Acts x. 2, 4, in the case of Cornelius, it seems that the reference in Gal. ii. 10 is to deeds of charity generally, as a token of genuine piety in Messianic proselytes, just as in ordinary Jewish ones; for the primitive Judaeo-Christian community was most earnest on the point: cf. Acts ii. 44 seq., iv. 32–37.
- Sir W. M. Ramsay would identify the visit of Gal. ii. 1–10 with the relief visit itself (a view differing but little in effect from that given above); but most scholars identify it with Acts xv., in spite of Gal. i. 22 seq. compared with Acts xi. 30, xii. 25.
- For these, their history and significance in connexion with each of the cities studied, see Sir W. M. Ramsay, The Cities of St Paul (1907).
- Naturally Paul would have a regular address which he used with minor variations in beginning his mission in any local synagogue; and this Luke has in substance preserved for us here. For its authenticity, see Sir W. M. Ramsay, op. cit. 303 sqq.; compare A. Sabatier, L’Apôtre Paul (3rd ed., 1896), p. 89, for disproof of dependence on Stephen’s speech.
- For this as the spirit of these rules, whatever their exact origin, see Hort, Judaistic Christianity, pp. 68 sqq. They thus correspond to the “remembrance of the poor” in the earlier agreement between “the Pillars” and Paul in Gal. ii. 10.
- The region to which some think the Epistle to the Galatians Paul enters Europe. (see s.v.) was addressed—so modifying the older “North Galatian” theory of Bishop Lightfoot and others.
- As Sir W. M. Ramsay argues in his Cities of St Paul, pp. 425–429.
- This is the view favoured by archaeologists like Ernst Curtius (Expositor, vii. 4. 436 sqq.) and Sir W. M. Ramsay. On the whole it suits the narrative better than the view which regards the Hill of Ares simply as a good spot for one of those rhetorical “displays” in which Athenians delighted.
- This date (and so Ramsay’s chronology from this point) is confirmed by a fresh inscription showing that Gallio was proconsul from 52–53 (spring), rather than 51–52; see Expositor for May 1909, pp. 467–469.
- Yet compare “the Way” (Acts xix. 9, 23), or “the Way of the Lord” (xviii. 25) as a name for Christianity on its practical side. So Sergius Paulus was “astonished at the Teaching (didache) of the Lord,” xiii. 12; cf. Tit. i. 8 seq.
- The affirmative is maintained by the so-called Religionseschichtliche Schule in particular. The more general verdict is “not proven.”
- In this light his polling of his head before embarking at Cenchreae in token of a vow of special self-consecration (to be redeemed at the end of a month in Jerusalem itself; cf. Josephus, Jewish War, II. xv. 1), is significant of his feelings as to the critical nature of the visit, including danger from Jewish fanaticism during a voyage probably on the eve of a feast (say Pentecost), for which he went up on his later visit (Acts. xx. 16).
- We may doubt whether Paul himself countenanced the practices by which some believed that they drew magical virtue from his person (xviii. 12). But he did perform what he, in common with his age, believed to be the exorcism of evil spirits, as the story of Sceva’s sons itself implies (xix. 13 sqq.).
- On the question whether this letter has been lost (as here assumed), or on the other hand has been partially preserved in 2 Cor. x.–xiii., see Corinthians.
- This is a valuable datum not only for Paul’s own loyalty to the usages of Jewish piety, but also for the chronology of his life, as showing in the light of what follows the day of the week on which Passover fell that year, and so tending to fix the year as 56 or 57 (see above, Chronology).
- These chapters contain passages as vivid and circumstantial as any in the “we” sections. As to the speeches, their fidelity naturally varies with the circumstances of delivery; but in all there is that which could not be Luke’s free composition. The verisimilitude of the demonstration of Paul’s personal loyalty to forms of Jewish piety in connexion with the four men under vows (xxi. 23–27) is complete, especially in view of Paul’s own vow at Cenchreae and his regard for Jewish feasts; and even Paul’s non-recognition of the high priest in what was not a regular session of the Sanhedrin (xxiii. 2–5), is quite probable. Other points hardly merit notice here; see Knowling’s Testimony of St Paul, lect. xx.
- That he regarded Paul as endowed with superhuman powers, both of premonition and of healing (as in Malta), is evident, even if in his mind, like that of most ancients, “the line between the miraculous and the providential quite vanishes away”—as B. W. Bacon says (Story of St Paul, p. 214) relative to xxviii. 3–5, comparing also the case of Eutychus’ “insensibility.” But if so, why not apply this to the earthquake at Philippi also?
- Of this we have a hint in the “empty words” alluded to in Eph. v. 6 (perhaps also iv. 14), probably of the same sort as in 1 Cor. vi. 12–14, just as the denial by Hymenaeus and Philetus in 2 Tim. ii. 17 seq. of any resurrection, save that of the spirit in conversion (cf. Eph. v. 14), finds its earlier parallel in 1 Cor. xv. 12, 32–34.
- Add the fact that Clement (ch. vi.) conceives Paul as being joined in the place of reward by the Neronian martyrs, and therefore as martyred not later than summer 64. No theory of the Pastorals, therefore, based on Clement’s witness, can place Paul’s death after this date.
- Also with 1 Pet., if Dr H. B. Swete (Comm. on St Mark, 1898, p. xvii.) is right in saying that it implies Paul’s death; for 1 Pet. probably dates from 62–63 (see Dr Hort’s Comm.).
- It is quite likely that Timothy left Ephesus for Rome before receiving 1 Tim,, since he was with Paul when Colossians and Philippians were written, the former at least in the summer of 60 (see Philem. 22).
- It seems best to take iv. 13–15 as all part of this letter, rather than as part of the note from which iv. 20, 21a probably comes (see above). The homely details follow naturally enough on the reference to Mark; while the reference to Alexander is so far borne out by Heb. xiii. 23, which suggests that Timothy was accused on his arrival in Rome.
- See Lightfoot, Galatians, pp. 183 sqq., who cites King Alfred as a parallel; and Hastings’s Dict. Bible, iii. 701. Sir W. M. Ramsay, St Paul the Traveller, pp. 94 sqq., prefers “a species of chronic malarial fever,” connecting it specially with the attack mentioned in Gal. iv. 13 sqq.
- One of the best critical summaries of “Pauline Theology” is that by E. Hatch in the Ency. Brit. 9th ed.
- The whole history of Christianity is proof that the personality of Jesus has counted for more in producing Christians than his teaching per se, that is, his Gospel in the narrower sense. And it was Paul, not the older apostles, who first concentrated attention on that personality as the type and pledge of man’s potential sonship to God.
- See S. Means, Saint Paul and the ante-Nicene Church (1903).