Was Paul a Convert?

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No, not really. He believed in God, but didn’t know who Christ was. Unlike many who do neither, Paul’s Damascus road experience wasn’t a conversion, but in reality, it was more along the lines of  the call of a prophet. For me, I don’t think that the Parting of the Ways occurred at Pentecost, nor anytime there after.

The book to your left is one of those provided for our Wednesday evening church class on Romans. Tonight, we will be tackling the first chapter of it and while I am tempted to give you the reading assignments, etc… I won’t. I mean, they have several of those books for a penny (plus 3.99 in shipping).

However, one of their points is that Paul wasn’t a convert. He wasn’t. He was still a Jew, but he was introduced to the Son.

But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.When this happened, I did not rush out to consult with any human being. (Gal 1:15-16 NLT)

Compare that with Romans 1.1:

Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, (Rom 1:1 NASB)

Paul believed in YHWH, but though the experience of God’s calling, he was introduced to the Son and set apart to reveal the Gospel. His eyes were opened, you might say, but I don’t think he changed religions.

Also, because chapter 1 is uber-controversial, I will be bringing my post on Paul’s rhetorical device in the first few chapters.

As I did with Ruth, no doubt I will be posting a few things tomorrow on tonight’s discussion.

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6 Replies to “Was Paul a Convert?”

  1. Paul said:I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Acts 22:3 (NIV)However, I admit that I worship the God of our fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. Acts 24:14 (NIV)Interesting that Paul thought of himself as a Jew and a follower of Jesus, something I hadn’t realised.

    1. “Paul thought of himself as a Jew and a follower of Jesus”

      Which makes me wonder how Paul might have responded to “Replacement Theology.”

  2. I would think that most followers of “The Way” knew that Christ was the fulfillment of the OT prophecies, and thus saw themselves as believing and embodying the truths of the OT. They were Christians, because Christianity is the essence of the OT and Christ the ultimate Jew.
    It was the unbelieving Jews who truly made the separation between Judaism and Christianity.
    Just one man’s take on it.

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