Bible Think

Paul - Witness to the Gospel

The Apostle Paul wrote about a quarter of the New Testament and is the subject of about half of the book of the Acts of the Apostles. He took the message of the Gospel into Southern Turkey and Greece and founded many congregations there. He is also the most attacked figure in the New Testament, mainly because some of his writings are not considered politically correct, but also because he is such an important figure in early Christianity and is a much easier target than Jesus. However, the evidence to support the Apostleship of Paul is overwhelming.

Reliability of the Accounts

There are two sources for the life and work of Paul. These are the Acts of the Apostles and Paul’s own letters. It is clear that the Acts of the Apostles fits the archaeology of the area very well indeed.

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Paul - Witness to the Gospel

During his travels Paul visited a many different cities. These were often governed in traditional ways left over from before they had been brought into the Roman Empire. Each city had different offices and titles; little record was kept of this in Rome, and the modes of government and titles changed from time to time. In some of these cities archaeologists have found inscriptions which give the titles of the governors and chief men. These agree exactly with Luke’s account in Acts.

The accuracy of the accounts in Acts and the letters of Paul are also seen in the existence of many undesigned coincidences. Together these are extremely good evidence for reliability.

The “We” Passages

One of the features of Acts is that some parts of it are written in the firs person - these passages include the word “We”, which implies that the writer accompanied the Apostle through this part of his travels. The “We” passages are:-

The existence of these passages indicates that Luke was an eyewitness to at least some of the events that are recorded in Acts.

Paul’s Change of Direction

Immediately after the resurrection of Jesus, Paul was opposed to Christianity and the message of the Apostles, along with many others of the Jerusalem religious establishment. The consequence was a persecution of the church, and Paul was one of the main actors in the persecution. Paul confirms this in his own writings:-

For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.  (Galatians 1:13)

 

However, by the end of 33AD Paul had changed his direction and began to proclaim the Gospel. The reason for this was also written by Paul:-

Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.  (1 Corinthians 15:8)

 

Paul’s life was changed by an encounter with the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus. It is this that caused him to proclaim the Good News of the resurrection to people throughout the Roman World and to overcome considerable hardship to do it. Paul’s letters provide the evidence of an eyewitness, written in his own words.

The Writings of Paul

Paul’s letters deal with problems in the congregations that Paul founded and continued to support for the rest of his life. They present answers to the problems of these congregations, but many of these are problems in the modern day as well. We also can learn from Paul.

Acts and  Letters

Evidence to show that the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of the Apostles are accurate pictures of the times and events that they report.

Dating the New Testament

This uses the close correspondences betwen the letters that Paul and the other Apostles wrote and the book of Acts to work out the dates of the letters in the New Testament. These books were clearly written in the lifetimes of the Apostles.

Undesigned Coincidences

These are insignificant details in the narrative which correspond with other insignificant details elsewhere. They only occur in accurately remembered accounts of real events, and not in fiction. A considerable number of  undesigned coincidences appears in Acts and the Epistles.

Archaeology and Acts

The Epistles, and especially the book of the Acts of the Apostles contain information about a multitude of cities and provinces of the early Roman Empire. Some of these have been excavated by archaeologists; the correspondences are very convincing. Click here for more.

Home Page

Click here to link to the website home page.

Paul in One Page

Click here to download a single page document which summarises the evidence for the apostleship of Paul.

Paul - Apostle of Impostor?

A pdf file of a magazine-length article showing the evidence to support the Apostleship of Paul.

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