Apostle Paul's Life
Paul was born in Tarsus, a city in the province of Cilicus (in present-day eastern Turkey) to Hebrew parents. He was born a Roman citizen. He was a strict pharisee. He had at least one sister who had one son who lived in Jerusalem. Paul was probably born about 1 A.D.
Paul was early trained in the scriptures and in Hebrew tradition. He was taught the art of tent making. At 13 or 15 years of age, he went to Jerusalem to study at the school of Gamaliel. At the end of three years he returned to Tarsus and acted as Rabbi (Acts 18:3, 22:3).
Paul returned to Jerusalem and witnessed Stephen’s death. He then became the arch persecutor of the infant Church. On his way to Damascus he was converted, then he was led by the hand to Damascus where Ananias prayed for him. He was sanctified and his sight returned (Acts 9:23).
Paul preached at Damascus without success (Acts 9:20). He then went to Arabia three years (Gal. 1:17). He then returned to Damascus (Gal. 1:17). He then visited Jerusalem and he returned eventually to Tarsus (Acts 22:17-18).
After a time Barnabas went to Tarsus, looked up Paul and brought him back to Antioch in Syria (Acts 11:25-26). They worked together for a short time (Acts 11:26).
- First missionary tour (Acts 13:2-14:26).
- Second missionary tour (Acts 15:40-18:22).
- Third missionary tour (Acts 18:23-21:8).
Paul visited Jerusalem (Acts 21:17). There he was apprehended, which required his defending himself (Acts 21:7-22:21). He was taken to Caesarea (Acts 23:23-33). He defended himself before Felix (Acts 24:10-21). He was two years in imprisonment there (Acts 24:27). Paul finally appealed to Caesar (Acts 25:10).
Paul journeyed to Rome (Acts 27). He was shipwrecked and landed on Melita (Acts 28:1-10).
Paul preached in Rome (Acts 28:30-31). Apparently he was released after two years. He was free for about one to three years, after which he was again arrested. He was then slain by a sword thrust (II Tim. 4:6-8).
Paul spoke Aramaic, Greek and Hebrew in his home as a boy. He used the Greek Septuagint in study. He could also read Latin.
He entered homeschool at age four and studied Hebrew law at age ten. He studied the Michna (the sayings of the wise with regard to the Law). At age thirteen or fifteen he went to Jerusalem to learn from the chief instructor, Gamaliel.
After three years he probably returned to Tarsus. In 37 A.D., or when he was thirty-six years of age, Stephen was stoned.
Paul wrote the book of Romans in the home of Gaius of Corinth (57 A.D.). It was written in Greek by the scribe Tertius, and it was carried to Rome by Phebe, who was a worker in the church. Rome was the metropolis of the world. Laymen returned to Rome from Pentecost and migrated to Rome from elsewhere and established the church.
Paul did not want to build on the foundation of other Apostles, none of whom had been to Rome. He gave to the group of Roman churches a solid and doctrinal and ethical foundation.
Paul’s line of thought is expressed in the following verses: Rom. 1:16; 3:22-23; 5:1, 7:14, 21, 24; 8:1-2; 12:2, 9, 10; 14:17-18.
Introduction, Rom. 1:1-16
Paul was a slave of Jesus Christ, called by Him to be an Apostle to preach the gospel of Christ, which had been foretold by the Prophets. This Christ was proved to be the Son of God by the Resurrection. Through the grace of this Christ you at Rome are saved and called to be saints (Rom. 1:1-7).
Paul thanked God for them and for their faith. He stated that he had prayed constantly for them and desired to see them and impart to them sanctification, or establishing grace. Being a Jew and going to a church largely Gentile, he declared that he was indebted and debtor to all. The Gospel was nothing to be ashamed of anywhere (provided it was presented correctly), as it was the power of God to save both Jew and Greek by faith (1:8-17).
The doctrinal area, 1:18-11:36
The doctrines of the righteousness of God, regeneration by faith, and entire sanctification and spiritual establishment (1:18-8:39).
- The wrath of God rests on the Godless. God’s nature and God’s truth have been revealed through created things, but the ungodly and unrighteous have refused to recognize this (1:18-21a).
- The heathen became vain and conceited and senseless. Their hearts were hardened and they made gods in the image of man at his worst. They even worshiped beasts and birds, into which image ". . . they changed the glory of the incorruptible God . . ." (1:21b-23).
- God gave them up to their degraded lust, and to their vile immoralities. They exchanged the truth for a lie and became of a reprobate mind. They turned the light down, and that light became darkness, and the darkness was great (1:24-32).
- The Jew condemned the Greek for doing such things, but the Jew did the same, apparently under cover (2:1-4).
- Wrath, indignation, tribulation and anguish. For the day of wrath is being stored up for those that doeth evil. To the Jew first and also to the Greek, for there is no respecter of persons with God (2:5-11).
- Those who have violated the light of conscience, intuition, and nature, are to be judged accordingly. And those who have violated written revelation will be judged accordingly (2:12-24).
- The Jew thought himself a teacher of the Gentiles, but he himself violated the precepts he taught the Gentile. The Jew rested in the fact that he was a Jew (had the Law) and was circumcised. But Paul said that the Jew was no better than the Gentile (2:25-29).
- The Jew had been entrusted with the oracles of God and some had profited thereby, but the vast majority had not. Hence, the Jew as a nation is no better than the Gentile. All are under sin and are alike condemned by the Law (3:1-20).
- The righteousness of God is manifested in Christ and is apprehended by faith and faith alone. This is the sole remedy for sin, and the remedy is available to all. Glorifying in the Law or in works is excluded. It is by the Law of faith that men touch God (3:21-31).
- Abraham himself was not justified by works, but by faith in Christ. He was justified before the Law was given or any of those things pertaining to it was given. Those who believe in Christ, Jew or Gentile, are children and are heirs of the faithful Abraham and heirs with him (4:1-25).
- We are justified by the blood of Christ through faith in Him and are thus saved from wrath. Through faith in Christ we also have access to this second state or work of grace (5:9-11).
- Sin entered by Adam, the father of Jew and Gentile alike. All were regarded as sinners by that one act of sin, but not after the similitude of Adam’s sin. That is, personal guilt rested on Adam as a result of that act, but personal guilt does not rest on us for that act. Children are born sinful and dead spiritually, but are not born as transgressors, since the Law has not been broken by them. The gift of eternal life was placed within the reach of all by the last Adam. Physical death is to be destroyed for all by the last Adam (5:12-21).
- Being saved, the Old Man now becomes a problem. He is to be crucified (a symbol of death). Thus each is dead to the other. The self is to die as he died. On our part, this is preceded by a consecration like unto a baptism unto death. This is God’s plan of salvation. It is up to us to accept this plan (6:1-11).
- When made free from sin, the result is sanctification, or heart-holiness (evangelical perfection of heart is not Adamic or Edenic perfection), and the end is eternal life.
- An illustration is then drawn from marriage. A woman is bound by law to her husband, but when he is dead she is free from that law and may marry another. Thus, when we are free from the law of sin we become servants of Christ (7:1-6).
- Ethically, sin is a destructive force. "I am carnal, sold under sin." It turns the good that we do into evil as the selfish carnal self demands consideration. The principle of sin within ruins the possibility of unselfish service and thus brings us under condemnation (7:14-19).
- Ethically, Paul called out for deliverance from that destroying body of death, which is like unto a decaying corpse (7:24).
- The law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, that is, the operation of the Holy Spirit, made Paul free from the body of sin and death. His cry is expressed in 7:24 and is answered in 8:1-2.
- If we live after the flesh we shall die, but if we live after the Spirit we shall live (holiness or death; on to Canaan or back to Egypt). The Spirit also bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God and that we are heirs of God with Christ (8:12-17).
- All creation is groaning to be delivered from the curse of sin and we groan for the redemption of our bodies (8:18-25).
- The Holy Spirit helps our infirmities and enables us to pray as we ought and makes intercession for us (8:26-28). Romans 8:28 is a much-quoted verse:"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
- Rom. 8:29-39 is used as a Calvinist stronghold regarding the doctrine of predestination. Paul does not teach it in this or any other area. People are elected and foreordained to glory provided they meet certain conditions. They must will to meet these conditions. Then God will do the rest. Nothing outside of ourselves can separate us from the love of Christ; only we ourselves can do this.
Thus Paul established the fact that both Jew and Gentile are lost, that each has turned down the light. The Jew has turned down the greater light.
All are sinners. Then, by faith in Christ, Jew and Gentile alike may be saved. In the sixth chapter of Romans the carnal nature is dealt with doctrinally. Then in the seventh chapter it is dealt with ethically. In the eighth chapter the experience of entire sanctification is presented as a present possession.
The present position of the Jewish people with regard to the Gentile and the children of God. The plan of God is not considered (chapters 9-11).
- Paul expresses deep regret for the present exclusion of the Hebrew people from the inheritance and the promise (9:1-5; Ex. 32:32).
- Israel rejected Christ and was set aside for a time (Matt. 23:37-39; Isa. 53). Their house or office was to be destitute as far as they were concerned. God had a right to set them aside, for a time. He had set Ishmael and Esau aside. They acted a certain way, and God had chosen Isaac and Jacob. The rejection and choice had nothing to do with personal salvation (9:6-24).
- The Gentiles are given the room and office of witness until the Hebrews awaken. For the promise of God made to the Fathers still belong to the Hebrew people (9:4). Israel is yet to come into her own (9:25-29).
- The Gentiles occupied the witness in office because they attained faith in Christ. The Jews tried to obtain righteousness by the Law and failed. They were therefore rejected for a time (9:30, 33).
- By Israel’s refusal to believe in Christ, she is responsible for her own rejection. But this rejection is not total or final for the nation of Israel (10:1-ll:ll).
- When the Jews fell, God turned to the Gentiles (ll:ll). Thus the rejection of the Jews resulted in the salvation of the Gentiles. The salvation of the latter will ultimately provoke the Jews to jealousy and they will return to God through Christ (11:12-14).
- The Gentiles had better take warning. If God spared not the natural branch (the Jews), neither would he spare the grafted branch (the Gentiles).
- Israel shall again become God’s witnessing body and be saved as a nation (first as individuals and then as a nation) and again become the light of the world. Hence, God’s promises to the Jews are yet to be fulfilled (11:16-36).
The practical or ethical or institutional area (12:1-14:23); followed by a doxology (16:25-27).
- The whole plan of salvation and summary (12:1-2). Partial sanctification and entire sanctification. A holy life lived day by day. The two verses correspond to the burnt offering and includes all offerings (the meal offering, the peace offering, the sin offering, and the trespass offering).
- Exhortations to various Christians, personal duties (12:3-21).
- Exhortations to humility (12:3-5).
- Christian duties and relations to be discharged and observed with love, diligence, hospitality, and sympathy (12:6-16).
- Enemies are to be forgiven from the heart, and good treatment is to be given those who hurt us (12:17-21).
- Exhortations to obey civil magistrates and to holy conduct as preparation for death (13:1-14).
- The powers of government are ordained of God for the protection of the good and the punishment of the evil (13:1-5).
- Tribute and honor must be paid to whom such are due. We are to meet all the Christian claims that others have on us and thus fulfill the law of Christ (13:6-10).
- Life is short and fleeting. Death is certain. Governments are on their way out and hence we should not be overly concerned about them. Rather, we should keep ready for the future (13:11-14).
- With regard to eating, observing days, etc., let each be fully persuaded in his own mind. Apparently some had too scrupulous conscience in these matters (14:1-14).
- Be kind and considerate to those who have an overly sensitive conscience, else you will destroy him for whom Christ died (15-23).
- Here was the original position of the concluding doxology of 16:15, "Now unto him . . .".
The supplementary section (15:1-16:24).
- A further enforcement of Christian considerations to those who are weak in the Faith (15:1-13).
- Paul then gives an account of himself and of his desire to visit Spain after visiting the Roman Christians, which we think he probably never did (15:14-29).
- Paul then requested prayer that he might be delivered from the Judaisers who were opposing him and that he might be permitted to go to Rome (15:30-33).
- Greetings are then sent to Christians at Rome, with greetings from Corinth (16:1-23).
- Great principles that Paul lays down in Romans:
- The Gospel of Christ; the Cross.
- The Jew and Gentile are alike: sinners in God’s sight.
- The only approach to God is faith in Christ, for Jew or Gentile. (a) Faith in Christ goes back to Eden. (b) Brings regeneration for Jew or Gentile.
- The theology of the Old Man in the heart, chaps. 5 and 6.
- The ethical activity of the Old Man in the heart of the regenerated, chap. 7.
- Entire sanctification by faith in Christ (8:2-3).
- Regenerated and made Jewish children of Abraham.
- What about Jewish promise?
- Romans 16:24 contains the closing, or second, benediction of this supplementary section.