Archive for August, 2019

Apostle Paul


Paul, or Saul, was a Jew (Acts 21:39 & 22:3).

He was an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:1).
He was a missionary to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21, Acts 26:17-18, Romans15:16).

He was a Roman citizen (Acts 16:37-38).
He was a tentmaker by trade (Acts 18:3).
He was a Pharisee (Acts 23:5, Acts 26:6, Philippians 3:5).
He was from the tribe of Benjamin (Philippians 3:5).
He was beaten with rods thrice, stoned once, and suffered shipwrecks thrice (2 Corinthians 11:25).

He raised a young man named Eutychus who fell from a third story window and who was thought to be dead (Acts 20:9-10).

Paul saw Jesus Christ (Acts 9:17, 1 Corinthians 9:1, 1 Corinthians 15:8).
Paul was caught up into paradise and into the third heaven. (2 Corinthians 12:1-4)

His mission was to testify of Jesus Christ unto “the Gentiles, and Kings, and the children of Israel.” (Acts 9:15)

Acts 7-8

Saul was born in Tarsus, the capital of Cilicia. Tarsus is now in southern Turkey.

Saul supported the stoning of Stephen, as a young man. The men who stoned Stephen laid down their coats at Saul’s feet.

Saul persecuted the Church. He committed the men and women of the church to prison.

Acts 9

Saul received a letter from the high priest that if he found any Christians on the way to Damascus he could bring them bound to Jerusalem.

As he journeyed near Damascus a light from heaven shined about him. Saul fell to the ground. The Lord spoke to him, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?”

And Saul said, “Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecuted: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”

Farmers used oxen for plowing. They kept the oxen in the furrow by pricking them with a pole that had a nail fixed at the end. The pole is also called a goad. The ox is not pricked as long as he walks straight down the furrow. He is pricked, however, if he strays. Furthermore, an ox is pricked if he kicks back at the farmer. Saul thought that he was doing the will of God by persecuting the Church. In reality, he was “kicking against the pricks” of God’s will.

Saul was trembling and astonished. He asked the Lord, “What will thou have me do?” The Lord replied, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.”

Saul arose from the ground, but he was blind. The men traveling with Saul led him by hand to Damascus, where he stayed in the house of Judas. Saul did not eat or drink for three days.

Ananias was a disciple who lived in Damascus. The Lord told Ananias in a dream that he should visit Saul and lay his hands upon him to restore his sight. Ananias replied that Saul had done evil by arresting the saints. But the Lord told Ananias, “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.”

Ananias they visited Saul. He placed his hands upon Saul to restore his sight. Saul’s vision returned. Saul was baptized, and he was filled with the Holy Ghost.

Saul stayed with disciples in Damascus for a number of days. He than began preaching that Jesus Christ was the Son of God in the synagogues. Some of the Jews sought to kill Saul, but Saul escaped and traveled to Jerusalem.

The disciples at Jerusalem were afraid of Saul.

Barnabas was a Levite of Cyprus (Acts 4:36). He was regarded as an apostle, although he was not one of the Twelve Apostles. Barnabas told the disciples at Jerusalem that Saul had received a vision of the Lord. So the disciples accepted Saul. Saul boldly testified of Jesus Christ to the people of Jerusalem. Some of them sought to kill Saul. So Saul left for Caesarea and then traveled to Tarsus.
John Mark accompanied Barnabas and Saul to Tarsus. John Mark was either a cousin or nephew of Barnabas.

Acts 12-13, Paul’s First Missionary Journey

Saul name was changed to Paul.

Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark left Jerusalem on a missionary journey. They traveled to Paphos, which was the capital of the Island of Cyprus. They met Bar-jesus who was a false prophet and a sorcerer. The sorcerer was also known as Elymas. Paul cursed him so that he became blind.

Paul and Barnabas traveled to Antioch, while John Mark returned to Jerusalem. Paul was aggravated that John Mark would not continue with them. Some Bible scholars have concluded the John Mark returned to Jerusalem because he was not prepared to preach the gospel to the Gentiles.

Paul preached in the synagogue that Jesus was a descendant of King David. Paul testified of Christ’ resurrection. Many of the Gentiles believed in Jesus Christ. The Jews of the city, however, persecuted Paul and Barnabas.

Acts 14

Paul and Barnabas traveled to Iconium where they testified boldly of Jesus Christ in a synagogue. Some of the people believed their teachings, but the unbelieving Jews sought to stone Paul and Barnabas.

The two apostles fled to Lystra and Derbe. Paul healed a crippled man in Lystra. The people were amazed and thought that Barnabas was the Greek god Jupiter and that Paul was Mercury.

Paul declared in response:

Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein.
The unbelieving Jews then came from Antioch and Iconium and stoned Paul until he was apparently dead. Paul recovered, however. Paul and Barnabas continued preaching in Lystra, Iconium, Antioch, and other cities in the region.

Acts 15, Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

There was a controversy in the Church at Antioch regarding whether Gentiles should be circumcised. Paul and Barnabas traveled to Jerusalem to discuss this with the apostles and to give a report of their missionary work.

Peter and the other apostles in Jerusalem determined that circumcision was not required for the Gentiles. Silas accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their return from Jerusalem to Antioch to deliver this message to the Church.

Barnabas desired that John Mark should accompany them on their future missionary journeys. Paul disagreed, however. Paul felt that John Mark was unreliable because he had returned to Jerusalem when Paul and Barnabas had traveled to Antioch (Acts 13:13).

As a result, Paul and Barnabas split up. Barnabas and Mark traveled to Cyprus. Paul took Silas to the churches throughout Cilicia and Syria.

Acts 16

Paul and Silas traveled to Derbe, Lystra, and other cities. They met Timothy in Lystra.

Timothy was the son of a Greek father and Eunice, a converted Jewess.
Timothy joined Paul and Silas on their missionary journey. Luke, the author of Acts, also joined with Paul.

Paul had a vision in which a man of Macedonia plead with Paul to come help him. Paul and his companions thus traveled to the city of Philippi in Macedonia.
Paul baptized a woman named Lydia and her household in Philippi. Lydia was a seller of purple cloth, which was expensive. The dye for the cloth came from mollusk, a type of shellfish.

Lydia’s conversion was the start of the establishment of the Church in Philippi.
Paul cast an evil spirit out of a woman who was a soothsayer. The woman had been earning money for her masters but could no longer do so after the evil spirit was cast out. The woman’s masters then had Paul and Silas beaten and cast into prison.

Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns in prison. At midnight, an earthquake shook the prison. The prison doors opened. The prison keeper was scared that Paul and Silas had escape, but they had not. As a result, Paul preached to the keeper, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
The keeper and his household were baptized.

The magistrates told the keeper to free Paul and Silas. Paul and Silas returned to Lydia’s house.

Acts 17

Paul and Silas preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in Thessalonica. The unbelieving Jews persecuted Paul and Silas.

Pauls, Silas and Timothy traveled to Athens. The people of Athens worshipped idols.

Paul declared:

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found than altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore you ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands.

Paul further taught that man is the offspring of God. He also testifed of the resurrection.

Some of people mocked Paul, but Dionysius, Damaris, and a few others believed.

Acts 18

Paul went to Corinth. He stayed with Aquila and his wife Priscilla. Aquila was a tentmaker like Paul. Silas and Timothy later joined Paul.

Paul testified that Jesus was the Christ. Paul visited Justus how was a believer. Crispus and others believed and were baptized. Paul stayed in Corinth for 18 months after the Lord told him in a vision that he had “much people in this city.”

Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla then sailed to Syria. Paul then sailed from Ephesus to Caesarea, and then to Galatia, visiting churches along the way.

A Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus. Apollos knew of the “baptism of John.”
Aquila and Priscilla taught Apollos “the way of God more perfectly.” Apollos boldly declared using the scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Acts 19

Paul traveled to Ephesus.

Paul conferred the gift of the Holy Ghost on certain disciples who had been baptized “unto John’s baptism. ” The disciples then spoke with tongues and prophesied.

Paul performed miracles such as healing the sick.

Paul sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia.

The Ephesians worshipped the goddess Diana. A silversmith named Demetrius made shrines for Diana. He worried that his craft was being threatened by Paul’s preaching. He stirred the people against Paul, but the townclerk calmed them down.

Acts 20

Paul went to Macedonia and Troas.

A young man named Eutychus fell from a loft and was taken up dead. Paul then raised him from the dead.

Paul desired to return to Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost.

He went to Ephesus and gave a farewell speech to the elders of the Church:
And now, behold I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Save the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Acts 21

Paul traveled by ship to Tyre, where he met some disciples. He then journey to Caesarea where he stayed with Philip the evangelist. A prophet named Agabus told Paul that the Jews at Jerusalem would bind him and deliver him to the Gentiles.

Paul answered:

What men ye to weep and break my heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paul and his companions then traveled to Jerusalem. Paul gave a report of his missionary labors to James and the elders.

Paul went to the Temple after he purified himself. The Jews stirred up the people against Paul. The Jews sought to kill Paul because they thought that Paul was preaching against the Law of Moses.

The chief captain sent soldiers to stop the mob from killing Paul.
The soldiers imprisoned Paul. Paul asked the chief captain for permission to speak to the mob. The captain agreed to Paul’s request.

Acts 22

Paul tells the Jews of his conversion experience on the road to Damascus. He recounted his vision of the Lord:

And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecuteth thou me? And I answered, Who art thou Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecuteth.

The Jews were still angry at Paul. The chief captain had Paul bound and imprisoned. Paul received some consideration given that he was a Roman citizen.

Acts 23

Ananias the high priest commanded that Paul be smitten.

Some Pharisees and Sadduces were gathered together. Paul declared that he was a Pharisee, who believed in the resurrection. This caused a contention between the Pharisees and the Sadduces, because the Sadduces did not believe in the resurrection.

The chief captain imprisoned Paul.

The Lord visited Paul and said:

Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou has testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

Forty Jews took an oath to kill Paul. Paul’s nephew discovered their plan and told the chief captain.

The chief captain sent Paul escorted by soldiers to Felix, the governor in Caesarea.

Acts 24

Ananias the high priest accused Paul of sedition before Felix. Paul told Felix that he had a hope in God and in the resurrection.

Ananias the high priest and Ananias the disciple at Damascus were two different men with the same name.

Felix left Paul in jail for two years. Porcius Festus succeeded Felix as governor.

Acts 25

The Jews again sought to kill Paul.

Paul had a trial before Festus and then again before King Agrippa. Festus found that Paul had committed “nothing worthy of death.”

Paul appealed to have a trial before Augustus Caesar.

Acts 26

Paul testified of the appearance of Jesus to him on the Road to Damascus. He spoke of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Festus said that Paul was mad. Agrippa said unto Paul, “Almost thou persuaded me to be a Christian.”

Agrippa told Festus that Paul would have been freed if he had not appealed unto Caesar.

Recall that the Lord said that Paul would bear His name before “the Gentiles, and Kings, and the children of Israel.” Acts 9:15

Acts 27

Paul was sent by ship on a journey from Caesarea to Rome.

They stopped at Sidon, which is on the coast north of Caesarea. Next, they sailed to Cyprus.

Then they sailed to Myra, a city of Lycia. They boarded another ship and sailed to the city of Fair Havens on the Island of Crete.

Paul warned:

Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.

Nevertheless, the centurion set sail for Phenice, on the southwest of Crete. A severe storm arose. The ship was tossed by the tempest. The men through supplies overboard to lighten the ship. The men began losing hope after the storm persisted for many days.

Then Paul told the men to be of good cheer since everyone would survive even though the ship would be lost. Paul explained that he receive this message from an angel. The angel also told Paul that he must appear before Caesar.

On the fourteenth day, they came near an island, called Melita or Malta. The shipmen drove the ship aground. The aft end of the ship was broken by the waves. Everyone on ship swam safely to the shore, some using boards.

Acts 28

The people of the island made a fire. Paul was bitten by a viper as he gathered a bundle of sticks for the fire. The viper hung onto Paul’s arm. Paul shook the viper into the fire and suffered no harm.

Publius was the head of the island. Paul healed Publius’ father who had been suffering from a fever and blood problem. Paul then healed others from the island from their illnesses.

After three months, Paul and the others sailed to Syracuse, on the island of Sicily.

Paul was then taken as a prisoner to Rome. Paul preached the Lord Jesus Christ to Gentiles and Jews for two years, as a prisoner.

According to tradition, Paul was acquited. He then traveled briefly to Spain, and then returned to the East. He was arrested again and taken to Rome where he was beheaded.

(Paul’s planned trip to Spain is mentioned briefly in Romans 15:24 & 28).

Paul describes his trials.

2 Corinthians 11

[25] Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
[26] In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
[27] In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
[28] Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
[30] If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.

– Tom Irvine

Read Full Post »

Psalm 2

1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying,

3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

7 I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

* * * *

Acts 13:33

God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

* * * *

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

– Tom Irvine

Read Full Post »

Paul’s Speech to the Athenians at the hill Areopagus, Acts 17:28:

For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.


Paul quoted the first phase from Epimenides’ Cretica, “For in him we live and move and have our being.”

Epimenides was a 6th Century BC philosopher and religious prophet and a contemporary of more famous philosophers like Aristotle and Plato, who also refer to him in their writings.

Paul quoting the second phrase from Aratus’ poem Phaenomena, and also Cleanthes’ Hymn to Zeus which has the same words.

Aratus was a Cilician, one of Paul’s own countrymen, and with his writings St. Paul was undoubtedly well acquainted, though he had flourished about 300 years before that time.

“From Zeus begin; never let us leave

His name unloved. With Him, with Zeus, are filled

All paths we tread, and all the marts of men;

Filled, too, the sea, and every creek and bay;

And all in all things need we help of Zeus,

For we too are his offspring.”

—Aratus, Phænom. 1–5.


“Most glorious of immortals, many-named,

Almighty and for ever, thee, O Zeus,

Sovran o’er Nature, guiding with thy hand

All things that are, we greet with praises. Thee

’Tis meet that mortals call with one accord,

For we thine offspring are, and we alone

Of all that live and move upon this earth,

Receive the gift of imitative speech.”

—Cleanthes, Hymn to Zeus


Isaiah 1:2

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken, I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.


– Tom Irvine

Read Full Post »