Hello Welcome to the sample of week 1 of the Master of St. Paul program. Each week, for 20 weeks, you will receive a discourse that talks about the Life of St. Paul. You will be receiving an email for this course approximately once a week. If for any reason you don’t receive one, please wrie-send your material.
This text will outline the book of Acts primarily, especially concerning the life of Saint Paul during the early formative years of the Christian Church and his missionary journeys; the trials and sufferings in which he had to endure, and his endeavors to preach and teach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The outcome of this course will be to become familiar with the formation of the early Church, the life, as it may have been, for the early missionaries, and a look at the life of Paul the Apostle and his contributions made to bring Christ to the world.
In the some six thousand years or more of human history various and sundry voices clamor for our attention and consideration, both secular and religious. The majority of these men and women of destiny; famous or infamous, have been given a niche in history’s “hall of fame” and other voices have arisen to cry forth, by written word or verbally, their fame or infamy. It would be extremely difficult; almost impossible, to determine which one of these men or women, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ himself, rose to the greatest height in the story of “man’s inhumanity to man.”
Beyond question one of the greatest of these voices, which the world had ever heard was that of the Apostle Paul. It is a well-established fact that he became by far the dominating figure of the Apostolic Age. Peter was great; John was great; most of the Disciples and many of the Christians of that day achieved greatness uncommon to the average individual, but Paul was greater. Even a haphazard perusal of New Testament history will confirm this truth.
This exceeding greatness of Paul was realized as the direct result of his utter abandonment to the command of Christ which states that he who loses his life “for My sake” shall “find it.” That is to say, Paul achieved his greatness “the hard way.” From nearly every city and town which he visited, he was violently driven out, only to reappear in due course of time, intrepid, unafraid, unflinchingly sure of the cause he espoused. These many painful and often heart-breaking sufferings only made him the stronger.
His ultimate success was, therefore, the working out of one of the phenomena of Christian experience. That is, to those who trust their life is immortal and their success assured until their earthly activities, as purposed and planned by God, are completed; however, such success as that attained by Paul requires the “Pauline spirit.” Saul of Tarsus was an individual possessed of such vehemence and power that he quickly became the leading force in whatever circle of humanity he moved, whether as Saul the persecuting Pharisee or Paul the laboring, mistreated missionary. Such was his determination and driving force that, if as he said he was the “chief of sinners”, he became the “chief of saints.”
Becoming the “chief of saints” was the success achieved by Paul because of his pursuance of two vitally important avenues of Christian experience:
(1) He became the interpreter of Christ, speaking the words that Christ himself would have said under the circumstances.
(2) By following that doctrinal and theological school of thought which, in a word, was nothing more than the explanation of his own, personal conversion. These two truths explain the reasons for Paul’s outstanding success in Christian living, preaching, and teaching.
In the process of this Christian living, preaching, and teaching Divine Providence brought Paul to the civilizations of the West rather than those of the Eastern, Oriental world. The fate of the Western world, it may be said in regards to its whole religious and secular history, was decided the moment Paul crossed the Aegean Sea and journeyed over into Greece and Rome. Thus, in bringing Paul West, Divine Providence gave to Europe, and eventually to the Americas and the whole world, a blessed priority.
But the bringing and establishment of this blessed priority could never have been achieved had there been no Paul. The secret of the successful planting of the Gospel Seed in Western Europe depended upon an individual such as the Apostle Paul, who possessed the sense of having the world’s most vital mission and, as well, a freedom alike from the bondage of bigotry and the bondage of liberty with which bondage the world of his day was terribly cursed.
As the eyes of God ran to and fro over the sons of men it was obvious that Saul of Tarsus was the man for the hour and one of whom He said “He is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings and the children of Israel; for I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9 verse 15-16).
Bearing His name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel became the life ambition of Saul of Tarsus, being reborn as Paul the Apostle. rs, in addition to the text.
TABULAR MEMOIR OF SAINT PAUL
There is no denying that there has existed a considerable amount of discussion concerning the chronology of Saint Paul’s life. Notwithstanding, without herein entering into the question, the following are the dates as they ordinarily appear in the standard editions of most Bibles; it is possible, and no doubt probable, that two years should be subtracted from each date given.
Recorded Events In Chronological Order
Born at Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia.
Acts 22 verse 3
Learns the trade of tentmaking.
Acts 18 verse 3
Taught according to “the perfect manner of the Fathers” by Gamaliel.
Acts 22 verse 3
31 and 32
While yet a “young man” he participates vigorously in the persecution of Christians.
Acts 7 verse 58; 8 verse 1, 3, 5; 26 verse 9-12
Yet breathing out threatening and slaughter, he seeks and obtains a commission from the High Priest to go into Damascus on his cruel errand of persecution.
Acts 9 verse 1-2 verse 22 verse 4
Near Damascus, a vivid, miraculous light shines from heaven and blinds him, and Saul and his company fall to the earth. Jesus appears to him and converses with him, directing him to go into the city to learn what he was to do.
He arises and is led into Damascus, where he remains blind three days. Ananias, being sent by the Lord, comes to Saul, restores his sight and baptizes him.
Acts 9 verse 7-18; 22 verse 11-16
In Arabia and Damascus
Then, Being thus born again, he retires to Arabia for a season, and returning to Damascus, at once enters upon his Apostolic labors, preaching Christ in the synagogues of Damascus, exciting the amazement of the multitude, and increasing the more in spiritual strength, he confounds the Jews.
Acts 9 verse 20-22; Galatians 1 verse 17
The Jews of Damascus lie in wait day and night to kill him, but he escapes by being let down in a basket at night.
Acts 9 verse 23-25; Second Corinthians 11 verse 33
He proceeds to Jerusalem, where the Disciples are at first afraid of him, but being convinced of the change in the character of Paul, receive him into their fellowship
Acts 9 verse 26-30
He preaches boldly; the Jews of Jerusalem seek his life, and he escapes to his native city.
Acts 9 verse 29-30
43 – Antioch
Barnabas goes to Tarsus after him, and they proceed to Antioch, where they remain a whole year and establish the first Gentile Church (here the title “Christian” is first applied to the disciples)
Acts 11 verse 25-26
Paul and Barnabas carry relief to the poor brethren in Judea.
Acts 11 verse 29-30
Having fulfilled their charge, they return to Antioch. John and Mark accompany them.
Acts 12 verse 25
45 – Salamis
Paul and Barnabas are set apart by the Church of Antioch, as commanded by the Holy Ghost, for missionary work among the Gentiles; they start on their first tour, taking Mark with them; at Salamis they preach in the synagogue.
Acts 13 verse 1-5
At Paphos, Elymas (Bar-Jesus), the sorcerer, is struck blind, and Sergius Paulus, the proconsul, is converted.
Acts 13 verse 6-12
Then they go to Perga, in Pamphylia, where Mark leaves them.
Acts 13 verse 13
46 – Antioch
Thence they go to Antioch in Pisidia, where Paul preaches with good effect a powerful sermon to the Jews, which, by request of the Gentiles, he repeats to them the following Sabbath with marked success.
Acts 13 verse 14-18
Thence to Iconium, where they make a great many converts.
Acts 13 verse 51; 14 verse 1
Lystra - Derbe
They go to Lystra and Derbe; at the former Paul cures the man who had been lame from birth. The people regard the Apostles as gods, and are with difficulty restrained from offering sacrifice to them.
Acts 14 verse 2-18
47 – Derbe
Not long after, some Jews, from Antioch (in Pisidia) and Iconium, induce the fickle people of Lystra to stone Paul; they leave him, supposing him dead, but he recovers miraculously, and he and Barnabas go to Derbe.
Acts 14 verse 19-20
48 – Antioch
Thence they go again via Lystra, etc. to Perga, in Pamphylia, and into Attalia, and then return to Syrian-Antioch. Thus ends Paul’s first missionary tour, and he remains at Antioch for about four years.
Acts 14 verse 21-28
Paul attends the Church Council held at Jerusalem to decide about the circumcision of the Gentile converts.
Acts 15 verse 1-21
Paul, with a number of others, goes back to Antioch, bearing the decision to the Gentile Churches in Syria and Cilicia.
Acts 15 verse 22-35
His second missionary tour commences.
Acts 15 verse 36-40
Derbe – Lystra
He passes through Syria and Cilicia to Derbe and Lystra, where he meets with Timothy, whom he takes with him on his tour. He travels from city to city, accomplishing much good.
Acts 16 verse 1-7
Troas – Philippi
At Troas, Like joins the company, and in response to a vision Paul goes into Macedonia; at Philippi, Lydia is converted, she and her family are baptized, and she constrains the Apostle and his party to abide at her house. Paul exorcises a spirit of divination from a young girl, whose masters bring him and Silas before the magistrate; they are beaten and cast into prison, their feet are put into stocks. At midnight the prison doors are miraculously opened and their bonds loosed; the jailer is converted; he and his family are baptized.
Acts 16 verse 8-34
In the morning they are released and depart from Philippi, going to Thessalonica, where Paul makes many converts.
Acts 16 verse 35; 17 verse 4
Paul and his company go to Berea, where they are very successful.
Acts 17 verse 5-12
Thence to Athens, where Paul delivers a powerful sermon, making, however, but few converts.
Acts 17 verse 13-34
55 – Corinth
He soon goes to Corinth, here preaches on the Sabbaths; among the converts, considerable in number, is chief ruler of the synagogue – Crispus; the Lord appears to Paul and encourages him in the work; he remains in this city a year and a half.
Acts 18 verse 1-17
He goes to Ephesus; thence touching at Caesarea, he hastens to Jerusalem, and returns to Antioch. After a brief rest, he makes a rapid tour (the third) through Galatia and Phrygia.
Acts 19 verse 1-20
56-58 – Ephesus
He goes again to Ephesus, where he baptizes in Jesus’ name 12 of John the Baptist’s disciples, and they receive the Holy Ghost; he preaches upwards of two years in the school of Tyrannus; “God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul”; his success here is wonderful, especially after God has discomforted certain vagabond Jewish exorcists who strive to work miracles similar to his.
Acts 19 verse 1-20
Paul leaves Ephesus and visits Macedonia and Greece; then returns to Philippi.
Acts 19 verse 21; 20 verse 5
60 – Troas Miletus
He goes to Troas, where Eutychus is killed by a fall from the window of a room where Paul was preaching, and is restored to life by the Apostle; he sails to Miletus; here sending for the pastors of the Church at Ephesus and delivers to them a solemn charge, moving them so that they “wept sore and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him.”
Acts 20 verse 6-38
Thence they sail to Caesarea, where Agabus foretells what awaits Paul at Jerusalem; nevertheless he goes to Jerusalem.
Acts 21 verse 1-26
Paul is seized and cast out of the Temple by a mob, but is rescues by a Roman Officer and as he is being dragged to the castle, he is granted permission to speak to the multitude, and, standing on the steps, makes his defense in a speech that for grand eloquence and power has seldom been equaled. Being arraigned before the Sanhedrin, Paul skillfully sets his judges at variance, and is again taken in charge by the Roman authorities; the Lord appears to him and encourages him; telling him that he is to bear witness at Rome. A conspiracy is entered into by certain Jews to kill Paul, but is frustrated by his nephew and the Roman Officer, Lysius.
Acts 21 verse 27; 23 verse 35; 27 verse 29
He is arraigned before Felix, Tertullus makes a plausible speech of accusation, which Paul effectually answers; Felix defers the case; he keeps Paul a prisoner for two years, and on vacating his office leaves Paul bound.
Paul is arraigned successively before Festus and Agrippa; though guilty of no crime, he, having appealed to Caesar, they cannot release him.
Acts 25 – 26
Paul is sent, a prisoner, on board a ship bound for Rome; predicts the perils of the voyage; they are wrecked on Malta. Here Paul is bitten by a viper without injury; cures the father of Publius of a fever, and heals others.
Acts 27; 28 verse 10
63 – Rome – 65
They sail after three months’ delay for Rome; where they arrive without further incident and Paul is delivered to the captain of the guard, who suffers him to live by himself with but a single soldier as a guard. Paul preaches to the chief of the Jews, and subsequently he continues to teach in his lodging; he dwells two years in his own hired house; “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.”
Acts 28 verse 11-31
Study the Introduction in the text, and then complete the following:
Underline the name of the person who is considered to be the greatest to come out of the Apostolic age:
Peter - Paul - John - Jesus
This exceeding greatness of Paul was realized as the direct result of his
Though he had been “the chief of _________”, he became the “chief of ___________”.
As the outstanding figure of the Apostolic Age the Apostle Paul achieved success because he was careful to accomplish two extremely important Christian works. They were:
He spoke the words that ____________ would have spoken.
He never ceased to give everyone he met an explanation of what had happened as a result of his own, personal ____________.
Under the guiding hand of God the Apostle Paul was caused to direct his activities toward and bring God’s message to civilizations of (Underline 1)
The North - The West - The South - The East
From the textbook complete the following sentence which begins: “The fate of the Western world, ___________________
One of the outstanding features of the Apostle Paul is that he possessed the sense of ____________________.
Write out God’s explanation of the ministry of the Apostle Paul which is found in Acts 9:15-16: (quote)
When you have written out this Scripture, underline the three groups of people to whom Paul was to minister.