David Pawson - Unlocking the Bible - Paul and Paul's Letters
(English Speaking, Chinese Subtitles)
Thoughtful Thoughts 23.03.18
Paul and his letters
As we are starting a series on the letters of Paul, we look at the man himself.
Paul wrote more letters than anyone else from the ancient world – including the longest letter we have from the ancient world – which was Romans with 7,114 words. Writing a letter cost a small fortune. The cost of the papyrus made from animal skin was just the beginning. The sender had to pay someone to take the letter. Paul paid for the ministry of letter writing by making tents.
God used letters to communicate with us. Letters are personal and practical.
He did not use some form of academic communication…even the Greek is written in the language of the street – (with the exception of Hebrews which nearly everyone agrees now was not by Paul, and is the odd one out by being written in scholarly Greek.)
Paul’s letters are about ‘life’ – and discuss marriage, slavery, children, and work, for example. (Interestingly, Jesus’ teaching is also like that too. It’s all about our relationship with God and each other – the opposite of church religion).
So, what was Paul like?
His Commitment was single-minded. He had courage. He continued on regardless of the hardships. He suffered 3 shipwrecks, was flogged over and over again, and survived being stoned. His dedication eventually resulted in him being beheaded.
What drove him to be like this?
He was amazed at the Grace of God. We didn’t deserve anything from God. While we were still enemies with God, Jesus Christ died for us.
He lived for Christ and said that to live is Christ, and to die is gain. He was eager to ‘go’ to be with the Lord. He wanted to go. He called himself both a slave of Christ and an ambassador of Christ.
He showed his gratitude by making the Gospel his whole mission in life.
He preached the gospel as being ethical.
He preached the gospel as preparing us for Jesus’ return.
He preached a practical gospel requiring it to be lived out.
When we read the Bible, what we sometimes miss is the cost to others of us even having it, at all. It cost many people their lives. Those who translated it, published or printed it, and transported it, were burned alive by the Catholic church, wherever they could get their hands on them. Even in England the Anglican Bishop of London burned all the Bibles that were transported from Amsterdam. When Mary came to the throne, she unleashed Catholic priests on 300 protestants who were all burned alive. (For more, see “Foxes book of Martyrs”.)
The only explanation for all of this is that the Bible is God’s Book, which He uses to talk to us, and so Satan hates it, and unleashes all his satanic evil against it being made available to us.
Some have never seen one and this is what happens when they get one!
Have you ever thanked God for it and for the sacrifice which so many made for us to have it?
I’m John Dunning and that’s “Thoughtful Thoughts” for another week.