On the Road with Paul

Lesson 1:  On the Road with Paul

Lesson 1: On the Road with Paul

I remember it well. It was an embarrassing moment at a social event in the first month of my ministry. A beautiful woman confronted me with, “We would be far better off if there had never been a Paul.” No matter how much I tried to balance her assessment, she persisted in her attack the […]

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Lesson 2:  From Jerusalem to Rome

Lesson 2: From Jerusalem to Rome

So far we are just setting the stage for Paul, reminding ourselves what the church was like before him. This gives us some time to register and make some initial comments as we adjust to the technology of an online course. Once we get to his letters, the ideas fly, and the real blogging should […]

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Lesson 3: On the Road to Damascus

Lesson 3: On the Road to Damascus

Meanwhile Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any who belonged to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he was going along […]

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Lesson 4:  A Bump in the Road

Lesson 4: A Bump in the Road

Then certain individuals came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.’ And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to […]

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Lesson 5: Paul Arrives in Rome

Lesson 5: Paul Arrives in Rome

Paul makes it to Rome, the end of the road. The writer of Acts appears to be making a point. This last trip under arrest is the longest section of his book, eight chapters, a fourth of the entire work. Paul gets there against all possible odds. He survives attack by a Jewish mob, arrest […]

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Lesson 6:  Letters Home

Lesson 6: Letters Home

Get ready! Luke-Acts acted like a good public relations person who domesticated Paul. He portrayed him as a courageous missionary who suffered constantly in order to move the Church from a small Jewish sect to a large catholic church. We are now going to move back 30 years to see the real Paul as he […]

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Lesson 7: What’s Ahead? (Thessalonians)

Lesson 7: What’s Ahead? (Thessalonians)

Thessalonians pictures the church being persecuted for their belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ who shall rule the earth for God. As they wait for him, they live as much as possible in his Spirit, living quietly and loving all. Anne rightly asks how we can understand this in our time 2,000 years […]

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Lesson 8 Faith: Trusting the Map (Galatians)

Lesson 8 Faith: Trusting the Map (Galatians)

If scholars are right, Galatians is the second earliest book in the New Testament. It proclaims the heart of Paul’s message, justification by faith. It pretty evident Paul never wrote thinking his letter would become part of our Bible. His emotions almost get the better of him as he defends his authority as an apostle, […]

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Lesson 9: Faith Active in Love: A Busy Highway  (Galatians 5, 6)

Lesson 9: Faith Active in Love: A Busy Highway (Galatians 5, 6)

It is important to keep reminding ourselves not to expect a systematic theology from Paul. He just does not offer that kind of consistency. Instead we find him applying his gospel rather flexibly to the situation of his churches. In Galatians’ first four chapters Paul speaks of the Cross as an act of love by which God […]

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Lesson 10: Many Roads Get You There

Lesson 10: Many Roads Get You There

Rather than plowing directly into I Corinthians, let me speak to the discussion started in recent lessons. As Sarah assured me from the very beginning, the comments have become very significant. I think this is especially important for understanding Paul’s real gift. If we try to apply Paul’s specific counsels to our present situation, such […]

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