Paul’s lack of interest in the physical life of Jesus is often explained as a consequence of 2 Corinthians 5:16 “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Chrsit according to the flesh, yet now we know him thus no longer.”
Fair enough, let’s accept that. But then what does that say about Paul himself?
One might think after reading 2 Cor. 5:16 that his focus is always on Christ in heaven and that one’s earthly existence is not worth thinking about, let alone study.
But not so. Paul was clearly interested in using his own life in the flesh as a model of the life of Christ for his readers. Philippians 1:20 “So now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life of by death”. He is keen to talk about how his own life in the flesh shares in the “fellowship of Christ’s sufferings” (Phil.3:8-10).
Paul will not hesitate to boast about his life in the flesh when it comes to proving his authority over his churches (2 Cor.11:22-33) but cannot find anything he must have heard about the life or teachings of Christ to persuade his readers to keep the faith.
So Paul thinks his own life demonstrates Christ more effectively than Christ’s life itself ever did for the benefit of his readers? Continue reading “Paul believed his own life was of more value than Christ’s”
The first we-passage: Acts 16:10-17
“Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them. Therefore, sailing from Troas, we ran a straight course to Samothrace, and the next day came to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, a colony. And we were staying in that city for some days. And on the Sabbath day we went out of the city to the riverside, where prayer was customarily made; and we sat down and spoke to the women who met there. Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshipped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household were baptized, she begged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she constrained us. Now it happened, as we went to prayer, that a certain slave girl possessed with a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much profit by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and us, and cried out, saying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to us the way of salvation.”” (New King James Version)
The First “We” reference:
The anonymous “we” intrudes unexpectedly here after Paul’s party, hitherto addressed as “they”, have completed their Jerusalem-ordained mission. After delivering the Jerusalem decrees (Acts 15:23, 30, 41) to these churches and seeing them all now duly strengthened and prospering happily — “so the churches were strengthened in the faith, and increased in number daily” (16:5 – c.f. 2:46-47; 5:42; 6:7; 12:24; 14:21-22) — Paul’s party, “they”, suddenly find themselves lost in a maze. Everywhere they turn leads to a dead-end. Continue reading “The We-Passages in Acts: a Roman Audience Interpretation. Pt 5”