Paul, the Apostle, 6

Continued from PAUL, THE APOSTLE, 5.

VI. Gospel.

I had purposed to save adequate space for the discussion of Paul's theology, but that is not now possible. A bare sketch must suffice. Something was said (see above on his epistles and equipment) about the development in Paul's conception of Christ and his message about Him. Paul had a gospel which he called his own (Ro 2:16). I cannot agree with the words of Deissmann (St. Paul, 6): "St. Paul theologian looks backward toward rabbinism. As a religious genius Paul's outlook is forward into a future of universal history." He did continue to use some rabbinical methods of argument, but his theology was not rabbinical. And he had a theology. He was the great apostle and missionary to the heathen. He was a Christian statesman with far-seeing vision. He was the loving pastor with the shepherd heart. He was the great martyr for Christ. He was the wonderful preacher of Jesus. But he was also "Paul theologian" (Garvie, Life and Teaching of Paul, chapter v) . There are two ways of studying his teaching. One is to take it by groups of the epistles, the purely historical method, and that has some advantages (compare Sabatier, The Apostle Paul). But at bottom Paul has the same message in each group, though with varying emphasis due to special exigencies. The same essential notes occur all through. The more common method, therefore, is to Study his gospel topically, using all the epistles for each topic. A measure of historical development may still be observed. Only the chief notes in Paul's gospel can be mentioned here. Even so, one must not turn to his epistles for a complete system of doctrine. The epistles are "occasional letters, pieces de circonstance" (Findlay, HDB), and they do not profess, not even Romans, to give a full summary of Christian doctrine. They are vital documents that throb with life. There is no theological manual in them. But Paul's gospel is adequately stated repeatedly. Paul's message is Christocentric. Jesus as Messiah he preached at once on his conversion (Ac 9:20,22). He knew already the current Jewish Messianism to which Jesus did not correspond. The acceptance of Jesus as He was (the facts about Him and teachings) revolutionized his Messianic conceptions, his view of God, and his view of man. "When he takes and uses the Messianic phraseology of his day, he fills it with a meaning new and rich" (Rostron, Christology of Paul, 31). Paul was not merely a new creature himself, but he had a new outlook: "Wherefore we henceforth know no man after the flesh: even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know him so no more. Wherefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold, they are become new. But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them their trespasses, and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation" (2Co 5:16-19). Perhaps no single passage in Paul's Epistles tells us more than this one of the change in Paul's theological conceptions wrought by his conversion. His view of Christ as the revealer of God (God in Christ) and the manifestation of love for men (of God, who reconciled us to Himself, reconciling the world to Himself) and the means (through Christ) by whom God is able to forgive our sins ("not reckoning unto them their trespasses") on the basis of the atoning death of Christ ("wherefore"; for this see 2Co 5:14 f just before 2Co 5:16) with whom the believer has vital union ("in Christ") and who transforms the nature and views of the believer, is here thoroughly characteristic. Paul's passion is Christ (2Co 5:14; Php 1:21). To gain Christ (Php 3:8), to know Christ (Php 3:10), to be found in Christ (Php 3:9), to know Christ as the mystery of God (Col 2:2 f), to be hid with Christ in God (Col 3:3)--this with the new Paul is worth while. Thus Paul interprets God and man, by his doctrine of Christ. To him Jesus is Christ and Christ is Jesus. He has no patience with the incipient Cerinthian Gnosticism, nor with the docetic Gnosticism that denied the true humanity of Jesus. The real mystery of God is Christ, not the so-called mystery-religions. Christ has set us free from the bondage of ceremonial legalism. We are free from the curse of the law (Ga 3:13). Grace is the distinctive word for the gospel (Ro 3:1-31 through Ro 5:1-21), but it must lead to sanctification (Ro 6:1-23 through Ro 8:1-39), not license (Col 3:1-25). Paul's Christology is both theocentric and anthropocentric, but it is theocentric first. His notion of redemption is the love of God seeking a world lost in sin and finding love's way, the only way consonant with justice, in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ His Son (Ro 3:21-31). The sinner comes into union with God in Christ by faith in Christ as Redeemer and Lord. Henceforth he lives to God in. Christ by the help of the Holy Spirit (Ro 8:1-39; Ga 5:1-26). Paul presents God as Father of all in one sense (Eph 4:6), but in a special sense of the believers in Christ (Ro 8:15 f). Jesus Christ is the incarnation of the pre-incarnate Son of God (2Co 8:9; Php 2:5-10), who is both God and man (Ro 1:3 f). With Paul the agent of creation is Jesus (Col 1:15 f), who is also the head of the church universal (Col 1:18; Eph 1:22 f). In the work of Christ Paul gives the central place to the cross (1Co 1:17 f; 1Co 2:2; Col 2:20; Eph 2:13-18). Sin is universal in humanity (Ro 1:18 through Ro 3:20), but the vicarious death of Christ makes redemption possible to all who believe (Ro 3:21 ff; Ga 3:6-11). The redeemed constitute the kingdom of God or church universal, with Christ as head. Local bodies (churches) are the chief means for pushing the work of the kingdom. Paul knows two ordinances, both of which present in symbolic form the death of Christ for sin and the pledge of the believer to newness of life in Christ. These ordinances are baptism (Ro 6:1-11) and the Lord's Supper (1Co 11:17-34). If he knew the mystery-religions, they may have helped him by way of illustration to present his conception of the mystic union with Christ. Paul is animated by the hope of the second coming of Christ, which will be sudden (1Th 5:1-11) and not probably at once (2Th 2:1-17), but was to be considered as always imminent (1Th 5:2 ff). Meanwhile, death brings us to Christ, which is a glorious hope to Paul (2Co 5:1-10; Php 1:21 ff; 2Ti 4:18). But, while Paul was a theologian in the highest and best sense of the term, the best interpreter of Christ to men, he was also an ethical teacher. He did not divorce ethics from religion. He insisted strongly on the spiritual experience of Christ as the beginning and the end of it all, as opposed to mere ritualistic ceremonies which had destroyed the life of Judaism. But all the more Paul demanded the proof of life as opposed to mere profession. See Ro 6:1-23 through 8 in particular. In most of the epistles the doctrinal section is followed by practical exhortations to holy living. Mystic as Paul was, the greatest of all mystics, he was the sanest of moralists and had no patience with hypocrites or licentious pietists or idealists who allowed sentimentalism and emotionalism to take the place of righteoushess. His notion of the righteousness demanded by God and given by God included both sanctification and justification. In the end, the sinner who for Christ's sake is treated as righteous must be righteous. Thus the image of God is restored in man by the regenerating work of the Spirit of God (2Co 3:18). Paul sees God in the face of Christ (2Co 4:6), and the vision of Christ brings God to all who see.


Out of the vast Pauline literature the following selections may be mentioned:

(1) General Works:

Addis, Christianity and the Roman Empire, 1893; Bartlet, The Apostolic Age, 1899; Bohlig, Die Geisteskultur yon Tarsos, 1913; Clemen, Primitive Christianity and Its Non-Jewish Sources, 1912; Cumont, Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism, 1911; Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, 1910; Dewick, Primitive Christian Eschatology, 1912; Dollinger, Gentile and Jew in the Courts of the Temple of Christ, translation, 1862; Farrar, Early Days of Christianity, 1882, Darkness and Dawn, 1893; Ferrero, Greatness and Decline of Rome, 1908; Friedlander, Roman Life and Manners under the Early Empire; Glover, Conflict of Religions in the Early Roman Empire, 1910; Gunkel, Zum religionsgeschichtlichen Verst. d. New Testament, 1903; Hausrath, Time of the Apostles, translation; Neander, Planting and Training of the Christian Church, translation; McGiffert, A History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age, 1897; Ramsay, The Church in the Roman Empire, 1893, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, 1895, The First Christian Century, 1911; Reitzenstein, Die hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen, 1910; Ropes, The Apostolic Age, 1906; Schurer, HJP; Weizsacker, The Apostolic Age in the Christian Church, 1894-95.

(2) Introductions:

E. Burton, Chronicle of Paul's Epistles; Clemen, Die Chron der Paulinischen Briefe, 1893, Die Einheitlichkeit der Paulinischen Briefe, 1894; Findlay, Epistles of Paul the Apostle, 1893; Gloag, Introduction to the Pauline Epistles, 1876; Gregory, Canon and Text of the New Testament, 1900; Herr, Prolegomena to Romans and Ephesians, 1895; Harnack, The Acts of the Apostles, 1909, Date of the Acts and the Synoptic Gospels, 1911, History of Early Christian Literature until Eusebius, 1897; Holtzmann, Einleitung3, 1892; James, Genuineness and Authorship of the Pastoral Epistles, 1906; Julicher, Introduction to the New Testament, 1903; Lake, Earlier Epistles of Paul, 1911; Moffatt, Introduction to the Literature of the New Testament, 1911; Peake, Critical Introduction to the New Testament, 1909; Salmon, Introduction to the New Testament, 1892; R. Scott, Epistles of Paul, 1909; Shaw, The Pauline Epistles, 1903; von Soden, History of Early Christian Literature, 1906; B. Weiss, Present State of the Inquiry Concerning the Genuineness of Paul's Epistles, 1897; Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, 1909.

(3) Commentaries:

For exegetical commentaries on special epistles see special articles For the ancients see Chrysostom for the Greeks, and Pelagius for the Latins. For the Middle Ages see Thomas Aquinas. For the later time see Beza, Calvin, Colet, Estius, Grotius, Cornelius a Lapide, Wettstein, Bengel. Among the moderns note Alford, Beet (Romans-Colossians), Boise, Bible for Home and School, Cambridge Bible for Schools, Cambridge Greek Testament, New Century Bible; Drummond, Epistles of Paul, Ellicott (all but Romans and 2 Corinthians), Expositor's Bible, Expositor's Greek Testament; Holtzmann, Hand-Comm. zum New Testament; Jewett (1 and 2 Thessalonians, Romans, Galatians), Lightfoot (Galatians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon and Notes), Lietzmann, Handbuch zum New Testament; Meyer (translation, revised German editions), Zahn, Kommentar zum New Testament.

(4) Lives and Monographs:

Albrecht, Paulus der Apestel Jesu Christi, 1903; Bacon, The Story of Paul, 1904; Bartlet, article in Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th edition; Baring-Gould, A Study of Paul, 1897; Baur, The Apostle Paul(2), 1845; Bevan, Paul in the Light of Today, 1912; Bird, Paul of Tarsus, 1900; Campbell, Paul the Mystic, 1907; Chrysostom, Homiliae in Laude S. Pauli, Opera, volume II, edition Montf. (more critically in Field's edition); Clemen, Paulus, 1904; Cone, Paul the Man, the Missionary, 1898; Cohu, Paul in the Light of Recent Research, 1910; Conybeare and Howson, Life and Epistles of Paul (many editions); Deissmann, Paul, 1912; Drescher, Das Leben Jesu bei Paulus, 1900; Drury, The Prison Ministry of Paul, 1910; Eadie, Paul the Preacher, 1859; Farrar, Life and Work of Paul (various editions); Erbes, Die Todestage der Apostel Paulus und Petrus, 1899; Fletcher, A Study of the Conversion of Paul, 1911; Forbes, Footsteps of Paul in Rome, 1899; Fouard, Paul and His Mission, 1894, Last Years of Paul, 1897; Gardner, Religious Experience of Paul, 1911; Garvie, Life and Teaching of Paul, 1909, Studies of Paul and His Gospel, 1911; Gilbert, Student's Life of Paul, 1899; Heim, Paulus, 1905; Honnicke, Chronologie des Lebens Pauli, 1904; Iverach, Paul, His Life and Time, 1890; Johnston, The Mission of Paul to the Roman Empire, 1909; M. Jones, Paul the Orator, 1910; Kennedy, Paul and the Mystery-Religions, 1913; Kohler, Zum Verstandnis d. Apostels Paulus, 1908; Lewin, Life and Epistles of Paul, 1875; Lock, Paul the Master Builder, 1905; Lyttleton, Observations on Saul's Conversion, 1774; Myers, Saint Paul (various editions); Matheson, Spiritual Development of Paul, 1891; Means, Paul and the Ante-Nicene Church, 1903; Noesgen, Paulus der Apostel der Heiden, 1908; Paley, Horae Paulinae, 1790; Ramsay, Paul the Traveler, 1896, Pauline and Other Studies, 1906, Cities of Paul, 1908, Luke the Physician and Other Studies, 1908, Pictures of the Apostolic Church, 1910; Renan, Paul, 1869; A. T. Robertson, Epochs in the Life of Paul, 1909, The Glory of the Ministry or Paul's Exultation in Preaching, 1911; Sabatier, The Apostle Paul, 1896; Selden, In the Time of Paul, 1900; Schweitzer, Paul and His Interpreters, 1912; Smith, Voyage and Shipwreck of Paul4, 1880; Speer, The Man Paul, 1900; Stalker, Life of Paul, 1889; Taylor, Paul the Missionary, 1882; Underhill, Divine Legation of Paul, 1889; Weinel, Paul (translation, 1906); Whyte, The Apostle Paul, 1903; Wilkinson, Epic of Saul, 1891, Epic of Paul, 1897; Wrede, Paulus(2), 1907 (translation); Wright, Cities of Paul, 1907; Wynne, Fragmentary Records of Jesus of Nazareth by a Contemporary, 1887.

(5) Teaching:

A.B.D. Alexander, The Ethics of Paul, 1910; S.A. Alexander, Christianity of Paul, 1899; Anonymous, The Fifth Gospel, 1906; R. Allen, Christelegy of Paul, 1912; M. Arnold, Paul and Protestantism, 1897; Ball, Paul and the Roman Law, 1901; Breitenstein, Jesus et Paul, 1908; Bruce, Paul's Conception of Christianity, 1898; Bruckner, Die Entstehung der Paulinischen Christologie, 1903; Bultmann, Der Stil der Paulin. Predigt und die kyn. Diatribe, 1910; Chadwick, Social Teaching of Paul, 1907, Pastoral Teaching of Paul, 1907; M. Dibelius, Die Geisterwelt im Glauben des Paulus, 1909; Dickie, Culture of the Spiritual Life, 1905; Dickson, Paul's Use of the Terms Flesh and Spirit, 1883; Du Bose, Gospel according to Paul, 1907; Dykes, Gospel according to Paul, 1888; Everett, Gospel of Paul, 1893; Feine, Paul as Theologian (translation, 1908); Greenough, Mind of Christ in Paul; Goguel, L'Apotre Paul et Jesus Christ, 1904; Harford, The Gospel according to Paul, 1912; Hicks, "St. Paul and Hellenism," Stud. Bibl., IV; Holsten, Das Evangelium des Paulus, 1898; Julicher, Paulus und Jesus, 1907; Kaftan, Jesus und Paulus, 1906; Kennedy, Paul's Conceptions of Last Things, 1904; Knowling, Testimony of Paul to Christ (3rd edition, 1911); A. Meyer, Jesus or Paul? 1909; Moffatt, Paul and Paulinism, 1910; Montet, Essai sur la christologie de Saint Paul, 1906; Nageli, Der Wortschatz des Apostels Paulus, 1905; Oehler, Paulus und Jesus, 1908; Paterson, The Pauline Theology, 1903; Pfleidercr, Paulinismus, 1873, Influence of the Apostle Paul on the Development of Christianity, 1885; Prat, La theologie de Saint Paul, 1907; Ramsay, The Teaching of Paul in Terms of the Present Day, 1913; Resch, Paulinismus und die Logia Jesu, 1904; Rostron, The Christology of Paul, 1912; Simon, Die Psychologie des Apostels Paulus, 1897; Somerville, Paul's Conception of Christ, 1897; Stevens, The Pauline Theology, 1894; Thackeray, Relation of Paul to Contemporary Jewish Thought, 1900; J. Weiss, Paul and Jesus, 1909; Paul and Justification, 1913; Williams, A Plea for a Reconstruction of Paul's Doctrine of Justification, 1912; Wustmann, Jesus und Paulus, 1907; Zahn, Das Gesetz Gottes nach der Lehre des Apostels Paulus(2), 1892.

A. T. Robertson

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