Epistles (Letters)

Gospel – The Epistle of Paul

Series Part 6A – The Good News of Paul

In 1840, the authenticity of Paul’s epistles has been answered and found that 4 out of his 13 epistles such as Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, and Galatians were accepted to be authentic by Ferdinand Christian Baur, a German scholar. The modern New Testament scholars released a consensus about the authenticity of Paul’s epistles and agreed that 7 out of 13 epistles belong to Paul, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon.

I mentioned this authenticity issue not to confuse or discredit the epistles that do not belong to Paul, but to give you time to ask the Spirit that is within you if what these scholars found is true and no intention to harm anyone’s faith, and secondly, what will you do about it? I still value that anything and everything good is from God. This information is for our edification, and not for our destruction. Jesus said, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”—John 8:32. If you take this promise seriously you will feel the need for some sort of enlightenment. 

The good news is not only limited to the four writers of the gospel but also includes Paul’s letters and others’ writings throughout the Bible.   The good news started from cover to cover about Adam and Eve when they started fellowshipping with God.  However, this good news turned sour when the couple allowed the sin to enter the world. Another example was when God gave Cain protection after killing his brother Abel. The rule of thumb at that time was that when there is no law there is no sin. Although it was not a piece of good news, spiritually it gave mankind a message that killing is not part of God’s plan, but the work of the prince of the air introducing this evilness. God made it clear to our awareness that the law He gave to Moses included that thou shalt not kill.

Paul received his knowledge of the Old Testament under the tutorship of Gamaliel,  the first-century Jewish rabbi, a well-respected teacher, and leader of the Sanhedrin. Paul’s knowledge of the Old Testament history and laws made it easy for him to preach in the synagogues— Acts 17:2.  Paul lacked self-confidence when personally preaching, but his powerful epistles and boastful attitude became his strength, thus, he even compared himself with the super-apostles.  When Paul asked the listeners to bear with him, it made a difference, and the listeners found it an act of meekness and humbleness. Paul defended his boastfulness.

Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the LORD.”—1Corinthians 1:31(NLT). If one boasts of himself, it means nothing. This is what the LORD says: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, nor the strong man in his strength, nor the wealthy man in his riches”— Jeremiah 9:23, “But let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, who exercises loving devotion, justice, and righteousness on the earth–for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.”—Jeremiah 9:24.

Paul went throughout the Roman Empire and a few cities of Greece preaching his newfound religion and others called it Paul’s gospel. Wherever he went, somebody would follow him behind to proselytes his new converts. This made Paul very upset especially in Galatia, a Roman province where the citizens expressed that Paul’s preaching was lacking substance and needed a supplement to make it complete. In return, Paul warned the Galatians against those who sought to discredit his gospel, especially his doctrine of circumcision.  

Paul issued the following repugnant remark: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and is turning to a different gospel— which is no gospel at all. Some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”—Galatians 1:6-9 NIV.

Paul became more outspoken in denouncing other preachers who were trying to steal his new converts and defending his reputation which was at stake, especially in his backyard. Paul protected his followers to avoid detraction from the gospel that he preached. These preachers were false apostles claiming to be the apostles of Christ but they were deceitful workers—2 Corinthians 11:13.

Paul preached the gospel free of charge. He did not take money from the Corinthians to support his ministry or to enrich himself.   But the “super-apostles” were the opposite because they took the money and saw glory for themselves and enjoyed popularity.  Through personal revelation, Paul and Barnabas were called to preach the gospel. Paul preached in Antioch where he got a rejection by the Jews but many Gentiles accepted the gospel and this was the beginning when the good news was extended to the Gentiles. He rebuked a sorcerer, healed a disabled man, and other miracles, and his exhortation to the Gentiles to turn to God was widely accepted. The Doctrine of Circumcision became one of the attractions for the Gentiles, as they did not need to experience the pain of circumcision which is cutting off the skin, while in Judaism, it was kept as their belief.  

God is all in all.

Bishop Joseph

Dr. Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

Related Articles

Back to top button