The Growth and Maturation of the Apostle Paul: Part 1
Most of us are different people than we were twenty years ago, yet when it comes to Paul, we tend to think he never changed or grew. But what if he did?
A Working Hypothesis on St Paul
Recently a church group that had gone through my UnClobber courses invited me to join them for a Zoom group session to do a Q&A.
One of the questions was about whether or not I’d uncovered or learned anything new on the Romans clobber passage since writing UnClobber. It’s a great question and, although nothing came to mind that specifically has to do with Romans 1, I have found myself lately thinking about the trajectory of Paul’s writings and how they (might?) reveal a maturing in his overall demeanor and spirit.
Here’s what I mean.
While there’s always going to be disagreement among scholars about when things happened in the Bible, here is a rough estimate of the timeline of Paul’s life.
~6 AD: Born
20-30 AD: Studies Torah in Jerusalem with Gamaliel; becomes a Pharisee
33 AD: Persecutes followers of the Way
36 AD: Conversion experience (changes from Saul to Paul)
36-48 AD: Studying, preparation, learning
49 AD: The Jerusalem Council (where it was determined that Gentiles didn’t have to get circumcised in order to convert to the Way)
49-67 AD: Three missionary journeys; imprisonment; death
During those later missionary years is when Paul wrote his 13 letters. Again, while there is no exact way to know, here is a decently reliable timeline of when Paul probably wrote which of his letters.
48 AD: Galatians
50/51 AD: 1 and 2 Thessalonians
54/57 AD: 1 and 2 Corinthians
58 AD: Romans
61/62 AD: Ephesians
61/62 AD: Philippians
61/62 AD: Colossians
61/62 AD: Philemon
63: 1 Timothy
66: 2 Timothy
A Trajectory within Paul’s Writings
Now, I’m going to make some generalizations here, and possibly do some inadvertent cherry picking, but I have a hypothesis:
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