I have a problem with Paul, is he who history says he is. How do we know he is as reliable as the other disciples?

Its about the Apostle Paul. Ill be honest, hes a guy I have a massive issue with. I know its out of ignorence, but for the here and now I just cant understand why hes so special?

For starters, he wasnt there at the crucifiction of Christ, or the miricles, or the parables. Did Jesus not say once that he wouldnt be reutning until after the transfiguration. But… Somehow, many many years later. Maybe even decades, Paul just shows up claiming he had a vision. I mean… Where is the proof he had any part in the story of Christ. No… Not even that. What does Jesus have to say about him that Paul didnt claim himself.

Like… Jesus said that there would be those proclaiming false Christs and false gosepels, that there would be those who came after Jesus proclaiming a gospel different from his. And yet… I read Roamns and its as if he knew way more about being saved than the others did.

How do I know Paul wasnt part of a Roman conspiracy to captilalise on the story of Jesus, to make it up and decieve billions of people around the world. After all, we do not have the original texts. The romans saw to it that we didnt after the Great Jewish war, which wasnt great. It was a seige that ended up with the slaughter of Jews and Gentiles and the destruction of their temple.

Im not trying to make it a bad thing, Im just not understanding this particular person and why hes so important to the gospel or if he just confused everything.

I literlary do not know what to make of him, please can anyone help shed light on this?

Also please everyone correct me where Im wrong because I fear ive made a huge blunder of errors, again out of ignorence and my newness in faith.

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Do you doubt Apostle Peter’s judgement? Of the inner circle? Whom Jesus restored?

It is important to have trust in who Jesus left in charge, namely, the Apostles.

I have also had doubts about Paul, to be honest. But often times God doesn’t show us everything to save us from not being able to handle it.

But Paul was a crucial instrument in God’s plan to bridge many gaps.

A couple of helpful places to look are the first two chapters of Galatians (one of Paul’s earliest letters, the authorship of which has rarely been questioned), II Corinthians 11 (the contents of which can be largely corroborated by the Book of Acts and could have been verified by eyewitnesses while Paul lived), and Acts 22 and 26 (his public statements before governing authorities who could easily verify his claims); these texts are autobiographical, and they show both what Paul left behind and what he endured for the sake of the Christian message.

As a boy, Paul received a rabbinic education under Gamaliel, one of the most prominent and respected rabbis of the day. Paul was also a Roman citizen by birth, an enormous advantage in that world. By all accounts, this placed him in a very comfortable position as a 1st century Jew, and it gave him advantages that few (if any) of the disciples had. Paul was also a strict Pharisee, which meant he was zealous about obeying the Mosaic Law and was ready to do whatever it took to avoid the smallest of transgressions. Ultimately, he came to see the Christian movement not only as dangerous to the Jewish faith, but probably the Jewish nation (the Romans were not tolerant of anything they perceived as subversive to their rule); for this reason, Paul began persecuting the Church in an effort to destroy it.

From this state, Paul’s life took a rather sudden and dramatic turn-around. Within a few years, he went from openly persecuting Christians to boldly declaring the Christian faith in spite of the danger this put him in. Once a scrupulous observer of the Law, Paul now taught that the Law had been fulfilled in Christ, meaning that it was no longer necessary to observe the ceremonial regulations that had been given to his ancestors, and he put his considerable education to work helping others to understand how the message of Christ fit into the larger narrative of God’s work in the world. While other Jewish Christians insisted that full observance of the Law was a necessary precursor to Gentiles coming to Christ, Paul was vocal in his opposition against such Judaizers. With these changes came major costs: The Jewish community that Paul’s whole life had centered around turned on him, and people who had once been friends now sought his imprisonment, if not his death. Numerous times, he was beaten and flogged (punishments that no Roman citizen was supposed to endure), his frequent travels put him in danger of wild animals, highwaymen, and shipwrecks, and once the Jews stoned him (i.e. death by pelting him with rocks). In short, Paul gave up everything he had going for him to join a persecuted minority. The best analogy I can think of would be if an American with an Ivy League education and a graduate degree left a promising career to live and work in a war-torn region of Syria.

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I didnt know Peter had any contact with Paul, this is the thing. I really dont know.

Thats why Im asking. Because I truly do not know the full story.

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Ahhh Ive just seen this responce, that does put things or more over, Paul into the fore.

I shall look further into your suggestions.

Thankyou!!!

So, for your first question

Paul does claim to have a vision of Christ. One of the major corroborating events is the work of Ananias. God speaks to him and tells him what happened on the road to Damascus and that he should go and minister to brother Paul.

The townspeople and disciples can see that there has been a change in this person’s life. A change which could only be attributed to an encounter with Christ.

Paul even says Christ told him stories about his time on earth:

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:23-27

These are things which Paul could tell the other disciples, such as Peter, where they could confirm whether or not he had actually spent time with Christ.

In 2 Peter 3:16 Peter even refers to Paul’s writings as scripture. This seems like an overwhelming endorsement by someone who knew Christ quite well. If he were a

Peter would be the one to point it out. In fact, he does the opposite.

For your other question

Most of this is dealt with in the fact that Peter endorses Paul’s teaching. You also have to ask, what would have been the point of their deceiving billions of people? They were trying to route out the belief. They even killed Paul in an effort to do so. If they were using him to deceive people, don’t you think they would allow him to keep on preaching false Gospel? No historian I know of holds such a view of Paul’s teaching.

I think you should take 2 Peter 3:16 to heart, trust Paul and read his Scriptures. They have been used to grow and form the church since the beginning.

And keep asking questions!

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You may also find this video helpful:

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Fair questions for sure. A good sign someone is being genuine is if they are doing something self-sacrificially. For me the most compelling reason I trust Paul is that he was martyred. Someone with selfish motives usually won’t take their “convictions” to the grave. I heard Nabeel Qureshi in a debate say, “Liars make poor martyrs.”, which I believe is a strong point. Someone who is lying will likely not value that lie over their own life. But Paul was willing (and did) die for his claims, which to me speaks volumes. Paul was also a leading Jewish scholar at the time which was a pretty sweet gig. If he was simply taking advantage of a situation for self-gain you would expect his personal life to improve, not to get significantly worse. And when it did get worse, he kept on pressing and preaching the same message rather than switching gears.

Also, to echo Joshua, Peter would have stepped in and refuted Paul if he was preaching a false gospel. But instead he endorsed him.

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Hi Kriston @Kriston139. I’d like to tack onto what Joshua @Joshua_Hansen said regarding Paul and Peter knowing each other, as well as about Paul’s vision.
If you read the opening to the Gospel of Luke, you will find that Luke explains to Theophilus in the first chapter, that his writings are the result of much research, from eye witness testimony, and later from servants of the word. So, we should be able to trust his report. We also read in 2Tim.4:11 that only Luke was left with Paul in Rome.
Then, in the Book of Acts, we see that Luke was continuing his report to Theophilus. He records the acts of the Apostles, from which the Book of Acts gets its name. He records that when Paul (Saul at that time–his Jewish name) was struck with blindness, those who were on their way to Damascus heard the sound but not the vision and were struck speechless. So, they were eyewitness to Paul’s event. (Acts 9:7)
Next, we see Paul had to escape for his life from the Jews in Damascus because of his preaching. He went to Jerusalem where Barnabas took him in and then later presented him to the Apostles. (Acts 9:27). Peter was one of those Apostles ministering to the church in Jerusalem.
Then, turning to Acts 15, read about the Council at Jerusalem where Paul and Barnabas went to discuss with the Apostles the problem of circumcision that had arisen. Peter was there at that council (Acts 15:7).
So, not only did Paul know Peter, he was also approved by the other Apostles who would certainly have known a fraud or false teacher because they had been with Jesus all during His ministry and would have spotted a different gospel.
Paul is known to have written 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament. It’s possible that he wrote Hebrews, although there is much debate. None of the canonized books of the New Testament are there without much scrutiny as to their content, authenticity, and message. The fact that Paul’s letters to the various churches became canonized is significant evidence that Paul was who he claimed to be…the worst among sinners saved by grace.
I hope this helps with appreciating who the Apostle Paul was. (ICor.1:1).

One other thing I think is worth addressing: You mentioned the Book of Romans in particular, and of how it appears that Paul understood salvation better than others. This impression might stem from the unique purpose of Romans among Paul’s letters. Most of the Pauline epistles were written to churches that Paul had started or to younger ministers whom he was mentoring (ex. Titus and Timothy), so they are picking up in the middle of conversations and correspondences that had already started. When Paul wrote Romans, on the other hand, he was writing primarily to people whom he had never met. We know that there were Jews who had taken to following him around and stirring up trouble (ex. Acts 14:19 and 21:27-28), and there were even teachers who taught out of selfish ambition and went around trying to soil Paul’s reputation (the “super-apostles” in II Corinthians 11). Since Paul was making plans to travel to Spain and hoped to receive support and hospitality from the Christian community in Rome, it was essential that he clear up any false representations about his teaching and doctrine that might have preceded him. Thus, the Book of Romans is both a letter of introduction and a book of systematic theology.

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It’s wonderful that you ask this question. You say you’re a new believer and the fact that you are asking such profound questions is a good sign that you are serious about knowing the truth. I’ve been born-again for over 10years and I’m still asking questions. God is great about that.He loves for us to ask. There are lots of passages that testify to Paul’s authority as an Apostle of our Lord. Peter made reference to Paul’s agreement with what Peter taught i.e. 2 Peter 3: “speaking in them of these things,” as “our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 3:16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:14-18 KJV) Keep seeking…:smiling_face_with_three_hearts: