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Thread: How is Paul an Apostle?

  1. #1

    How is Paul an Apostle?

    I haven't finished the new testament yet, however I know the story of Paul. He was a pharisee out to persecute the disciples and apostles but heard thevoice of god, looked up and saw Jesus and then joined Peter and the apostles. HOwever Paul never witnessed Jesus in the flesh prior to the resurection. I though Apostle stood for first witnesses. The Disciples were their followers, but it seems like PAul would more likely be a disciple? Ignacious is not called an apostle yet he lived and spread the word. So what makes Paul the rank of apostle?

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    Actually Paul was a Pharisee, and he would have seen Jesus before the resurrection. He was made an apostle in Acts 13:2 by the Holy Spirit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John27 View Post
    I haven't finished the new testament yet, however I know the story of Paul. He was a pharisee out to persecute the disciples and apostles but heard thevoice of god, looked up and saw Jesus and then joined Peter and the apostles. HOwever Paul never witnessed Jesus in the flesh prior to the resurection. I though Apostle stood for first witnesses. The Disciples were their followers, but it seems like PAul would more likely be a disciple? Ignacious is not called an apostle yet he lived and spread the word. So what makes Paul the rank of apostle?
    Hi John 27,

    The word apostle means "one sent", so an apostle of Christ is one sent by Christ. The original eleven were sent at the Great Commission. Paul however, as you noted saw Christ on the road to Damascus, at this point he was sent to Damascus to wait for Ananias, After which he was baptized and went into the desert where He received direct revelation from Christ. The gospel was given to Paul through revelation. Paul was chosen by Christ to spread the gospel,

    Acts 9:12-17 ( KJV )
    And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
    Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
    And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
    But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for 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.
    And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

    Hope this helps.

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    Galatians 1:11-20 explains this. God's plans for Paul was for him to preach to the Gentiles. After his experience in Damascus, Paul spent three years in Arabia. He was prepared for ministry by the Lord (the previous statement said he did not go back to Jerusalem or to the apostles)

    Since Paul was an extremely zealous Jew and one that was leader among his people it is likely he saw Jesus' ministry. He was present during Stephan's death in Acts 7 as he was watching closely what the Christians were doing.
    Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.
    Psalm 62:5

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    Quote Originally Posted by John27 View Post
    I haven't finished the new testament yet, however I know the story of Paul. He was a pharisee out to persecute the disciples and apostles but heard thevoice of god, looked up and saw Jesus and then joined Peter and the apostles. HOwever Paul never witnessed Jesus in the flesh prior to the resurection. I though Apostle stood for first witnesses. The Disciples were their followers, but it seems like PAul would more likely be a disciple? Ignacious is not called an apostle yet he lived and spread the word. So what makes Paul the rank of apostle?
    I don't think seeing Jesus prior to the resurrection is a requirement to be an apostle. After Judas died, the eleven remaining chose one to take Judas' place, Matthias (Acts 1).

    Paul refers to himself as an apostle 'by the will of God' in several of his epistles (Romans, 1&2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, etc.). However, I don't think he was boasting or bragging. In his own words:


    "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
    And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
    And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
    After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
    After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
    And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.
    For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
    But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
    " (1 Corinthians 15:3-10)


    Paul saw Jesus after the Resurrection, and spoke with Him. So did Matthias, who was chosen as an apostle. So, I think he is a legitimate apostle, not just a disciple.
    If the Book be not infallible, where shall we find infallibility? ... Are these correctors of Scriptures infallible? Is it certain that our Bibles are not right, but that the critics must be so? ... We shall gradually be so bedoubted and be criticized that only a few of the most profound will know what is Bible and what is not, and they will dictate to the rest of us. I have no more faith in their mercy than in their accuracy... and we are fully assured that our old English version of the Scriptures is sufficient for plain men for all purposes of life, salvation, and goodness. - C.H.Spurgeon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butch5 View Post
    But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
    Good reference, brother.
    If the Book be not infallible, where shall we find infallibility? ... Are these correctors of Scriptures infallible? Is it certain that our Bibles are not right, but that the critics must be so? ... We shall gradually be so bedoubted and be criticized that only a few of the most profound will know what is Bible and what is not, and they will dictate to the rest of us. I have no more faith in their mercy than in their accuracy... and we are fully assured that our old English version of the Scriptures is sufficient for plain men for all purposes of life, salvation, and goodness. - C.H.Spurgeon

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    Apostle Paul

    Something else to think about is that there were 12 apostles appointed as we see Matthias was elected as the 12th and aproved by the Holy spirit, how then was Paul made the 13th apostle?

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    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzi View Post
    Good reference, brother.
    Thanks! I appreciate it.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Eben View Post
    Something else to think about is that there were 12 apostles appointed as we see Matthias was elected as the 12th and aproved by the Holy spirit, how then was Paul made the 13th apostle?
    I think you're getting disciple mixed up with apostle. There were only the 12 disciples. There appear to be many apostles:

    http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_apostles_were_there

    Quote Originally Posted by WikiAnswers (emphasis mine)
    The Long Answer: The Greek word "apostolos" is used in reference to at least 20 different individuals. The twelve Apostles whom Jesus called, Mattihas who took the place of Judas Iscariot (Acts 2:15-26), Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:14), Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25, "messenger"), Titus (2 Corinthians 8:23, "messenger"), Timotheus and Silvanus (I Thessalonians 1:1-6) and most importantly, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 3:1).

    I would submit that the real question should not be "How many WERE there?", but rather, "How many ARE there?. If we consider Ephesians 4:13, we have to ask ourselves, "Have Christians all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto a perfect man?" If the answer is "NO," then the offices and purposes given in verses 11-12 must still be in effect.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by NotMyOwn View Post
    Actually Paul was a Pharisee, and he would have seen Jesus before the resurrection. He was made an apostle in Acts 13:2 by the Holy Spirit.
    I'd say this is a bit of speculation. I can't find a single instance in which Paul says he saw Christ before he was crucified. This is a certain thing that we can't simply assume if he doesn't actually say as such. Maybe Paul was at Christ's trial, or crucifixion, or maybe he saw Christ on the cross from afar, and maybe he had heard about Christ from individuals who had seen him... but since he doesn't actually say, we shouldn't assume it.

    Besides, how does the fact that Paul was a Pharisee mean he wasn't an apostle?

    Quote Originally Posted by fuzzi View Post
    I don't think seeing Jesus prior to the resurrection is a requirement to be an apostle. After Judas died, the eleven remaining chose one to take Judas' place, Matthias (Acts 1).
    Matthias did see Jesus before his resurrection, and after. Matthias (and Joseph/Barsabbas/Justus) is described as "one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us". Matthias was in the crowd who followed Christ, he simply wasn't one of the original Twelve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cajunman4life View Post
    I think you're getting disciple mixed up with apostle. There were only the 12 disciples. There appear to be many apostles:
    Correct, the Acts tells us that Paul and Barnabas were both apostles.

    Acts 14:13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out

    Galatians tells us that James, the half-brother of Jesus, was an apostle.

    Galatians 1:19 "But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. "

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